Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is proving to be quite an interesting entry to the series, as we saw when we got a chance to go hands-on with the game, getting a taste of what the game will offer when it launches later this year. Earlier this week we put up a full preview on the title which you can read here, but there are a lot of interesting additions and upgrades to the newest instalment that may very well change the game for the better.
Jacob Frye is the first assassin we’ve seen with a working grappling hook on him at all times, rapidly changing the way I approached moving around the world. It works like Batman, but with even more features. Not only can you scale structures, but you can shoot the hook across wide open spaces in order to create new opportunities for assassinations, escapes and downright exciting ziplines. It may be new, but once you’re used to it you’ll never move the same way again.
Close Quarters Combat
Combat has taken a very different turn in Syndicate with the removal of swords from most enemies, following the change of times to a world where small concealed weapons and knives are king. Fighting is dirty, brutal and has a renewed weight to it; punching and kicking in alleys with some fearsome finishers.
It’s not just the animations and weapons that got an overhaul, the underlying engine feels like it’s been added to as well. As you use the environment to take people down, they’ll flail around and attempt to grab on to windowsills, door frames or anything that’ll help them get an upper hand. You can also use fire pits, stools and all sorts of environmental features to finish off your foes – from the setting to the world around you, all of this flows into the new close combat style of the game.
As pistols became more advanced, they also grew in popularity, allowing people to be armed with a powerful yet concealable firearm. Not only will you be armed with one as an assassin, you’ll also encounter many trigger happy enemies wielding them. You can still quickly fire them in combat to stun or dispatch enemies, but the new aiming mechanics allow you to go on the offensive by picking off enemies with headshots before engaging in close combat.
The aiming works a lot like gunplay you’d see in a traditional shooter, with the pistol equipped you hold the left trigger to zoom your aim and the right to let loose – now with magazine fed rapid fire. Picking off a quick and pesky enemy before engaging them or weakening a bruiser before a fight just got easier – letting you quickly gain an upper hand by taking the fight to them.
Racing through the streets of Rome or France on horses has always been fun in previous Assassin’s Creed titles, but racing and smashing through London in a carriage infinitely tops it. You can jump in any empty carriage or even hijack a manned one, with a carriage chase showcased in the preview. As gunfire peppers the air around you and civilians dash out of your way, you can dodge and barge the enemy carriages to send them careening into buildings and scaffolding.
While being able to smash through absolutely everything, along with some pretty unnaturally tight turns for a carriage, can be a little jarring, for the most part this new way to get around is a lot of fun. It’s not all action either, you can easily take a relaxing carriage ride across London, watching the beautiful world go by.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate marks the first time we’ve seen a story that jumps between two protagonists at the same time, allowing you to play as both Jacob and Evie Frye. While the hot-swapping has not been shown off yet, we’ve had a good look at some of Evie’s abilities in a recent trailer along with playing Jacob in the preview.
From some of the cutscenes during the preview it seems the two will balance each other out, with Evie acting more stealthily and level headed in contrast to Jacob’s more rash and aggressive style. All in all the two work well to help each other fuel their revolution and build their gang, creating a big difference to the way the game plays as you’re able to switch between the two.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is looking like a fresh entry to the series, especially if it launches with a lot of polish and quality. I’m excited to see more about the title in the coming months, ready to zipline, drive and punch my way through 1800’s London.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate launches on October 23 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.