I know that I’m a fan of Assassin’s Creed games. I love the history combined with the stealth, sneaking and killing. While I’ve been disappointed with the franchise in the past (ACIII, Unity), I still have hope for the latest instalment. I got to play some of the game, and I’m feeling pretty good about the upcoming release, unlike Alessandro.
First up, please go read his preview as it has a lot of detail and isn’t really totally wrong. I played the same demo, and while I have some similar criticisms, I wouldn’t be nearly as harsh with the game as he is.
At its core, Assassin’s Creed is about cool historical settings, smooth parkour and stealthy assassinations for me. I never really cared much for open combat in the game, preferring to stay hidden as much as possible and patiently take out everyone from the safety of my haystack or by killing from above. Open combat in Syndicate was awful – basically press square to win. However, when I spoke to my engineer chaperone (yes, at E3 you always need a baby sitter to explain games to you), he commented that somehow lots of people had still managed to die in the demo during E3, despite them making the combat much easier than it will be in the final game. I actually saw people die while waiting for my turn, something I don’t understand considering just how easy (and lifeless) open combat was in the demo.
Still, some of the new features make the game a whole lot more fun. Unlike Alessandro, I didn’t enjoy the carriage riding stuff that’s new in the game. Then again, I can’t drive vehicles well in games, and this was no exception. I did improve, but it’s not something that I find enjoyable, and I’m not looking forward to racing after targets while driving carriages that feel like manoeuvring a wheelbarrow in the mud.
The parts that have improved? Parkour and stealth. Thanks to the zip line tool, you no longer need to look for random clotheslines between buildings to make your way across the gaps. This accelerates vertical and horizontal movement and makes it much more likely that I can just stay on the roofs that much more, bringing down my death from above.
During the camp infiltration part of the demo, I was able to make use of all kinds of environmental elements to kill and confound the enemy. It’s something that has been in stealth games for years, but never Assassin’s Creed and it’s a welcome addition to the franchise. There is something so satisfying about causing a whole group of enemies to hallucinate and turn on each other – it’s like using a berserk dart in the other games, but multiplied by the number of people in the cloud of effect – far too much fun.
While Syndicate doesn’t add all that much to the game, that’s a good thing for me. It’s a sign of them returning to their roots and giving us a game that we can really dig into and enjoy. While Alessandro said that while playing he could have just as easily been playing Unity as Syndicate, I have to disagree. The new tools do make a difference, without making the overall experience more complicated. While the open combat will need to be improved before the game releases, the rest of the game is a whole lot of fun and I’m going to play it at the end of the year. No, it might not be a total innovation, but considering how that turned out last time for Ubisoft, I’m happy to see them sticking to what they know, and doing it better instead of bigger.
Last Updated: June 19, 2015