What it means to take over London in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

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Assassin s Creed Syndicate 1

Slowly taking over the city and building up your control of the various neighbourhood has been a staple of the Assassin’s Creed franchise for years now. However, it has meant different things in the various games; sometimes it was just a matter of killing a captain and lowering a flag, and other times it was all about renovations. This time, it sounds like a more nuanced experience, and that’s a good thing.

One of my gripes with more recent Assassin’s Creed games was that owning an area didn’t really seem to do much. Sure, maybe you got added income or you got access to new missions, but it didn’t necessarily mean that you were safer, or that you really felt in charge around there. That sounds like it will be rather different this time around, as described on the UbiBlog.

Conquering the boroughs is actually tied to your progression through the game. Jacob and Evie are trying to weaken Templar Grand Master Crawford Starrick’s hold on the city, and one of the best ways to do that is by clearing his army out. Each borough contains a series of important missions, which must all be completed in order for you to take ownership of that district. Once a borough has been claimed, Rooks will be spotted more frequently on the streets and the Blighters will start clearing out.

[…] Characters like Abberline, Henry Green, Clara O’Dea and others will all have missions tied to your progression through the city. As you free districts, you will complete child liberation missions, bounty hunting missions, gang stronghold missions and more. Each of these will improve your standing with your allies, who will reward you with gear, schematics and rare crafting ingredients.

I like that there are a variety of missions that will need to be completed in order to clear out a borough. I do hope that the different boroughs have different mission types, though – it gets repetitive if it’s just a cycle of clear base, chase a guy, assassinate this other guy, done. However, if they can tailor each borough experience to the mood of what’s going on there, it could be a really fun and deep experience. Speaking of tailoring the mood of the borough, it sounds like there have been some interesting details applied in that regard, too.

Strolling through each of the boroughs is a unique experience. Not only are they all quite visually distinct, the music in each area also sets a specific mood. There is a strong sense of musical discovery as you make your way through the world; in a rich area like Westminster, you may find yourself walking among the city’s wealthiest inhabitants while grand music sweeps you off your feet, but in a much less affluent district like Whitechapel, you’ll find the slums. Here, the poor beg in the streets and the police are rarely seen. Murder ballads fill the air and crime is rampant. After a short time in the game, you may even be able to tell which borough you’re in without looking at your map, just by going off of visual and audio cues.

I really am curious about the new Assassin’s Creed game. I think Syndicate could be the best installment in the franchise that we’ve seen to date, but I also think that our standards for open world sandboxes have gone up over the years. Ubisoft isn’t the only game in town in the regard, and I hope that they have reevaluated their offering and done more to push the genre forward.

Last Updated: October 20, 2015

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