|System: PS4, Xbox One, PC|
|Dev: Ubisoft Quebec|
|Release: October 23, 2015|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080i||Blood, Drug Reference, Strong Language, Violence|
This attention to detail makes London more than an interesting historical city to explore, it makes it your playground. Whether ziplining down from the top of Big Ben or jumping across speeding steamboats on the Thames (don't drink the water!), there's more urban adventure available than you can shake a tuppence at – and that's before you even get to the official missions. At one point I accidentally re-enacted Keystone Cops, fleeing through a narrow marketplace while being chased by half the bobbies in central London. I laughed aloud as I leaped across stalls and dodged bullets, causing civilians and merchandise to scatter in all directions. It was like being in a movie scene - a great moment of emergent gameplay thanks to a well-designed open world.
When it's time to stop playing around with the environment, combat is the best it's been in the series. It's still not quite on par with the best action-adventures, but Ubisoft has taken a few pages from the Batman Arkham playbook and created smoother, more aggressive fights (some of the animations are just brutal, too, no matter which protagonist you play). Once you get good at Syndicate's combo system, you can dispatch groups of foes with relative ease – though it takes some skill and timing to do so. Of course, you can also abuse smoke bombs and throwing knives in order to avoid melee exchanges, but I found getting into dustups to be cathartic from time to time. Maybe Jacob is rubbing off on me.
I'm so happy that Ubisoft remembered to put the fun back in Assassin's Creed. The series just turns out so much better with witty protagonists and lots of room for creativity. If you enjoyed Assassin's Creed II/Brotherhood and Black Flag, Syndicate will be right up your alley. It doesn't deviate enough from the formula to pull in players who don't enjoy the series in general, but it does evolve and polish the base systems considerably. The fun times greatly outweigh the occasional frustrations, and I can only hope that Ubisoft can be convinced to spread out series entries a bit more so that every Assassin's Creed game can be as good as Syndicate.
Date: October 26, 2015