Welcome to our CHEATfactor Game Review of Assassins Creed Syndicate. We review the game and then factor in how the available cheats affect the overall game experience. For better or worse, our reviews will help you decide whether or not to use cheats when playing the game.
For the Assassin's Creed franchise, last year's release, Assassin's Creed: Unity had to be considered a wake-up call. It was confusing, pompous and full of bugs, some that even rendered the game unplayable. Less than a year later however and the franchise is seemingly back on track with Assassin's Creed: Syndicate; a game that not only reminds you of why you fell in love with the franchise in the first place but also feels like an actual finished game. It's still not perfect and suffers from a number of the same issues that have haunted the series for years but Syndicate takes what makes Assassin's Creed great and focuses on them and the result is a mostly fantastic open-world experience.
The latest assassins versus Templars story follows twin assassins Jacob and Evie Frye in Victorian era London. They may be brother and sister but their goals could not be any further apart; at least at the beginning of the game. Evie is content pillaging buildings and tombs for treasures but Jacob has a much bigger target in mind; overthrowing the dictator-esque Templars who are making the lives of Londoners even worse. Thankfully, Syndicate keeps the vast majority of it's story in London and spends very little time in the modern day lore that the franchise has become so lost in. Is it there? Sure, but you get the feeling that Ubisoft Montreal wanted to include it as little as possible in Syndicate and the story feels a lot more coherent as a result.
In a first for the franchise you can switch freely between both Evie and Jacob at nearly any time during Syndicate, though there are some story missions that your choice is made for you. Each are well crafted characters and the moments where both are on screen are written quite entertainingly. Jacob is more of the brute type while Evie is meant for more stealth situations, at least that's the idea. The two play differently enough when not engaged in direct combat but once plans go to hell and you're left to fight your way out, the two feel almost identical. It gives you a bit of an incentive to perform these missions flawlessly but it's a bit disappointing when it doesn't.
Like the setting in most Assassin's Creed games, Syndicate's version of Victorian error London is a bustling mix of historically accurate recreation and interactive playground. The map is huge and filled with things to do from the main quest to side missions and everything in between. Workers toil away at factories and house-drawn carriages roam the streets; this is a London that's alive, and thankfully you get to experience it faster than ever before. One of my biggest concerns with Unity last year was that it took so damn long to get to the reason anyone is playing the game. I really doubt anyone was playing an Assassin's Creed game to dance with someone at a party over you know, sneaking in and stabbing someone in the face in the name of liberty. That's not an issue here as within the first ten minutes of the game you're racing through a crowded city-scape on a speeding train dodging gunfire.
The city also serves as a working organism that moves the game's story beats along quite nicely. Some of my favorite story missions call famous London landmarks like the Tower of London home and they're all well created here. You can also take things a step further by doing things like controlling London's famed police force to look the other way while you're gang takes care of business or take over the docks to bolster trade values. I would have liked if these choices were often more than simple menu selections but the mere fact that they're included adds a huge amount of depth to the gameplay and allows you to have a truly unique experience.
Though Syndicate is a huge step up from Unity in terms of bugs and presentation, I can't tell you that I didn't experience any during my time with the game. Chief among these issues was the slowdown that would happen during the game's big and busy moments. It often felt like I was playing a game that was on a scratched disc but that has admittedly gotten better with the updated Ubisoft has rolled out. The load times here though are something that's going to take you by surprise since..they're...so.......long.I turned my PC off more than a few times thinking that the game had froze and even uninstalled and reinstalled it to try to fix it. Again, it's something that's gotten better but they're still longer than most moderns games.
All things considered, Assassin's Creed: Syndicate is one of the best games the series has seen in quite some time, and certainly the best since Black Flag. It's fun, full of things to do and actually feels like a fully put together game. It still feels like an Assassin's Creed game and if you're tired of the formula, this one won't do much to fix that but if you're looking for a fun action game that's full of content, you could do worse than Syndicate.