written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
Another year for annualized franchises means its another year to step into the boots of an assassin from a different time period, though being familiar with the series doesn’t immediately guarantee that you’ll be able to survive the oncoming Templar storm. For those who are still battling Starrick’s well oiled machine in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, allow me to share some of my Pro-Tips to better survive romping around the rooftops of Victorian London.
If you haven’t checked it out yet, feel free to read the review we recently posted to get caught up with the story and find out what I thought.
Make that money and stockpile resources…
You’ll need cash and resources for crafting and upgrading your armament. While it isn’t possible to get the skill during the first two sequences (the game’s “tutorial missions”), resist opening any chests after getting to London. The first two sequences are set in places you won’t be returning to, so feel free to stockpile as much as you can and open any chests you find. When you learn the Scavenger skill and it’s upgrade you’ll be able to find more resources in the chests you loot, since looting chests is a finite resource in the AC universe, you’ll want to get the most bang for your buck.
Another skill you should consider learning is more of a timesaver rather than a means to stockpile a wealth of money and materials. The Loot Takedown skill allows you to automatically loot enemies you neutralize in stealth mode, if you are a brawler type of assassin more so than the stealthy type, this skill may not benefit you as much, but one point I need to stress is that while auto-looting is possible in stealth, the skill also auto-loots enemies you take out via multi-kill maneuvers.
The Loot Takedown skill is also useful during encounters that immediately precede a cutscene, especially when the nature of the cutscene forces you to flee the battlefield, leaving behind all that loot you could have grabbed.
When the duo eventually acquire a train to act as their mobile base, this opens up the Gang Upgrades menu. Like in previous titles, your personal assassin hideout comes complete with a chest that continually earns income as you play the game, while the capacity and rate is modest at first… with a few well placed skills you may find yourself rolling in the Pounds before you hit Sequence 5. The Pub Investor upgrade increases the cash you earn and the capacity of your safe; each of the upgrades along that line further increase your revenue stream. While it may be tempting to invest in other abilities that bolster your gang, that can be saved for later.
Continuing with the Gang Upgrades menu, Black Market Affiliation nets you a 25% discount on ammo and throwing knives with Black Market Ties helping you buy weapons for 20% less. Continuing down this line, you’ll want to purchase City Takeover to give you a nice little discount on all other gang upgrades.
Personally, what I did was started with purchasing two levels in the Pub Investor line, then sunk some cash into the Black Market Affiliation line all the way down to City Takeover to help alleviate the woes of having to fund a personal army of ruthless gang members.
When Ned Wynert is introduced, he tasks you with missions to disrupt Starrick’s operations by hijacking Starrick’s resources. These constantly running side missions serve to help fill your coin purse quite fast, and just as importantly help you stockpile resources for crafting arms or upgrades. On the Gang Upgrades menu, the Ale Heist upgrade all the way down to the Rate of Income upgrade will help keep you stocked and funded for the duration of the game’s campaign.
Play up to each twins talents…
Jacob and Evie play nearly identical, but at the start; Jacob is the more rough and tumble assassin while his sister acts as the stealthier of the duo. While reclaiming the city is a sidequest, it is a very crucial one. To further cripple Starrick’s control, you can lead the Rooks in clearing away the Blighters borough by borough. These missions feature varied tasks that fall into four main categories: Templar hunt, Child Labor (Labour?) Liberation, Bounties, and Gang Strongholds. Templar hunt and Gang Stronghold missions are the more battle heavy of the two, so taking Jacob into these mission types serves an advantage. Kidnapping and Child labor missions require stealth to better complete, so Evie works as the most logical choice. Granted, you can take either twin into any of these mission types, but much of the Bounty and Child Labor missions require you to slip in and out undetected. Especially the Bounty missions, when those go south your mark will flee and you’ll be forced to chase them down; if you are forced to give chase, catching them isn’t the end of it with Blighter forces chasing you down to save their captured comrade.
In respects to clearing out each borough, there are a few skills that you should invest in early to ensure either Jacob or Evie succeed, especially if you are looking to accomplish the optional full-sych prerequisites for the mission. For Jacob, you want to pour a considerable amount of his early skills into combat. The first tier of Unstoppable and Slayer should be the cornerstone of your Jacob build. If you are at level 3 already, I strongly suggest you pour resources into Slayer I and II; Slayer allows Jacob to to automatically make his next attack after a combo of 10 strikes into one that places his mark in a near death state, the upgrade allows you to put another enemy into a near death state after achieving it with the first. This tactic allows you to take on waves of enemies who may be at a higher level than you and decimate them one by one. If you time it right, you can set up double/triple/quadra/penta-kills fairly easily. This tactic is what helped me survive jumping into higher level areas while still a bit under leveled. The Unstoppable ability increases the time before you lose your combo due to inaction, this can give you enough breathing room to set up that multi-skill setup; the upgrade allows you to not lose your combo after taking the first hit.
Of course, none of this would be useful if you don’t master the combat… unfortunately that is based solely on your prowess with the combat system and knowing when to counter, attack, and break defenses. Some combatants will even counter attack you unless you break their defenses first, while there is a prompt when they attack you… there really isn’t one for defending, so you’ll need to be cognizant of the enemy’s animation… which for the record, telegraphs them defending.
For the stealthier side of the coin, Evie should invest in two primary skills; Intimidation and Stealth. The Intimidation skill is a must have for any kidnapping and bounty missions. To succeed a Bounty Hunt mission ideally, you need to slip in undetected and kidnap your mark leaving their buddies none the wiser. When you kidnap someone, you remain undetected by law enforcement and your target’s allies as long as you keep your detection ring fairly small. What increases the ring is running or even swiftly walking around or committing suspicious actions like shoving them into a carriage or restraining them. The Intimidation skills allows Evie to be so intimidating that the target will no longer attempt to escape. Periodically while walking with an NPC you kidnapped, they will try to escape and you are forced to restrain them, this action dramatically increases the detection ring and anyone within range will instantly become suspicious of your activities. Stealth is self explanatory, increasing your stealth stat to better infiltrate restricted areas.
I cannot stress enough how important the Intimidation skill is; without it, not only do you have to manage your detection ring, but also make sure you aren’t near any who may grow suspicious of you if you’re forced to restrain a target. Having one less aspect of kidnapping to manage make these segments much easier.
Late game, the Frye Twins begin to mirror eachother… save for three player-specific skills that play into each of their inherent strengths. At this point, around level 6, it really isn’t that crucial to force yourself to play up to their strengths on side missions, but early game this will help save you from some frustrating restarts.
Use the city as an ally…
While it can help to call on the aid of your Rooks when engaging large groups of enemies, one thing you can do is use the cops. As long as you haven’t aggro’d any of London’s Finest, if you are a bit overwhelmed you can run toward the police and if Blighters are chasing you, the cops will attack them first before attempting to attack you. This works out in your benefit because London’s police officers and Royal Guard are considerably OP. If a group of them set their sights on you though, it’s better to run than risk getting desynchronized.
Be mindful of hanging barrels and open heat sources around the city, you can drop hanging barrels on unsuspecting baddies and shooting your hallucinogenic dart at open flames causes them to create a gas that infects those within radius of it. For those looking to take out enemies with a bang, crates of dynamite can also be found with a simple shot from your firearm yielding a loud but impressive explosion.
Use the Rooks to cheaply accomplish full-synch objectives. Say a mission tells you to avoid killing any police officers or enemies; sure you could go ahead and be the stealthy assassin that you are weave your way though a proverbial mine field of patrolling guards… or you can “technically” not kill anyone because “technically” your Rooks killed them so “technically” this doesn’t count against your bonus, I don’t know if this will be patched out but as of the writing of this article, it’s safe to say you can use the technicalities to your benefit.
What it all boils down to is playing how you want to play, if you want to use Evie for battle heavy missions, go ahead. The AC series does a good job rewarding players for their creativity. While much of the second and third parts of this article are more so optional… I cannot stress how important cash and resources are, so at least heed the first part and I can guarantee you will rarely be wanting for any cash or supplies.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is out now and launches later this month on PC.