Gangs of Victorian London: Assassin's Creed Syndicate (PREVIEW)

written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)

Another year, another chance to be an assassin from Ubisoft’s interpretation of history. Announced a few months back, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate follows the tale of Jacob and Evie, a pair of twins who run the Rooks, a British street gang hellbent on disrupting the Templar’s special brand of order.

Set up at SDCC, I got the chance to play a short slice of gameplay from the forthcoming Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, releasing this Fall. This early build featured Jacob Frye through three distinct slices of gameplay.

First off, it was in pure Assassin’s Creed fashion to pit me against a group of baddies from a rival gang and stealthily drop em to save some captured members of my gang. It played like last year’s Assassin’s Creed Unity with a few new features. First off was an increased emphasis on verticality. You can now release a sort of grappling hook (think Batman) to scale tall buildings with ease. Of course this is Victorian London and not modern day Gotham City, so it still required some climbing.

grappling across London... BATMANNING in AC

grappling across London... BATMANNING in AC

This new take on traversal did wonders for my gameplay style. There was one instance I surveyed my enemies, one was stationary while two were moving about. I positioned myself above one unsuspecting target and neutralized him leaving his buddies none the wiser; before they could notice me, I grappled away to a nearby rooftop and waited for them to check on the body… when they did, dual air assassination baby!!

I’m not gonna lie, it was incredibly satisfying to clear them out that way. The grappling hook is in my opinion the best new piece of equipment in an assassin’s arsenal. Not only does it serve the purpose of quickly exploring this new location, it opens up creative new ways to assassinate your targets.

Carriages for the first time are now controllable. The second major gameplay slice game in the form of chasing down my target in a hijacked horse-drawn carriage while several other carriages attempted to derail me. You can slam your carriage into enemy carriages to destroy them while chasing down your mark.

This new slice of gameplay was incredibly satisfying and from the short bit I had with it, felt snappy and controlled easily while still posing a challenge. Throughout the game you can also hijack carriages while traversing the city, opening up more options in how to get around.

what better way to spice up AC than with horse-drawn carriage drive-bys?

what better way to spice up AC than with horse-drawn carriage drive-bys?

The final bit of gameplay I had with it was a full on battle royale with my gang and a rival gang. This mode is par for the course for AC games so I won’t talk too much about it. The combat is like pretty much every previous game, you attack and parry… parry and attack. It did feel snappier than in Unity though, at least from my time with it.

Completing these gang battles allows you to increase the strength of the Rooks by absorbing members of rival gangs. From early trailers, this looks to play a major role in the game’s narrative. 

Unfortunately I couldn’t play as Evie Frye, after her character’s initial reveal at E3 not long ago, I’ve been itching to see how she plays in contrast to her brother Jacob. Hopefully with PAX PRIME coming next month, they bring some Evie gameplay to the show.

hopefully I'll get a hands on with Evie at PAX PRIME.

hopefully I'll get a hands on with Evie at PAX PRIME.