Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate was released by Ubisoft on 23 October 2015. After the disappointing release last year and the year before (Unity and Black Flag respectively) I was on the fence about this year’s installment in the franchise. After learning that there was no multiplayer, my interest dramatically increased. So I bite the bullet and got the game. I’m playing on the Xboxone.
First impression? Technical improvements over the buggy release of Unity and the glitches of Black Flag. Combat is smoother and more fluid. The twin protagonist’s of Evie and Jacob Frye is a unique mechanic that for the first time allows the player to control a female protagonist in a AAA release in the Assassin’s Creed universe.
Yet it is here where Ubisoft failed the Frye twins, the franchise, and most importantly the players. The twins are a nice gimmick but they are cardboard characters with no substance. Ubisoft made many wonderful technical improvements but at the expense of storytelling.
True stealth and combat have always been essential elements of most of the installments in the series, with notable exceptions being Black Flag and Unity. However, story has always been at the heart of every great Assassin’s Creed game. Altair set the bar and the Ezio trilogy raised the bar with phenomenal storytelling.
Ubisoft needs to hire writers with a story to tell, both modern and Animus. There needs to be a reason for the events taking place in modern day and the absence of a story for events in the past just results in the player running around committing mass murder for achievement points.
I’m enjoying my time in Syndicate but I’m highly irritated with the lack of a story. I want to know what motivates and drives the Frye twins. Dickens and Darwin have you run off and do things without any reason in particular, this is especially true of Dickens. Victorian England was replete with interesting characters so why did Ubisoft feel the need to event fictional characters instead of historical ones?
Overall, it’s a solid middling entry worthy of three stars out of five. It’s fun but utterly lacking in story. I will finish it but it might be after other games.