Tag Archive: Assassin’s Creed Syndicate


Slice and dice

Assassin’s Creed’s story-driven DLC packs have always tried to offer something different from their main story counterparts. From spiritual animal visions to freeing slaves, these post-release expansions have pushed the boundaries of what we expect from the series—especially gameplay-wise. In many ways, the newest addition to this lineage, the Jack the Ripper DLC for Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, continues this trend.

Set in the fall of 1888—20 years after Syndicate and during the height of the Jack the Ripper murders—master assassin Jacob Frye has a dark secret that he’s hiding: he knows who the Ripper is. Jacob hopes to catch the madman before the police in an effort to rehabilitate Jack, but then suddenly ends up missing. A month later, Jacob’s twin sister Evie is forced to leave her home in India and return to London, in the hopes of finding her brother and putting a stop to Jack’s rampage permanently.

The most intriguing aspect of the Jack the Ripper DLC is that it tackles a subject with so many questions surrounding it. Considered the world’s first serial killer, Jack the Ripper was never caught nor his true identity revealed. Therefore, one might think it would give Ubisoft a wide berth in terms of how to work their narrative into this unsolved mystery. Unfortunately, it seemed to do the exact opposite.


Part of the fun that stems from Assassin’s Creed is how the story finds ways to seep into the nooks and crannies of history, spinning well-defined, real-life events in a way that fits their conspiracy theory driven plot. Ubisoft took a great risk crafting their own tale to explain where Jack came from, how his methods evolved, and finally why his murder spree stopped. But because so little is known about the real-life Jack, the development of the character felt stifled, as there weren’t many ways to add depth to such a primal, one note villain to begin with without knowing something concrete about the man. Maybe part of this stems from the brevity of the DLC; a side expansion simply wasn’t enough to both introduce Jack and also turn him into a nemesis we could love to hate. Of course, the DLC alludes to Jacob and Evie having met Jack during the events of the main game, and yet there is no connecting between the two, unlike previous Assassin’s Creed DLCs. No matter the case, the result was a story that left me unsatisfied, even with its definitive ending.

Gameplay, on the other hand, added some surprising new wrinkles to the series—the foremost of which was actually playing as Jack the Ripper in several instances. Symbolic of the cat and mouse game Jack played with the actual police 125 years ago, the DLC sees Jack do the same with Evie, and there are several sequences where players can act out the brutality of Jack the Ripper as he leaves a trail of clues for our heroine. While these moments could’ve been used to better show Jack’s motivations—we see what he does, but never really get a clear sense as to why—they did offer a unique sense of freedom to how you would normally play an Assassin’s Creed game, now given the chance to step into the shoes of the villain as well as the hero.

Playing as Jack also introduced two new mechanics to the game (which then become available to Evie in non-lethal adaptations). The primary addition is a fear factor that allows you to instill terror in your enemies, so much so that they’ll run away instead of facing you. Building off of this is an supplement to melee combat called the Brutal Takedown, which—when pulled off successfully—can add to your ominous presence.


The idea of using fear as a weapon is something that I didn’t realize had been lacking from Assassin’s Creed until now. Being able to double assassinate a couple of thugs, then do a Brutal Takedown on another that scares away a half-dozen other guards, is the most empowering tool in your repertoire yet. It also makes a lot of sense. If you were a lowly guard patrolling a manor, and just saw your buddy’s throat ripped out, would you stay and fight, or turn and run the other way? Of course, as you might expect, some enemies do stay and fight, but others quickly beat a hasty retreat. It also allows for more enemies per conflict, as you’re now not expecting to fight all of them. You can—and you can win—but it wouldn’t be very efficient nor Assassin-like.

The major issue with the fear system, however, is that it’s not limited to just Brutal Takedowns. Evie and Jack both carry tools such as fear grenades and spikes. While Evie uses her spikes to pin enemies to the ground, so that their screams inspire terror in fellow thugs, Jack impales them as grim examples of the carnage to come. Meanwhile, fear grenades allow you to strike terror from behind cover without being seen. While great for clearing an area, they also felt overpowered, as a fully-stocked assassin never even has to unsheathe their blade, as they simply had to chuck a couple of grenades into the crowd.

These new elements come courtesy of a foundation built on the main game of Syndicate, though. Jack the Ripper takes place entirely in the two most northern districts of the main game’s map—Whitechapel and City of London—which unfortunately gives you a much smaller piece of land to cover, expediting much of the experience. Thanksfully, there are some new side missions to complete from associates both new and old, and three new Black Box missions to partake in. All told, though, Jack the Ripper might feel a tad repetitive for anyone who immersed themselves in the main game when it comes down to helping Evie track down Jack.

Although a little light on the content side, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate: Jack the Ripper is still a fun side excursion in the Assassin’s Creed universe. New mechanics and characters meshing with familiar ones from the main game make this DLC a fun experience overall—one that won’t disappoint most fans, all while filling in more gaps along the ever more convoluted timeline of Assassin’s Creed.


Developer: Ubisoft Quebec • Publisher: Ubisoft • ESRB: M – Mature • Release Date: 12.17.15
Striking fear into Evie’s enemies may be a bit overpowered, and Jack may not be the formidable bad guy we hoped he would be, but this DLC is still a fun adventure that serves as a nice excuse to return to Assassin’s Creed’s take on Victorian-Era London.
The Good New fear mechanic provides a fresh take on familiar gameplay…
The Bad …that is also overpowered and too heavily relied on.
The Ugly Jack the Ripper would make the easiest Dickens Fair cosplay.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate: Jack the Ripper is available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC. Primary version reviewed was for Xbox One. Review code was provided by Ubisoft for the benefit of this review. EGM reviews games on a scale of 1 to 10, with a 5.0 being average.



By the numbers, 2015 was a down year for games overall. However, it finished ridiculously strong, with one of the more jam-packed holiday seasons I’ve seen in a long time—keeping all of us here on the EGM crew insanely busy. As my list hopefully proves, quantity did not necessarily affect quality, though, and there were still some great games that came this year that I felt would come to define 2015.

Ray’s Top Five Games for 2015

Assassin's creed syndicate giant clock

#05: Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Quebec
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Ray’s Take

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate didn’t exactly have a high bar to surpass considering the lackluster entry in the franchise that was Unity. Still, not only did Syndicate provide a more coherent story, but it injected much needed life and wonder back into the series. Whether it was scaling the beautifully-rendered Victorian Era London, laughing at the banter back and forth between main characters Jacob and Evie Frye, or surprises like the fully fleshed-out World War I scenario that followed Jacob’s granddaughter, Syndicate was the return to form Assassin’s Creed so desperately needed. If they had included a few more old-school puzzles or a modern day scenario that allowed us to step outside the simulation, this might have been even higher on my list.

Tales from the Borderlands Episode 2 (1)

#04: Tales from the Borderlands

Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, OS X, PS3, Xbox 360, iOS, Android

Ray’s Take

When you first think of Borderlands, story doesn’t exactly fall on its list of strengths. While subsequent games in the series have added a little more to the lore of Pandora, there were plenty of unexplored opportunities that were perfect for Telltale to come in and exploit. Plus, this doubled as a chance for Telltale to really stretch their comedic muscles for the first time since the days of Sam & Max (or maybe their foray into Homestar Runner). The result was what I believe to be Telltale’s best effort yet. Serving up a rollercoaster of emotions, Tales from the Borderlands gives the most life to any characters that universe offers, while also making your decisions have some real weight come the game’s finale. Now, we just need to figure out where that cliffhanger ending will lead.

Fallout 4 power armor header

#03: Fallout 4

Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Ray’s Take

At this point, it’d be more surprising if Bethesda made a bad game. Fallout 4 once again creates a beautiful, dynamic world out of the smoking crater of an apocalyptic disaster. No interaction in the world happens the same way twice, and the new gun crafting and S.P.E.C.I.A.L. skills system extends an already deep pedigree of customization. Despite this, I can’t get past the sense that Fallout 4 is more like Fallout 3.5. The largest new attraction the game brings—the ability to create and link settlements—honestly bored me. Managing people and resources became a chore, and was quickly relegated to “afterthought” status even just 20 hours into my near-100 hour playthrough. Still, there are few experiences more complete, or as satisfying, as Bethesda’s latest adventure in the wasteland.


#02: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: CD Projekt RED
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Ray’s Take

I never played the first two Witcher games, and in the end, that kept it from being my personal game of the year. You see, my number one pick last year was Dragon Age Inquisition—and I felt you could jump into that adventure not having played the previous two games and gotten the same amount of enjoyment out of it. My caring about Witcher 3’s characters and world took a hit because of my unfamiliarity. That said, CD Projekt Red crafted an absolutely spectacular adventure, and an even more epic world for it to take place in. Geralt of Rivia is one of the most perfect examples of an anti-hero I’ve ever met in games, and the people he interacts with portray an incredible amount of depth. The most telling thing about Witcher 3’s world, though, may be how much time I spent in it: 212 hours on my first playthrough.


#01: Ori and the Blind Forest

Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Developer: Moon Studios
Platforms: Xbox One

Ray’s Take

There are no games this year that grabbed my attention from beginning to end quite like Ori and the Blind Forest. The first thing that catches your eye is the hand-painted art style, but once you begin rolling around Ori’s dying world, you soon realize how tight handling the game is. In fact, it’s easily the best playing metroidvania we’ve seen in years. The heart of the game—its story—builds on this, with a heart-wrenching tale that pulls you through the beautifully diverse world Ori must explore in order to restore the natural balance of things. Combine all this with a steadily increasing degree of difficulty all the way until the climactic finish, and I can only wish more games were as polished as Ori and the Blind Forest.

Ray’s Off-Topic Awards for 2015

The 5th Annual “The Colors, Duke! The Colors” Award for Most Colorful Game, brought to you by Popsicle (not really)
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse
This has become a tradition for me during the EGM end of the year awards, and we’ve gone too long to stop now. There were some strong candidates this year, and while the aforementioned Ori and the Blind Forest could’ve easily taken it, I wanted to show some other great looking games some love—and lo and behold, Nintendo had quite a few of them. I’ve got to tip my hat to the good folks at HAL Laboratory, whose beautiful looking Claymation in Kirby and the Rainbow Curse impressed me just a slightly bit more than Good-Feel’s work with yarn in Yoshi’s Woolly World. Congrats Kirby on looking as bright and as wonderful as ever.
The “Fashionably Late” Award


I really shouldn’t be giving a game an award for 2015 when it came out in 2014, but let me explain. Although we here at EGM wait as long as possible before doing our Game of the Year voting to insure we give as many games as possible the chance the qualify, there are still occasionally titles that miss deadline. Rarely, however, are they as fun as Kalimba, which released on December 17, 2014. Available on Xbox One and later for PC, Kalimba is an addictive, fun little puzzle platformer that only gets better when playing co-op with a friend. Although we did end up reviewing it for EGM post-holiday break, it was ineligible for last year’s voting. So here is your well-deserved spot in the limelight, Kalimba.

The “Somehow Made Me Fall In Love with a Genre” Award
Super Mario Maker
I hate world creation games. When I drop $60 on a game, I’m doing so for the express purpose of playing someone else’s creation—not so I can spend time making my own. Minecraft, LittleBigPlanet, Project Spark? Throw them all in the trash as far as I’m concerned. Then came Super Mario Maker. Leave it to Nintendo to turn my pre-conceived notions on their head and throw them in the trash instead. Maybe it’s the nostalgia or familiarity that Mario Maker brings to the table, but there is something about it that has me testing out other people’s levels and building my own on a far too regular basis. And, with a steady stream of updates that only expands our potential toolset, there may be no single greater reason to own a Wii U than this.

EGMNOW’s Best of 2015 Awards Schedule



A jolly good time

Assassin’s Creed is one of gaming’s constants. Like a sports title or Call of Duty, the Assassin’s Creed series has maintained a high-level of quality on an annual basis for a long time now (since 2009) and has turned into a solid go-to for everyone who needs a regular action-adventure fix. Until last year.

Assassin’s Creed Unity dropped the ball in terms of what people expect from the series in terms of gameplay, narrative, and general design, putting an unusual amount of pressure on 2015’s annual entry to right the course—or risk potential ruin for Ubisoft’s crown jewel. Luckily, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate does indeed strike true with its hidden blade, plunging the series back into the conversation for favorite fall games after jettisoning multiplayer and focusing on trying to put together the best single-player experience possible.

Once again, players assume the role of an Initiate, using their hacked Helix—a home entertainment version of the Animus that allowed you to relive ancestral history in the franchise’s early games—to help the Assassin Brotherhood in their search for Pieces of Eden that can turn the tide of their struggle against the Templars back in their favor. This time, you are sent to Victorian Era London, and for the first time in the series, you can freely switch between two protagonists as you step into the boots of the young, brash, yet highly effective Jacob and Evie Frye.


If nothing else, this is one of the more memorable narratives the series has seen yet. Jacob and Evie not only have a great rapport with each other, but each has their own separate arcs that watch them grow and change in different and compelling ways. Jacob’s brashness and charm sometimes goes too far, and Evie’s single-minded approach to things costs her in ways she doesn’t necessarily realize in the moment. Each of their respective decisions has consequences on their lives—as well as the lives of those they’ve sworn to protect in London—and will keep you entertained throughout. The siblings even play differently, with Jacob being a plodding bruiser, and Evie the truer, stealthy assassin, with many side missions offering you a choice of who to play as.

Upon arriving in London, Evie and Jacob have a singular purpose: to bring down Templar Grandmaster Crawford Starrick. His crippling grip on London’s infrastructure has made the Templars strong, so the goal of breaking it makes playing the game far more interesting—especially when the Frye twins handle Starrick in their own one-of-a-kind ways. A strong, clear counterpoint to our respective heroes is something the series has lacked since the Borgias butted heads with Ezio and the narrative flows more smoothly from it.

The only point where the narrative stumbles at all is in the present day aspect of the series. Your Initiate character again remains chained to the Helix for the entirety of the game. While you do get a larger glimpse into the present day, meeting new assassins and seeing old friendly faces like Shaun and Rebecca from the Desmond days, things unfold as little more than long cutscenes.


Playing around in the present day—last available to us in Black Flag—was beneficial in that it afforded a brief respite from the intense situations of the main game, with puzzles and conversations giving players the chance to catch their breath and let what just happened to them sink in more. It also aided the pacing of the game, allowing for drastic movement in time in a more cinematic way. Because we don’t have that here, we really see all of Syndicate play out in what feels like a few days, and at that point, why even bother with the idea of breaking up story beats into “sequences” besides as a cute reference to early titles in the series?

And since I mentioned puzzles, I do wish those would return to Assassin’s Creed. There is one puzzle in all of Syndicate, and another scavenger hunt for legendary armor. At the very least, in order to mix up the gameplay a bit, there is a special sequence that unlocks about halfway through the narrative that fast-forwards us in time to a World War I London about one-third the size of the Victorian Era one. It’s an extremely fun twist that doubles as a critical chance for moving the present-day story forward—unlike the weird, minigame-esque time jumps we saw in last year’s Unity.

And speaking of Unity again, I do have to mention there are some major, welcome differences between Syndicate and its predecessor that are clear indicators of the series being back on track. One of those is the setting, but I’m not just talking time or geography-wise. 1868 London feels more alive, more vibrant, and more like its own character than late-18th century Paris ever did. NPCs call out to Jacob and Evie with unique dialogue as the duo runs around town. Train stations are bristling with life as people rush to the platform to get on trains that actual speed around London. And, the addition of horse-drawn carriages mingling with pedestrians on city streets gives the illusion of authentic hustle and bustle that you’d expect from the heart of the civilized world.


The most impressive aspect of this digital London, however, is how each section of town feels truly inimitable. Whether slumming it near the asylum in Lambeth, or sipping tea at 10 Downing in Westminster, London’s districts give off a specific tone that makes it easier to navigate and, again, feels more authentic and alive.

Speaking of navigation, Syndicate adds a lot on this front. The previously talked about carriages are hijackable and everywhere in London. The map may be massive, but who knew two-horsepower could get you across it so quickly. The handling of the carriages does take some time to get used to due to their wobbly nature, but with enough practice, you’ll be racing down London’s streets in no time and covering distance faster than in any Assassin’s Creed game to date.

Not every situation, or space for that matter, is ideal for a horse drawn carriage. This means that the series’ traditional parkour returns, and feels as smooth as ever. The addition of tapping the left-bumper to hop in windows, combined with what feels like more intuitive transitions between last year’s up and down movements, means scaling buildings has never felt better.


The biggest upgrade to traversal, though, may be the much talked-about rope launcher. London’s most famous towers and buildings now can be scaled in a fraction of the time when you get close to their base, or you can swing across the city’s wide avenues when firing the rope launcher from rooftop to rooftop. Unlike the carriages and traditional parkour, I thought this new piece of equipment needed a bit more work, though.

For starters, the rope launcher has no aiming reticle, so you often lack the precision you’re looking for when using it, especially when moving horizontally. Also, there’s no clear definition of how far you can fire the rope launcher, or what edges you can latch onto with it and which ones you can’t. Just “eyeing it up” gets tiresome, especially if trying to make a quick escape—so the rope launcher definitely needed to either latch onto anything, or be something that should have offered clearer working parameters. The in-between ground the device found is okay, and when it works it works well, but you’ll be on top of a church asking yourself why you can’t just launch down to a building below way too often.

The rope launcher isn’t just for navigation, however. While it doesn’t come into play in direct combat, it’s great for creating stealth opportunities when looking to assassinate someone via the air. By creating a zipline between buildings or across a courtyard, Jacob and Evie can position themselves directly above their targets and drop, blades drawn, onto their unsuspecting victims. A new “kidnap” mechanic also helps players be stealthy. By slowly approaching an enemy from behind, our heroes can wrench their prey’s arm and guide them around guard patrols, using them to make it seem like they actually belong and not drawing the ire of nearby foes. If you wander too close to an enemy, however, the ruse is lost. These are just a couple of new ways you can infiltrate enemy spaces and minimize your risk of being detected, and more options are always a good thing when trying to be sneaky.


Combat has also seen a marked improvement in Syndicate. New offensive weapons like the “Voltaic” stun bombs and hallucinogenic darts—which make enemies temporarily fight on your side—allows you to whittle down enemy numbers before a full-blown fight erupts. Once melees do ensue, taking on a horde of guards at once can still prove difficult, but combat isn’t nearly as punishing as it was in Unity thanks to the return of the counter. Even better, a much clearer counter window allows Jacob and Evie to pull off some spectacular combinations that lead to supremely cinematic, bone-crushing multi-kills when several opponents are all near death.

Whether the gameplay is new or old, one thing Syndicate also does well is ease players into its mechanics. Side activities like fight clubs and carriage races are great opportunities to practice driving and fighting, while the Gang War missions—Jacob Frye’s one-man march towards unifying the underworld of London under his banner—freshens you up on old techniques, even if they have new twists or if your hidden blade happens to be a bit rusty.

The Gang War side content also acts as a great way for players to clearly follow their progression in the game. A bit like an RPG, Evie and Jacob level up as they unlock and learn new assassination abilities, weapons, and armor, including some specific to each character. As they grow, they can more easily handle enemies of higher difficulty. While it’s not impossible for a level five Evie to stealthily assassinate a level eight Templar, should the hit be botched, she’s more likely to walk away from that encounter if they are closer in level.


With that in mind, the sections of London are similarly labeled, usually housing enemies of a level equal to the location, ranging from Whitechapel’s two up to Westminster’s nine. By freeing London borough by borough from Crawford Starrick’s gangs, both characters level up. Jacob and Evie each max out at level 10, and thankfully, they’ll both earn points toward reaching that goal no matter who you’re playing as. This paves the way for an easier time in the story, while also providing that satisfying feeling of accomplishment that comes from freeing the entire city from Templar control and snagging a couple hundred collectibles along the way—and which Unity made nearly impossible with its cluttered map and unclear progression system.

As good as Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is, it does share one familiar trait with Unity, however: there are a fair amount of bugs in the game. Syndicate froze up on me several times, mission objectives would glitch (forcing me to reload checkpoints), and both Jacob and Evie fell through the world or got stuck in walls far too frequently. It makes one wonder if the yearly Assassins Creed cycle is just too much for Ubisoft to handle, because—while not nearly as bad as Unity—this is back to back years where my gameplay was noticeably hindered at times due to technical issues.

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is a return to form for the most part for Assassin’s Creed. Sure, the removal of all multiplayer might ding the replayability of the title, but I’d rather have an awesome 30-40 hour experience that I’ll one-hundred percent once and be done with—which is what Syndicate is—than the feeling of being forced into online play to try and squeeze a few more hours out of it. Syndicate features a compelling story with great protagonists, some terrific gameplay, and a beautiful new world and time period to explore, which remains Assassin’s Creed’s calling card. If Ubisoft can just work out those last few kinks, Assassin’s Creed would be ready to truly take new-gen by storm. As is, Syndicate is a strong addition to the series’ ever-expanding timeline that should reassure fans who were questioning its viability after last year.


Developer: Ubisoft Quebec • Publisher: Ubisoft • ESRB: M – Mature • Release Date: 10.23.15

A fair amount of bugs and lack of a present-day scenario detract from what is otherwise a strong return to form for Assassin’s Creed. Syndicate touts not one, but two great protagonists, strong gameplay, and Victorian Era London is neck and neck with Renaissance Italy as the best place the series has been to.

The Good London may be the most impressive setting for the series yet. Strong narrative and gameplay.
The Bad Glitches galore. Lack of present-day scenario. Rope launcher could use some work.
The Ugly I wonder if PETA will come after Ubisoft for all the horses I killed during high-speed carriage chases.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is available on Xbox One and PS4 and is coming later to PC. Primary version reviewed was for Xbox One. Review code was provided by Ubisoft for the benefit of this review.

Hey there everyone. It’s been a long time, but I had a chance to get some extra footage of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate when I went to London, England, to preview the game. In this video, I played as Evie in Sequence 7 and took on the side mission “Stalk the Stalker”, where I help out train conductor Agnes with a problem. We see some rope launcher gameplay, some assassinations, some tailing, and even a quick look at Evie’s upgrade menu. Be sure to stay tuned as hopefully this is the start of me bringing this channel back to life. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate will be out on October 23 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

I had a chance to play a chunk of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate in a preview event in London several weeks ago and here is some of the footage from that gameplay time.

This particular video shows the first mission in Sequence 7 where Jacob Frye is in the middle of his manhunt for all of Templar Grandmaster Crawford Starrick’s lieutenants. While searching for a mysterious Templar codenamed “B”, Jacob uncovers the beginnings of a plot involving England’s Prime Minister.

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate will be available for Xbox One, PS4, and PC on October 23rd.

British actress Victoria Atkin reveals how she landed the role of Evie Frye in an interview she did with the LA Times at San Diego ComicCon.

Because Ubisoft always uses full performance capture and mocap suits, Victoria was expected to be able to show her physicality in her audition. It was the exact opposite, though, that seems to have won over the Ubisoft casting people.

“I’m a television and film actress predominantly, so the audition was kind of similar to that,” starts Atkin. “I did a tape from home, although there were instructions to run around the floor and do kicks and jumps and things like that, as well as the normal asides that you’d have for a character.

“The casting director told me that a lot of people followed these instructions and did everything. I looked at those instructions and kind of decided that I was just going to run in, do a kick and a jump, and then stop. So, I rebelled, which is not something that I’d normally do, but apparently the director and everybody loved it because it was the character of Evie from the very start.”

Being able to easily do a London accent sealed the deal and before Victoria knew it, she was off to Quebec to start recording lines.

You can see Victoria as Evie Frye in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate on October 23 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

For the first time in Assassin’s Creed history, the heroes of the story will use contemporary firearms when taking the fight to the Templars. Sure, guns have been in Assassin’s Creed for several games, but all those previous weapons were slow-loading, single-shot muskets or flintlocks. Now, six-shot revolvers allow new protagonists Jacob and Evie Frye the chance to remove multiple targets quickly from afar. The closest players have ever gotten to anything like this was when Edward Kenway would carry four single-shot pistols on his person, and that was after fishing and hunting all day in the Caribbean to earn the necessary holster upgrades.

Just because Jacob and Evie can use guns, though, doesn’t mean they should. I found during my demo of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate that while I was often strongly tempted to pull out the revolver, it best to use it only in dire situations. There is nothing stealthy about a gun. Using one to eliminate a target, no matter how high-ranking or difficult they may be, immediately draws the attention of dozens of enemy guards, police or rival gang members and turns a manageable situation into an unmanageable one.

This is why Jacob and Evie remain extremely well-equipped for removing their targets from the field with an up close and personal flair. The first, and likely most obvious, weapon is the legendary hidden blade of the Assassin Order. Stabbing people from haystacks, from behind corners or after leaping from a rooftop are still the best and often stealthiest ways to get a job done. With players once again being able to whistle to draw unsuspecting enemies to a blind corner, leap from moving vehicles such as carriages or drop from a zipline created by the new rope launcher, the hidden blade has never been more effective than in Syndicate.

But that’s far from the only tool you’ll be able to use. It’s easy to conceal the Kukri — a small, sharp, curved blade of Indian origin — within one’s coat pocket; it’s great for giving you a bit more reach when needed and for defending yourself against knife-wielding thugs. Brass knuckles are also a classic choice for when you don’t want to kill your enemy, whether it be for interrogation or to send a special message back to the Templars. Instead, you can put them down for the count more quickly and definitely more brutally, than with your fists. Finally, the Cane Sword may be the most devious trick in the Fryes’ book since its sharpened, curved end can hook into enemies, while the bottom detaches to reveal another lethal blade in its shaft.

So, while the change in times has provided a new context for many of Syndicate’s weapons, stealth is always your best option and sometimes old-school strategies trump new-school technology. After all, what kind of an assassin would you be if everyone heard you coming?

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is coming out on Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC on Oct. 23.

One of the most thrilling things about an Assassin’s Creed release is seeing how the world builders behind the game not only re-create iconic landmarks from the cities and regions they choose, but do so in a way that feels accurate for the time frame. With London’s tremendous history and potential, I give you the top five places I want to see and explore in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate’s Victorian England.

Get more info on how to get your own copy of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate here: http://bit.ly/1AUbKEl

Tower of London

Easily one of the oldest structures in London, this near millennium-old castle sits on the northern bank of the River Thames, and has had numerous uses over the centuries. Originally used as a key fortification on one of the main bridges into the city, the Tower of London has also served as a residence for the royal family, a menagerie, and continues to this day to house the Crown Jewels. With all the stories of ghosts roaming the Tower’s halls, and with its diverse history, one can only imagine that Syndicate would take advantage of this landmark—using its interior as the setting for at least some side missions, with the outside providing some perfect synchronization points.

Buckingham Palace

A perfect tie-in to Syndicate, Buckingham Palace did not become the official home of Britain’s royal family until Queen Victoria in 1837—who was of course in her ruling prime around the events of the game. Originally just a townhouse for the Duke of Buckingham, the Palace was built in 1703, and has had numerous additions made over the following three centuries. Besides being the current residence of the royal family, Buckingham Palace is world renowned for its gardens, the largest private ones in all of London. I’m sure they’d make a wonderful approach to sneak through if need be.

Palace of Westminster

Located on the Middlesex bank of the River Thames, the Palace of Westminster—where the Houses of Parliament meet, and whose clock tower houses good old Big Ben—may be the most recognizable of London’s landmarks. While it also once served as a royal residence, it is best known now for where all of England’s most important government decisions are made. What’s most fascinating is that the time period Syndicate takes place in coincides with the Palace still in the process of being rebuilt after an 1834 fire. While close to completion at that point (repairs were officially deemed done in 1870), there is still the potential for Jacob and Evie to work their way through half-completed corridors and hidden rooms, all while Parliament is in session. Not to mention that clock tower would make one heck of a climb.

St. Paul’s Cathedral

We couldn’t be talking Assassin’s Creed landmarks if we didn’t list at least one church, and few are as special as St. Paul’s. Sitting atop Ludgate Hill, the cathedral is at the highest point of all of London, looking down from above on all the people. At 365 feet tall, it was the tallest building in all of London until 1962—meaning it should be your most challenging climb in Syndicate. It’s dome remains one of London’s most recognizable sights, due to its domination of the skyline for over three centuries now. Often the site of many special and celebratory occasions in English history, it’d be surprising if Jacob and Evie didn’t have to infiltrate this structure at least once.

Piccadilly Circus

No, it’s not a circus in the traditional sense. In the case of Piccadilly, circus means “circle”, as in a round open space at a street junction, like a town square. Its location in London has made it a tourist attraction in and of itself due to its proximity to the shopping and entertainment centers in London’s West End. It’s this ideal location that means Jacob and Evie will likely be running through Piccadilly more often than not, in order to get to key areas in the game. And, although London’s Underground was open by the time Syndicate starts, I’m going to have to disappoint people by mentioning that Piccadilly’s own Underground station wasn’t constructed until the turn of the 20th century—meaning there shouldn’t be official tube station entrances near here in the game.