Tag Archive: Syndicate

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.

We all know that Ubisoft has gone on record saying they wanted to get back to the roots of the Assassin’s Creed series with Syndicate. It’s why they removed multiplayer and co-op, turning their sole attention onto the single player experience. Until I was able to go hands-on with a couple of the game’s early sequences last week at a special London event, however, I wasn’t sure just what that would entail.

Well, it meant we’d get what could be some of the most memorable characters the series has yet to offer. New villain Crawford Starrick, the Templar Grandmaster who has wrapped an iron fist around 19th century London, made his power felt right from the get-go of our time with Syndicate. A cruel, ruthless man, Starrick takes no prisoners when it comes to making sure things are done his way, and has zero tolerance for the Assassin Brotherhood.

His early emergence in Syndicate was a welcome sight, as it gives the Frye twins a clear and ever-present goal throughout the narrative. Eliminate Starrick and save London; not since Rodrigo Borgia and Ezio have the battle lines between Templar and Assassin been so clearly drawn. Nor have they been so fun.

Getting to Starrick is, not surprisingly, going to be very difficult. Between him and our would-be Assassin heroes are Starrick’s seven lieutenants, each in charge of a key part of what keeps London ticking. High-rolling bankers, members of Parliament, even the city’s most prominent crime boss all get their marching orders from Starrick, and only by drawing them out and removing them first from their respective territories will you have a chance of luring out the Grandmaster himself.

To do this, you’ll have to perform a variety of both new and familiar side quests. As an added bonus, many of these missions take advantage of the new mechanics introduced courtesy of the time period. For example, one set of side quests requires you to kidnap key Templar targets and then transport them via stagecoach across London for interrogation. Others missions more recognizable to fans of the series will require you to tail a particular target and listen in for information, or remove a certain number of Templar thugs from an area before claiming it in the name of the Brotherhood. Thankfully, new devices like the rope launcher make it easier than ever to traverse across rooftops or line up air assassinations in large, open courtyards.

Not all the memorable characters have aligned themselves with the Templars, however. Some of history’s greatest faces from the Victorian era have thrown in with the Assassins—although not all knowingly. Famed author Charles Dickens is a man about town, is as well connected as they come, and the Frye twins will surely use his contacts to ascertain vital information. Inventor Alexander Graham Bell provides the Frye twins with some of their greatest weapons and gadgets, as well as a kind ear to bounce ideas off of. Not since Benjamin Franklin or Leonardo da Vinci have we had such a colorful confidant standing side-by-side with the Brotherhood. And then there’s Henry Green, the Indian Assassin mentor who guides Evie and Jacob throughout their adventure and knows just where, who, and when to strike the Templars to cause the most harm to their cause. There’s even some comedy relief from Agnes, the train conductor, who maintains the Assassin’s locomotive base of operations.

Yes, you did not misread. Much like Monteriggioni or Café Theatre, the Frye twins have their own base of operations. And in fitting Industrial Revolution fashion, it’s always moving. Through a series of fortunate events, the twins come to acquire an entire train, and enlist the aid of its conductor, Agnes. From there you can collect coin from parts of the city you’ve liberated from Templar control, receive new quests, keep track of upgrades, and more.

But, of course, the most important characters in the game are the ones you play as, and Evie and Jacob are as different as they are similar. Jacob’s brashness and Evie’s thoughtfulness provide some brilliant banter between the two, whether in the company of others or on their own, planning their next movie. Their ever-growing personalities will surely influence you when it comes time to take control of one or the other while exploring the open world Syndicate provides. The other aspect of this is that they both play very differently, each with their own set of upgrades, equipment, and special abilities that can be unlocked as they level up by exploring and freeing more of London from Templar control.

There is still one more character that I haven’t touched on yet, though, and that is London itself. From its iconic architecture like Big Ben and St. Paul’s Cathedral, to the small alley markets teeming with life, London gives off a personality unlike any city we’ve seen yet from Assassin’s Creed. Each neighborhood truly comes across as unique, with stark contrasts that you can see and feel. You’ll instantly be able to recognize when you’ve moved from the seedier parts of town like Devil’s Acre or Whitechapel to the more affluent avenues of high society in Westminster or Buckingham. Syndicate’s London may be the most impressive city Assassin’s Creed has recreated yet.

If getting back to the early days of Assassin’s Creed was the plan all along for Syndicate, then from the two sequences I played, it could well be on its way to doing that. The team at Ubisoft Quebec seem to be crafting a narrative and a setting that looks to suck players in right from the start, and lead them by the nose through one of the deepest adventures the series has provided yet. We’ll just have to wait for October to see if it can follow through and deliver on this lofty promise.


I had a chance to go hands-on with the Assassin’s Creed Syndicate Gamescom demo recently, which allowed us to play as Evie Frye for the first time. The demo tasked us with eliminating Templar Lucy Thorne who has critical info on the location of the Shroud of Turin—one of the Pieces of Eden—and a prize that Evie has been hunting for some time at this point.

The demo also re-introduces us to the Blackbox Assassination Missions from Assassin’s Creed Unity. Evie has several opportunities at her disposal to try to get close to Lucy and make the kill.

For the sake of time, several inconsequential cuts were made removing some of Evie traversing through the environment (climbing buildings, sliding down every zipline with the rope launcher, etc.).

To get my full impressions of what I thought of the demo, be sure to check out my written preview from earlier in the week.

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

To say that last year’s Assassin’s Creed Unity had issues when it launched would be an understatement. But for as many problems as it had, there were a few glimmers of good gameplay that the folks at Ubisoft Quebec have polished up and are re-implementing in their freshman effort, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. Of these returning ideas, the most significant one might be the Blackbox assassination missions.

These open-ended efforts still task players with assassinating a high value Templar target and continue to offer up multiple paths to do so. You can take your time and use all of the extra distractions to your advantage for a cake-walk assassination, employ a few that better fit your fancy and your playstyle, or ignore them completely and charge head first into the fray, causing as much chaos as possible.

During my hands-on time with the Gamescom demo of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, I had a chance to play one of these missions and—for the first time—take control of Evie Frye, the more level-headed of the twins that serve as Syndicate’s protagonists. Evie interestingly plays far more differently from her brother, Jacob, than I ever would have expected. While she still has the trademark tools of an assassin of the era, she carries more throwing knives than her brother, sports a special “Voltaic Bomb” that acts as a type of stun grenade when it explodes into electrified shrapnel, and can utilize a unique “Chameleon Skill” that allows her to completely blend into her environment, even seemingly out in the open, when she remains perfectly still.

More throwing knives make sense, and I didn’t mind the Voltaic Bomb (even if it did seem to be a bit of a stretch for the era) but I worry about the Chameleon Skill being almost game-breaking. Unfortunately, the demo was brief enough that I didn’t really get to put the Chameleon Skill through its paces to know for sure. Still, considering how important fixed hiding points have been in the past in Assassin’s Creed games, I’m hesitant about what on-demand invisibility might do to the balance of the game’s stealth.

In regards to the mission itself, Evie had to infiltrate a castle to find her target and hopefully obtain more info on the Shroud of Turin, a Piece of Eden she was hunting while Jacob was building his gangland army. There were three possible paths before her. The first would have her try to steal the keys from one of the castle guards, which would allow her access through each and every door. A second route would see her free a captured constable, who would then call police reinforcements to cause a ruckus and result in the perfect distraction. The third—and my personal favorite—method was for Evie to befriend a castle guard and pretend to be captured, allowing her to walk right up to her target to deliver the killing blow.

No matter the method I tried (I sampled all three), I found myself relying on the rope launcher far more than even I had originally expected to, since it provides such quick access around environments. And since it seems no one ever looks up in an Assassin’s Creed game, I was able to launch Evie across wide open courtyards, from tower to tower, to almost always put myself in the best position possible to make my kill.

The only time I got into trouble was when I botched the assassination of a guard I needed to remove before I attempted the fake capture plot. Another guard that I’d failed to notice turned a corner and saw me just as I finished stabbed his cohort in the neck. Needing a quick escape, I naturally wanted to turn back to the rope launcher. In the heat of the moment, however, I found myself fumbling over the brief window of time it takes to line up shots with the gadget—although I would finally recover and make my getaway on foot.

Now, I hate comparing two unrelated games, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d been ruined by the simplicity of Batman’s grappling hook in the Arkham games. I was so used to just pressing a button and launching to the nearest perch, away from danger, that aiming to line up my escape felt foreign. I’m sure that once I’ve spent more time with Syndicate, I’ll be able to unlearn my habits and use the rope launcher as intended, but for the moment I feel like the manual aiming could wind up leaving it a clunkier imitator of a feature we’ve already seen.

Rope launcher quibbles aside, it felt great to jump back into an assassination mission like this. Evie has a flourish all her own that makes her truly stand apart from how her brother plays. Jacob’s clear emphasis on fisticuffs from when I played the E3 demo and Evie’s penchant for stealth here are so obviously defined that each player should have an easy decision when they choose who to play as in the open world. And considering you’ll get a taste of both when you follow the main story, I wouldn’t be surprised if at least a few gamers find whole new ways to play and enjoy an Assassin’s Creed game when Syndicate drops on October 23.

A new trailer for Assassin’s Creed Syndicate released at Gamescom shows Jacob and Evie’s motivations for fighting the Templars in Industrial Revolution London.

This new trailer explores the psyches of the Frye twins a bit more while also highlighting some of the iconic locations the dual protagonists will get to explore as the fight against the Templars plays out all over London.

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