Archive for Syndicate

Assassin’s Creed’s Timeline or Full Circle

Posted in Gaming these days ..., Revisited with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2017 by Rabidgames

With Assassin’s Creed Origins just out, why not take a look at the history of the series? For this purpose, we’ll only look at the main games (Liberations not included as it is considerably smaller), and if they’re worth visiting again. For this purpose, Rabidgames has played each game for at least 5 hours.

Assassin’s Creed

The Setting: Medieval Middle East during the Third Crusade. We can explore three cities, Jerusalem, Acre, Damascus, as well as the hub and assassin hub of Masyaf. And we meet a real life Templar leader …

The Story: Pretty much just killing Templars to obtain the Apple of Eden, a powerful artifact (it’s a long story). In present times, we are introduced to Desmond, Lucy and Abstergo, the modern-day Templars.

The Gameplay: Repetitive. The first Assassin’s Creed is 9 assassinations – the good thing is you can do them however you please (to a degree), the bad news is you have to repeat the very same steps leading towards the assassination 9 times. Oh, and you better enjoy gathering a million flags …

The Verdict: Hard to get into now. Essentially a tech demo.

 

Assassin’s Creed 2

The Setting: Renaissance Venice, Florence, the family hub of Monteriggioni and a few more locations. You get to meet folk such as Leonardo da Vinci, Niccolò Machiavelli, Caterina Sforza, Bartolomeo d’Alviano, Lorenzo de Medici, the villainous Borgia and uncle Mario.

The Story: Experience how Ezio turns from spoilt playboy to feared Assassin leader who takes on the corrupt pope and meets members of the first civilisation (who created the Apple from AC1 and lived on earth before humanity). In present day, Desmond meets a few more Assassins.

The Gameplay: More varied, more counters, more tools. If you’re into puzzles, you can explore caverns and tombs, or you can solve glyph puzzles that give you some insight into the world of Assassin’s Creed.

The Verdict: The story is still great, the gameplay feels a bit bare-bone now though. Still worth experiencing though.

 

Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood

The Setting: Renaissance Rome, including all points of interests and the outskirts. Also, you can explore present-day Monteriggioni. Most of the cast from AC2 appear again. Desmond gets a bit stabby at the end of the game.

The Story: Monteriggioni is attacked. A wounded Ezio arrives in Rome to take revenge. And take revenge he does …

The Gameplay: Well, mostly a refined version of AC2. Plus you can now recruit and command assassins and send them on missions. We learn more of the perennial bad girl Juno. For whatever idiotic reason, multiplayer gets introduced. Who asked for this?

The Verdict: Commanding your brotherhood never gets old. Still fun to mess around with.

 

Assassin’s Creed Revelations

The Setting: Istanbul/Constantinople. The city looks and feels different from the previous games.

The Story: Ezio travels to Istanbul/Constantinople to discover an important secret. Also, we get to know more about Altair. Desmond is stuck in the Animus.

The Gameplay: More of the same, but with bombs and more mobility. Sadly, no more glyphs but a poor Tower Defense mini-game. Unfortunately, multiplayer is still in.

The Verdict: This game has a same old, same old feeling sadly. Lots of extra stuff not worth your while.

 

Assassin’s Creed III

The Setting: The American Revolution. Set in the wilderness, protagonist Connor’s homestead and rather rural looking Boston and New York. A stellar cast, including Franklin, Washington, Jefferson and many more.

The Story: The American Revolution. However, the game deviates from its predecessors by telling the story in different shades of grey. We also get a bit of a Vader/Luke situation. Also, the end of Desmond’s story and Juno’s release.

The Gameplay: A few changes, but mostly just redefined from previous games. A hint of naval battles and trekking through the wilderness – a highlight in deep snow – as well as hunting gave AC3 a different feeling though. There are also quite a few segments in present day with Desmond. Unfortunately, multiplayer is still in.

The Verdict: Tough one. The story is great, the gameplay can be fun, but it is a few chapters too long and the crafting and economic system are mostly useless. Still, Ubisoft dared to touch this sensitive topic and delivered a game neither neglecting the will for freedom nor how the freedom was exploited quickly.

 

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag

The Setting: The Caribbean. Pirates. Ships. Your ship. Three major cities; Kingston, Havana and Nassau, a multitude of little islands and your very own hideout island. You meet quite a few famous pirates, including the infamous Blackbeard.

The Story: A pirate (father/grandfather of the protagonists of AC3) turns Templar turns Assassin (and stays there). The story actually spans 3 different times, and present day is narrated from the eyes of an Abstergo employee. Juno says hello, and the Sages are introduced.

The Gameplay: On land, not much changed. Except for awful tailing missions, the low point of Black Flag. The naval battles are an absolute highlight though. You are an Abstergo employee in present day – anonymous and clueless. Unfortunately, multiplayer is still in.

The Verdict: Great and different. Sailing the seas and sinking ships never gets old.

 

Assassin’s Creed Rogue

The Setting: The Atlantic Ocean near the Northern American coast, a smaller map with more islands, New York. And your ship. Not much happens in present day.

The Story: You play as an Assassin turned Templar! Nice change, eh?

The Gameplay: Same as Black Flag, plus a few extras here or there. Thankfully, minus multiplayer.

The Verdict: The story ties together the American saga ACs (although the beginning of Unity is related, too). It’s a bit short in terms of story, but again – sailing and sinking. Oh, and fighting Assassins, of course.

 

Assassin’s Creed Unity

The Setting: Paris during the revolution (the French one in case you’re wondering). A very lively and nicely looking Paris full of details and atmosphere. You get to meet characters including Napoleon, Marquis de Sade and Robespierre.

The Story: Entirely forgettable. Not much happens in present day either.

The Gameplay: A few new systems, but fighting was way too clumsy and not intuitive. Co-op missions are in for whatever reason, another thing no one ever asked for. Speaking of shit no one ever asked for – locked chests you could only open with a companion app – a low point.

The Verdict: Broken at release, now Paris is a joy to explore, but a chore to play through. Boring protagonist and the revolution just happens around you.

 

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

The Setting: London in Victorian times, including the Buckingham Palace, the Tower and Big Ben. And a bit of London during World War 1. Your base is a moving train. You get to meet the likes of Marx, Dickens, Darwin, Florence Nightingale, a young Arthur Conan Doyle and Winston Churchill.

The Story: Two twins take over gangs and take down a Templar conspiracy in London while London oozes Victorian and proto-capitalist (poisonous) air. Something very important happens in present day. And the Assassins save the queen. Obviously.

The Gameplay: Sleek and refined. There are also Hitman-style assassinations and you can develop both characters differently. Diverse and rewarding side missions make sure there’s always something to do in London. Oh, and no more fucking mutiplayer, yay!

The Verdict: The best gameplay, hands down. And a great protagonist (Evie, not Jacob) make the game a joy to play and mess around with gangsters and cops.

 

To sum it up, while Unity can very easily be called the weakest game due to its forgettable story and nothing important really happening (even if we forget about the technical issues at start), it’s difficult to name ONE game to be the best Assassin’s Creed game – story-wise, Assassin’s Creed 2 wins. Brotherhood has the best feeling of being an Assassin leader, while Black Flag’s offer to be a pirate is hard to refuse. And then we have Syndicate with the most fluent and refined gameplay.

Rabidgames ponders: Perhaps Origins really is the best game in the series. That would decide it easily without thinking too hard about the best Assassin’s Creed …

Advertisements

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate or Victorian Rejuvenation

Posted in Hands On with tags , , , on November 4, 2015 by Rabidgames

Another year, another Assassin’s Creed. After the disappointment of Unity with the weak protagonist Arno who couldn’t light up Paris, we can now see what the dynamic assassinating twins Evie and Jacob can do in Victorian London.

And it’s a whole lot they’re doing! First of all – there is no graphical downgrade, at least not one you actually notice unless you’re a graphic whore. However, the game runs fine and neat most of the time. Second, Evie and Jacob are way more interesting than Arno – they fight, they have different goals they are going after … To enjoy Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, you should definitely play them differently – a shame Ubisoft gave each only a handful of exclusive skills. Here’s Rabidgames’ formula for fun: Have Evie sneak around and be an assassinating shadow, while Jacob knocks down the front door and bludgeons and shoots everyone in sight, always accompanied by their gang, the Rooks.

Mission-wise, there are a few missions only one can tackle, but most of the time, feel free to traverse London with your favourite. The main missions are nice and varied, and even the side content appears more structured in Syndicate – take over the city to get rewards from one guy, do fight clubs and horse carriage races to rank up with another guy, help a cop here, sabotage Templar stuff there – whatever you do, one person will make it worth your while. Okay, except for collecting flowers, treasure chests, Helix glitches and beer bottles. However, each beer bottle comes with hilarious tasting notes from Shaun, your old Assassin mate, so it’s not too bad here.

And thankfully, there are the Dreadful Crimes, murders to be investigated by our Sherlock and Watson … or rather the twins, sorry although there is a connection with Sherlock Holmes there. Besides this person, you can also have a chat with the likes of Dickens, Darwin or Bell, just to name a few, in Syndicate. And some of the conversations are actually hilarious. Oh, and we even get to meet royal blood!

With the variety above – and from sneaking to horse races to playing Froggers on the Thames while stealing stuff from boats there is quite some to be had – Syndicate feels fresher than Assassin’s Creed has felt for a while. Of course, novelties like the arcady but still fun horse carriages or the grapple hook (known from Batman or Just Cause) help making the game more fun. One letdown though is your headquarters – a moving train. Sounds lame, IS lame. A proper mansion would have been way better.

There’s one question left, right? How’s Syndicate’s London? From a Londoner’s perspective, it is doing okay – of course, some famous sights are easily recognisable, but the geography is not really accurate (to put it that way), and some areas feel rather bland. This might be historically accurate, who knows, but if there’s no difference between rich and poor areas, something feels a bit off. Apart from that though, the city feels like a breathing city in Syndicate – yes, there are less NPCs than in Unity, but train stations are still busy, and many NPCs roam the streets doing something, sometimes drunkenly beating up each other, especially at night when Syndicate’s London looks and plays at its atmospheric best. However, there is one thing that’s unrealistic – London is too bright and sunny, there should be more smog, fog and rain!

It’s fair to say Syndicate is more polished Unity, not just in case of bugs, but also in terms of gameplay elements such as streamlined activities, inventory or icons on the map. It all feels more organised and more accessible – although the fighting is more dynamic this time – and swordless, of course. But most importantly, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate’s protagonists are more engaging and interesting, and last but not least, the game itself is more diverse and, simply put, fun.

Rabidgames cheers: Yes, Syndicate is a successful evolution of Unity’s formula – less clunky, less confusing, more fun, more possibilities. And unless the ending sucks Templars’ balls, it could be up in the competition with the likes of Brotherhood and Black Flag. Excuse Rabidgames now, off we go to to explore the streets of London!