EGX 2015: Assassin’s Creed Syndicate Hands-On Preview


GameSided Staff Writer Fraser G. recently attended EGX 2015 in the UK, gaining access to hands-on previews of some of the hottest upcoming AAA titles and indie games. Our EGX roundup series has now concluded, but you can find links to all of our features below.

#1 Mirror’s Edge Catalyst Hands-On Preview
#2 Soul Axiom Interview
#3 Star Wars Battlefront Hands-On Preview
#4 Aaero Interview
#5 Rise Of The Tomb Raider Hands-On Preview
#6 Indie Showcase – Fire Fu
#7 Just Cause 3 Hands-On Preview
#8 Assassin’s Creed Syndicate Hands-On Preview
#9 Indie Showcase – Just Shapes and Beats
#10 HTC Vive Hands-On Preview

I have to admit that the Assassin’s Creed series has never particularly grabbed my interest to any significant degree, yet I have somehow accumulated a vast number of the series’ titles in the process. I also bought the much-criticized Assassin’s Creed Unity, and after Unity’s catastrophic technical problems hampered the title during the game’s launch period, Ubisoft needed to bounce back in a big way with the next game in the series.

In Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, we’re transported back in time to the Industrial Revolution in mid-19th century London as we follow the story of two main characters – Jacob and Evie Frye. In my short time with the game, I had a chance to control the latter of these two; the series’ first playable female character (aside from Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation).

I can’t tell you much about the story of AC Syndicate at this point as there simply wasn’t enough time to sink into the game’s vast number of missions. Straight from the off, traversing the city felt almost identical to that of Unity. That’s fine, but I personally feel as though the game’s freerunning and climbing mechanics are outdated and often cause frustration, despite some improvements to the formula in recent iterations. There’s a new grapple hook too, which I initially forgot existed but later found to be very useful, allowing for a faster way to traverse across the city.

As usual, a great deal of effort and attention to detail has been paid to the game’s location.

Combat feels natural and easier to control, thanks to improvements to the game’s latency issues. Multi-person battles are improved too, while stealth combat options are varied and impressive. I didn’t notice too many differences in the game’s enemy AI, who were fairly smart and made me pay for my mistakes when I was identified.

As usual, a great deal of effort and attention to detail has been paid to the game’s location. The game does a great job of creating a sense of authenticity and realism, and there’s a wide variety of elements that make you feel immersed in 19th century London. Graphics are excellent as they were in Unity, which is still one of the best looking games on the current generation of consoles so far. I didn’t come across any frame-rate drops or glitches during my time with the game either.

My main task in the short demo was to scale the Tower Of London and assassinate the enemy using a method of my choice. In one section, I needed to enter a high-placed window in order to reach another character who was located inside of the buildings. This is where my frustration kicked in, as my initial assumption was that the finickiness of the game’s controls combined with a camera which struggled to deal with my commands meant that I couldn’t enter the window, although I eventually figured out that I was in the wrong; I needed to use the grapple hook for this purpose, a feature that I hadn’t accustomed myself with to a full extent.

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Anyone who enjoys the Assassin’s Creed series will enjoy Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. While I’m still a little underwhelmed by what I consider to be outdated traversal mechanics (despite the new grapple hook), there’s a lot of depth to Assassin’s Creed Syndicate’s gameplay, located within the beautiful environments that have benefited from intricate attention to detail. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate focuses on refinements rather than an overhaul, but there’s still plenty of new improvements to the formula that should please the majority of fans for another year.

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is out later this month for console owners, arriving for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on October 23, 2015. PC gamers won’t need to wait much longer, as it is currently set to release for PC on November 19, 2015.

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