Assassin’s Creed Syndicate – impressions
Well, I’ve finally finished it, game plus DLC, here’s my quick thoughts on it:
-, -, – The whole game stands under a huge shadow for me. I preordered it the deluxe editions with DLCs all because of the epic world that was AC Unity, but I was hugely disappointed. I can’t know if it was other less skilled artists or a manager-programmer tyranny which too afraid to get the press criticism of the prequel gave super strict guidelines that killed off a lot of the cool world stuff, making it very “boxy” in designs everywhere, or maybe even a bit of the influence of the city of London as they imagined it (and portrayed it) as bleak and industrial and less romantic, but either way, I was hugely disappointed upon seeing the world and it’s low-poly vibe.
+, + the engine however was top notch, the atmospheric effects, the distant rendering, and also the light on the wet streets, and even some parks, sometimes it looked quite breathtaking in a way that almost compensated for the lacking artwork.
-, – not only the main story itself with the two mediocre main characters but the world’s story felt quite lame. It was so imbued with that mainstream illogicality and and politics of our time! It’s sad to say this is not just their fault but also the perception of writers like Dickens which fits into this world view. It’s sad though to see how the most prosperous country in the world at the time, where the poor were doing many times better than not just the poor but often the rich across the rest of the world is maintained in public consciousness as a horrible place to be when if one had lived in those times that would’ve been the best place in the world to live in. It’s quite silly when people take current time values and project it onto the past, and instead of realizing how exceptional and unique those places and values were, how far ahead of their times, instead they portray them as bad, all while killing in the name of fighting their badness (ironic in it’s own way all the good intentions under which the assassin’s kill hundreds all with a sparkling conscience, tells of the power today and historically proven of this leftist ideology).
+ there were however also refreshing moments when the templars were allowed to also present a bit of their view without being portrayed as one dimensional monsters. Few, but it was still nice to get a bit of the other side’s position. (just to clarify, not that I support their position, this being IMO a false dichotomy, but it was still nice to have some greys out there)
+, +, +, + The truth is though, after I got over the game’s initial disappointment, that it was still an amazing world to look into. The historical research, the streets, the outfits, the animations/acting of the pedestrians, even driving a carriage was okay (i dislike vehicles in games). Every couple of weeks/months when I’d start the game again I’d be again surprised and delighted at all the richness put into this world.
– quite a lot of unmemorable and even uninspired trivial missions
+, + the world impresses not only with it’s scale and occasional great detail but also with a surprising bonus area, it was great to see the same London tweaked forward a half-century or so into the times of the Great War. That was a great cool move, might be worth redoing in other AC games if it’s not hugely at the cost of the big world, especially in cases like this where on the same territory two great ages occur
+, +, – the music is a strange mixture of possible excellence and so-so-ness. In it’s great moments I’d get excited this could be a soundtrack heading in the direction of the fantastic music in the movie Sherlock Holmes. It however never quite goes to that height of thematic excellence or technical skill. Still, not bad and helps with the character of the game, if at bit in a chaotic way (fitting one might argue)
+ The DLC was so so, somewhat forgettable but still decent
-, +, + they came back with the little mini optional stories, a lot of which were silly in the main ideology of the game with a dumbed down Darwin & Dickens as puppet cameos, however I also remember some quite excellent detective stories which actually had me curious and looking at clues in ways at least as good as the predecessor’s stories. I’m happy they dared this game within game, it enriches the world with interiors and stories.
Overall I gotta say that despite all my grumbling and mumbling I was quite happy with the game. I take back some of my initial post AC Unity greatness disappointment, when I said to myself I won’t preorder the next AC because Syndicate disappointed so bad. I guess once I stopped comparing it to it’s greater brother I have to say it was still a great historical period game with a rich big world that impressed in many ways, even if the story was weak and the artwork level quite mediocre in comparison to AC Unity. Still, Ubisoft has proven again that even it’s bad games and it’s bad artists/directors are often better than those of others. Overall I’d give it a reluctant 2.5 on a -5 to 5 scale. It was still a pretty impressive game, despite being a pity in the great footsteps it walked in.