Hands-on With Assassin's Creed Syndicate
Ubisoft brought a playable demo of Assassin's Creed Syndicate to E3, and I spent some time learning about the new systems in place for the next chapter in the prolific series.
The mission features protagonist Jacob Frye (the game also stars his sister Evey), and involves taking on the Blighters gang, who are of course backed by the Templars. They've kidnapped some allies and I've got to sneak in, free them, and take out the 10 goons guarding the area.
I drive one of the new carriages to the waypoint, and it controls somewhat similarly to a video game car, albeit slower and more sluggish. Once I got to the mission zone, I go into sneak mode, trading my top hat for an Assassin hood. I fire the new rope grapple to the top of a building and zip right up. It's like the traditional counterweight rope pulls in older AC games, but you can use it anywhere. By eliminating slow climbing mechanics when you prefer, it definitely speeds up the pace of movement.
On top of the roof I see a wide courtyard with a few enemies below. I shoot the rope grapple horizontally this time and climb out to hang from the wire over the courtyard. If you've played the Batman: Arkham games, this feels highly similar to the line launcher. Again, it saves a lot of time from jumping down into a hay bale, running across the street, and climbing back up the other side. Another benefit is that you can target enemies below for all manner of Assassin mischief.
Watch a different gameplay section in action.
The hallucinogenic dart, which functions similarly to the berserker dart of past games, now can be expanded to multiple targets if you shoot it into a fire. I do so from the tightrope and manage to get three enemies crazed and fighting each other. One of my hostages tries to escape at that point and decides to fight one of the berserk goons. In case it goes the wrong way, I decide to perform a traditional air assassination on the berserk enemy, and my ally runs off to safety.
Later on, I come upon another patrolling enemy who happens to walk beneath a cluster of crates suspended by a rope. Using a throwing knife, I slice the heavy payload and it crashes down on the unsuspecting target.
Once the hostages are all rescued and guards eliminated, I move on to the next section of the demo. A quick cutscene shows a gang arrive led by a lady named Bloody Nora. Here I'm tasked with beating up all of the gang and taking out Nora. I don't have any blades, but I break plenty of limbs and smash several faces into the ground. Once the numbers are thinned out and Nora is disposed of, another cutscene plays and Jacob and Evey declare in a rousing speech that they have now absorbed the defeated gang into their own. This showcases one of the main goals of Syndicate, growing your gang into a massive network and taking over 18th century London.