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Assassin’s Creed Syndicate: 10 Spoiler-Free Tips For Beginners

by Joe Juba on Oct 23, 2015 at 10:50 AM

With Syndicate hitting retail shelves today, fans of Ubisoft’s franchise are jumping into Victorian London and discovering what’s familiar and what’s new for this year’s installment. For gamers who are just starting the adventure, here’s our advice for how to focus your efforts, which skills to buy, and where to look for secrets.

Pick a main Frye
Syndicate stars twin Assassins, Jacob and Evie Frye. You can control either of them, and the game only forces you to play one or the other for specific main story missions. That means that you can run around London as whoever you want, liberating the boroughs and completing sidequests. However, you should pick one of the siblings for your open-world activities and stick with that choice (I went with Evie). That’s because there are certain skills that are extremely helpful – more on that next – but spending the skill points on both characters is wasteful. Better to consolidate these utility skills on one Frye, leaving the other to invest in other abilities.

Important skills
In general, focusing Evie on stealth and Jacob on combat is a smart move, since each character has unique skills at the bottom of those trees. Beyond the obvious enhancements, you should prioritize a handful of other upgrades that will make your overall progression easier (though, as mentioned above, you only need them for one character). Both levels of the Scavenger skill are great, since it gives you more resources to craft items and purchase other upgrades. The first level of lockpicking is also a must-have, since it lets you unlock gold chests (don’t worry – there’s no stupid minigame) to obtain rare materials. As for gang upgrades, you should buy Notoriety to stop random bad guys from harassing you on the street. I also recommend throwing resources at the whole gang sequence beginning with “pub investor” as soon as possible, since it increases your passive income.

Do the “B” missions
The map is full of various story-focused and optional missions, so it might be difficult to know where to start. Here’s a hint: If there’s a glowing gold “B” mission, do it right away. Those are quests involving Alexander Graham Bell, and they result in you getting some of your most essential tools, like the zipline and hallucinogenic darts.

The “C,” “D,” and “M” missions can wait
These missions deal with Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, and Karl Marx. They serve mainly as a way for players to interact with caricatures of these historical figures; they don’t offer especially great objectives, rewards, or story moments. That’s not to say they’re bad, but you don’t need to put them at the top of your to-do list.

Don’t sweat the bonus objectives
Like previous games in the series, bonus objectives are often tacked on to your main objective during a mission, like “follow the target without touching the ground,” or “kill three guards with throwing knives.” Completing these extra goals make some fans feel like they are playing “right,” but they aren’t worth agonizing over. All you get for finishing them is a little extra gold and experience – two resources that are far from limited. By all means, aim for the bonus challenges if they look interesting or are easy, but don’t start a checkpoint over again and again just to reap the dubious rewards.

Open chests
Over the course of the Assassin’s Creed series, we’ve been conditioned to overlook the chests scattered throughout the various cities. After all, they only contain a paltry amount of money, right? Not in Syndicate! These chests are major sources of valuable materials used to purchase gang upgrades and craft gear (especially with the Scavenger upgrade). They make a huge difference in how soon you are able to access better stuff, so opening them is definitely worth a short detour.

Spend your skill points
This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you’ve been primarily controlling one sibling, you might forget that the other one has been accruing and banking skill points. If the game shifts over to Jacob for a mission after you’ve been focusing on Evie, don’t forget to hop in the menu and buy some new abilities. It’s also important because spending skill points is how you level up, and each level brings an increase in your base stats along with whatever new skills you purchase.

Buy treasure maps
When you visit the many shops in London, odds are that you will just select the “refill all” option to purchase extra ammo and throwing knives. However, don’t forget to dig around in the shop menu to find the treasure maps. Purchasing them permanently marks various collectibles on your map.

Not all collectibles are created equal
The map is full of all kinds of stuff you can grab: beer bottles, pressed flowers, royal correspondences, etc. How do you know which ones are important? There are benefits to getting all of them, but the only items you should make a special effort to collect when you see them are music boxes. They are the hardest to track down, so keep your ears open for their telltale sound.

Keep an eye on the Thames
I can’t say too much without spoiling it, but when you get to the game's middle sequences, look for a new activity icon on the eastern edge of the map, right in the middle of the Thames. The story won’t steer you toward it, but it contains a sizable (and important) bit of gameplay that fans of the series should find particularly interesting.