You’ve seen Gangs of New York, right? DiCaprio facing off against a scene-chewing Daniel Day-Lewis? You have, and you fucking love it, right? Of course you do, you’re a sensible person with exquisite taste, like that jumper you’re wearing…that is *boss*, where’s it from? River Island? NICE.
So anyway, remember the start of that film, just after Qui-Gon Jinn spouts some cryptic message about ‘the blood stays on the blade’, where his Dead Rabbits gang square off against Day-Lewis’ Natives for control of the Five Points area of New York?You totally get to do that in AC: Syndicate.
The game, or one part of it anyway, is about taking back control of London from the Templar-affiliated gang The Blighters (awful name). You do this by completing missions to piss off the gang leader of any area – do enough of this and eventually they challenge you and your gang, The Rooks (again, awful name) to a gang fight – and it’s bloody awesome.
Whilst not on the scale of Scorsese’s violent history-em-up, there’s about 20 people from each gang lining up and you just go at it until you’ve battered/killed enough people to get the gang leader to fight you. Kill them and the area belongs to you. It’s not exactly ground-breaking stuff, but it adds a reason to do the missions in an area that’s not just ticking off a big checklist. You’re weakening the rival gang one area at a time and systematically pissing someone off is something I found oddly fun.
And of course, it’s Assassin’s Creed, so that city you’re fighting for control of looks stunning. In a flip of last years effort, which looked utterly gorgeous from the sky, Syndicate looks stunning at ground level The detail of the cobbled streets have made me stop more than a few times to take it all in- like a really expensive BBC Sunday evening drama I’d be forced to watch as a kid. Not that it’s a slouch from the rooftops, check this shot of the Thames:But just like last years, the streets are bustling with life in a way that no other game really comes close to – only Witcher 3 really rivals it in ‘living breathing world’ stakes. It’s a pretty empty world, the smoke filled streets are pretty much there to charge around as you go from mission to mission*, but it’s so, so pretty. The work that goes into creating the world in AC games is never short of exhaustive. This may surprise you, but I’ve never actually been to Victorian London and I’d wager a guess that you’ve not either, so I’m no expert. But I can imagine it was a lot like this game shows it to be. Though, possibly with less stage-school cockney accents. Maybe.
But anyway, you already know if you love it or hate it, it’s Assassin’s Creed, right? Same shit, different year. My main reason for writing this was after seeing a tweet that mentioned ‘those who like Assassin’s Creed can’t even say why – I’d expect some passion, but all you get is ‘dunno”, (or words to that effect anyway).
The arrogance of this is extraordinary. Like anyone has to justify their like of something to anyone. Why does AC bring this sort of anger out in people? Why do some get so, offended that someone gains some joy out of something? I’ve never understood the ‘I hate this thing so I’m correct and you’re all stupid’ mentality. Just let folk like what they like. Sure, I’ll take the piss and debate with you if we disagree, but your opinion is yours and who the fuck is anyone else to get annoyed at that?
Isn’t it OK that something is just fun? Feeling the need to be ‘passionate’ about everything you do must be fucking exhausting. I play Assassins Creed because it’s an easy play, nothing too taxing. A game where I can genuinely relax whilst playing – there’s a challenge sure, but they’re fairly easy going on the ‘tense’ stakes and that right there is why I look forward to them every year. A nice little pallet cleanser between more heavy going games…
…that and the chance to ram a hidden blade into the throat of some rich fat-cat feeding off the poor for their own gain. I like that.
*I’ve only played about 6 hours so far, so it may open up some more things to do