The new (well, new to me) Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate is set in London, of all places. The main characters are Jacob and Evie Frye, a couple of twins who are doing the dirty work this time. (So they’ve (finally) addressed the whole “female protagonist” thing. While there are a handful of places where you have to play Jacob and another handful where you have to play Evie, for the most part you can just pick the one you wish and run around the city as her or him.)
You’re in Dickensian London which means that not only are you going to be running through and around factories using child labor, you’re going to be rubbing elbows with the greatest hits from the era: Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, Florence Nightengale… you know. The usual cast of characters who will have very little idea of the deep conspiracy and long war playing out between the Templars and Assassins right under their noses.
All that to say: it’s competent. If you like the genre, you’ll like this one. If you don’t, this one won’t change your mind about the genre.
Which brings me to how there won’t be a 2016 Assassin’s Creed: they seem to be trying to figure out what it is they want to be doing. Above and beyond the debacle that was Assassin’s Creed: Unity (buggy, sloppy, and worse than that, *DULL*), they want to make an Assassin’s Creed game that will change your mind about the genre… and they, apparently, have no idea how to do that. (On top of that, one the jokes I’ve seen is that they’re running out of places where you can reasonably expect to find random hay bales lying next to buildings.)
There are rumors that the next one, the 2017 one, will be in Egypt (though the Japan rumor seems to have been embraced by a small, dedicated group) and, they’re hoping, that they’ll come up with a piece of information that will help us recontextualize everything we’ve seen so far in the series.
And then, of course, buy the one coming out in 2018.
The big problem is that consistently competent games in a consistently competent tentpole francise will consistently kick the can down the road and always find an excuse to not wrap up the story and give us a Final Final Final Battle between the Assassins and the Templars and tie everything up in a neat bow. But maybe that’s the point. The battle has been going on forever, and so it will continue to do so. Until people stop buying it.
So… what are you playing?
(Picture is “Untitled” by our very own Will Truman. Used with permission)