6 Reasons Why Assassin’s Creed Syndicate Is Perfect for Everyone Who Hated Unity

3. London is Officially Douche-Free

What We Got Last Time:

The protagonist of Assassin’s Creed Unity, Arno Dorian, is a certified douchenozzle. It’s not something out of the ordinary: most of the heroes of the series start off this way, as their respective games are an adventure in redemption. There’s just nothing remotely likable about him, and when the game was said and done, I felt no more connection to him than I would to Pac-Man.

What We Wanted: 

Any character with some depth would have been a welcome improvement to Arno. After the debacle regarding gender in Assassin’s Creed Unity’s multiplayer, I figured that Ubisoft would have featured a female lead character as strong and diverse as Aveline, the protagonist of Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation.

What We Got: 

Now I know Ubisoft is spoiling me, because, instead of a character with depth or a strong female protagonist, we got TWO characters, both with depth, humor, and humanity. Jacob is witty and heroic, while his twin Evie is sweet, compassionate, and driven. While they each have a unique set of skills, both of them are incredibly effective in a fight, and you will not regret going into battle with either of them as your character.

Aside from their individual characters, the pair of them together are like a separate, third character. The banter between the two of them is both fun and insightful, and scenes involving the two of them are always entertaining. They’re like the Wonder Twins of the Assassin’s Creed universe, without that weird-ass monkey. Both are well-intentioned, another departure from previous games in the series, as they are not driven by riches like Edward or love like Arno, but by the need to free London from the Templar tyranny. Missions to free children from servitude are almost sweet in a way, as they reassure the children they save that they’ll come back for them after clearing the factory of enemies. Forget Ezio or Edward – the Frye twins are my new favorite Assassin’s Creed characters, and might just be some of my favorite characters in all of gaming.

2. More Control Than Janet Jackson

What We Got Last Time:

Never had I played a game with controls more maddening than Assassin’s Creed Unity. Climbing the smallest of buildings in France was typically enough to spark nerd rage and a desire to heave my controller. The controls were some of the worst I had experiences in 30+ years of gaming, and that includes playing on an Intellivision controller.

What We Wanted: 

Hell, I’m not picky, I just wanted a playable game!

What We Got: 

I have no problem saying that the controls in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate are not perfect. That being said, they are exponentially better than the controls of Unity. To compare, think of the controls for Syndicate as a Quarter Pounder With Cheese, and the controls for Unity as a large pile of rat shit. The Quarter Pounder certainly isn’t gourmet eating, but it sure beats the fecal matter.

In hindsight, the controls vary based on the activity. Climbing can still be occasionally frustrating, but it’s never inspired any real life violence in the hours I’ve played. The streets are significantly less crowded in London as opposed to Paris, so navigating them is simple, even by carriage. Combat in the series has long been trying to emulate the Arkham series, and this time it succeeded. Combos are counted, just like Arkham, can be both beautiful and deadly, and have more flow than 2 Chainz. Fights may seem easy at first, but the game quickly adapts and starts throwing more and more enemies your way, and unlike in most games, the Blighters (the malevolent gang in Syndicate) don’t believe in Queensbury Rules and will attack sometimes two and three at simultaneously. It’s chaotic fun at its best, making the combat of Syndicate the best in the series.

1. Smoother Than a Fresh Bottle of Starrick’s Soothing Syrup 

What We Got Last Time: 

When it launched, Assassin’s Creed Unity was a joke. As Alan Bradley would say, it had more bugs than a bait store, and it wasn’t long before videos of graphical and control glitches filled Youtube. Unity was the first game in years that actually crashed my console. It was a testament to quality control. In fact, the game was so bad at launch, that Ubisoft comped everyone with a free copy of the Dead Kings DLC (which I still haven’t downloaded), and gave free games to the poor bastards who sprung for the season pass. No video game launch in years has compared to the absolute failure that was Unity.

What We Wanted: 

Once again, I’m not picky, I just wanted a playable game!

What We Got:

Ubisoft, after wiping off the proverbial egg from their faces, went back to the school of “Less is More”. They took a chainsaw to the design of Unity, stripped away large chunks like multiplayer and the companion app, and went back to basics. The result is a game that is incredibly solid from start to finish. That’s not to say there aren’t bugs; as seen above, there are some minor graphic issues, stupid NPCs, and some bad camera angles can lead to frustration and an invisible protagonist in some buildings or confined spaces. Regardless, it’s nowhere near enough to ruin the game.

It feels like the effort normally reserved for multiplayer was redirected towards the single player campaign. A pair of patches I received in the week before the game launched exemplified Ubisoft’s commitment to Syndicate, and to not dropping the ball like Unity did.

Not only is it excellent from a technical standpoint, it was beautiful, incredibly entertaining, and told a compelling story from start to finish. It’s as close to a perfect game as I’ve played all year, and makes me want to go back and play Black Flag again, as well as give Unity another shot.

Previously by Jason Helton:

6 Reasons Why Assassin’s Creed Unity Has Cemented My Hatred of the Series

6 Ways Assassin’s Creed IV is Worth Your Booty

8 Doctor Who Spin-offs We’d Rather See Than the Announced Class