Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate Hands-On Preview [E3 2015]

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The first thing I noticed about Syndicate was how great it looked, but the lady who assisted me really wanted to make sure that I used its new zip line as soon as possible. To do this, I had to go near a building and look for a shoulder button prompt. Pressing said button then caused Jacob to shoot his zip line upwards and use it to get from the ground to its rooftop in the blink of an eye. It was visceral, to say the least, and I can’t help but look forward to using it in the final version of the game. There’s no doubt it’ll come in handy many times throughout its duration.

That said, verticality isn’t the only feature this zip line has going for it, but you probably guessed that. Or you’ve seen gameplay videos.

The second way in which one can use this new tool is by making a direct horizontal path between one point and another. It’s as simple a shooting at a nearby building, then using the resulting rope to get to it with speed, and it became one of my favourite things to do in this demo.

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As I said before, my goal was to take out ten different enemy soldiers, and that meant mixing stealth with a bit of bravado.

The first female guard actually saw me from her rooftop perch, but I was able to quickly silence her before using Eagle Vision (which is now mapped to a new button) to highlight the other targets. This didn’t just show me where my enemies were, though, as I was also greeted with highlighted fire sources that could be used to my advantage, as well as some sort of barrel bundle that would fall on enemies when shot.

After being embarrassed by how I was seen right from the get-go, I did my best to stealthily take out the remaining 9 foes and succeeded. Some were taken out the old-fashioned way, via a good stabbing from either hay or simply from behind, while another asshole succumbed to a poison cloud that I created by shooting a poisonous dart into a barrel filled with fire. It was neat to see, and I stared as he ran away in fear prior to falling incredibly ill and collapsing to the pavement.

Killing all of those bad guys was fun and all, but it certainly pissed off their leader, who decided to try to make a getaway in order to regroup for a later attack. She didn’t manage to do so, though, because I took advantage of another one of Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate‘s new abilities, that being buggy driving. You see, any carriage that you come across on the streets of London can be interacted with, driven or destroyed, and it’s pretty badass.

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Once my target ran into the street and hijacked a civilian’s horse and buggy, I quickly did the same and set about catching up to her. It wasn’t easy, though, because goons were always on my tail with carts of their own and I was faced with having to ram and destroy them in order to conserve health. I could’ve done other things, perhaps even jumped from my vehicle to theirs, but I found the controls to be a bit difficult when it came to that mechanic and avoided it after dying once. Ramming was fine, and it served my purpose just fine.

Overall, the driving was solid. It was frenetic, fun and fast-paced, albeit not perfect. Maybe I’m just being nit-picky, but I do hope that the development team will make it less cumbersome to jump from one cart to another as they’re moving.

Once I caught up with my enemies’ ruffian of a leader, she decided to go Gangs of New York on me and make me fight a line of her men in a gang war. It was pretty badass, too, because the combat in Syndicate is faster and more fluid than ever before. That’s in addition to being more visceral and noticeably more accessible.

Needless to say, I was quite impressed with my hands-on time with Ubisoft Quebec’s Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, a game that is shaping up to be the series’ best iteration thus far.

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