Assassins Creed Syndicate Articles RSS Feed | Assassins Creed Syndicate RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Learning with Assassin's Creed: Origins Wed, 25 Oct 2017 12:23:08 -0400 Sarah Elliman

With the upcoming release of Assassin’s Creed Origins on the horizon, an aspect of the game which is rarely discussed is the educational and cultural significance of the franchise. Undoubtedly, the last few installments of the series have leaned on these attributes less, yet there is hope that Origins may return to form while simultaneously injecting the series with a fresh attitude. Over the recent years, big titles such as The Last of Us prove that video games don’t have to be mindless and that it’s not about consistently killing waves and waves of faceless enemies. A good game should give us insight into the world and reflect the depths of human nature.

Firstly, let us start with Assassin’s Creed 2 and Brotherhood as well-rounded examples of a video game that nurtures a more intellectual environment. I have chosen these two specifically as they implemented a lot of new features to the series while refining other aspects from the first game. For example, the introduction of the codex was a marvelous innovation that was lacking in the first installment that further immerses the player into the world. The codex acting as snippets of information is wonderful for a brief overview of key events, buildings, etc and would have been a dream when learning about the Crusades in college--the perfect excuse to play video games all day.

Although it can be considered to offer a small and basic snippet of the history of the period, it nevertheless ignited a love for the Italian Renaissance that I never realized I possessed until playing Assassin’s Creed. Furthermore, Ubisoft were able to expertly weave the historical events in with the fictional narrative of the series that made the period of history seem exciting, which upon further investigating, is a wonderfully diverse era. The desire to learn more about the era came from the realism in the characters and the wonderfully romanticized image in my mind about Italy and its culture.

Leonardo Da Vinci is a perfect example of this, everybody knows the name and the genius behind the man, but to see him conveyed in a human form instead of the divine one written in history is what intrigued me to look into the polymath more. This is implemented exceedingly well in Brotherhood when he helps Ezio against Ceasare Borgia, it is believed by many historians that Da Vinci abhorred war and a lot of his war machines had intentional faults so that they could never be used. This is perfectly conveyed by the kind and gentle nature portrayed in Da Vinci within the series and lets you connect with the many possibilities of history in an easily consumable format. There is a more wholesome air to these installments in the series than has ever been portrayed in the later games. 

As discussed the series hasn’t always been able to capture the zeitgeist of whichever era it is trying to capture. This is perhaps due to the series’ inability to be able to adapt with the times and move forward in a way that fits with the changing attitudes and desires of gamers. Anyone who is close to the series and has been following it for a long time can probably remember the social controversy around Unity and its lack of playable female characters. Considering this was a game heavily leaning on cooperative play within the main campaign, there was no diversity in terms of character design. What made the situation worse was Ubisoft’s statements about the fiasco:

Assassin’s Creed Unity is focused on the story of the lead character, Arno. Whether playing by yourself or with the co-op shared experiences, you the gamer will always be playing Arno, complete with his broad range of gear and skill sets that will make you feel unique. With regard to diversity in our playable Assassins, we’ve featured Aveline, Connor, Adewale and Altair in the Assassin’s Creed games and we continue to look at showcasing diverse characters. We look forward to introducing you to some of the strong female characters in Assassin’s Creed Unity."

However, this statement was not satisfactory to a lot of fans of the series, considering that one of Ubisoft’s own spokespeople stated that putting in female characters would have taken double the amount of time. But why is this important? When you consider the four examples given in the statement above, where two of the four were simply spin offs and not part of the main series, it highlights a massive problem. A lot of people may say that it is simply for historical accuracy, however it is important to remember that the soul of the game is the combination of the historical element, but also the overarching story of the Assassins.

Any art or entertainment reflects the world we live in, and if people don’t see themselves represented it takes away from the immersion and perhaps desire to learn about the events in the games. The game doesn’t need to be one hundred percent accurate as it has its own narrative to carry it forward. In addition, if people cared about the accuracy of the game then they would be up in arms about the portrayal of the French Revolution. Then further down the line at how Syndicate deals with the horrors of the Industrial Revolution, it is clear from these examples that Ubisoft lost what made it special with these two installments.

Unity, to start with takes place in the period of the French Revolution, not the one popularised by Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. If someone was truly concerned with historical accuracy or at least a lasting impression of the era, then characters such as Napoleon wouldn’t simply be thrown in to make anyone with a basic knowledge of world events jump for joy. In the words of Eric Hobsbawm, a British historian, Napoleon was:

“ a general he had no equal; as a ruler he was a superbly efficient planner...” Eric Hobsbawm (The Age of Revolution)

Napoleon was undeniably a figurehead of the later part of the revolution which lead to astronomical political change within Europe, but his portrayal in Unity doesn’t even scratch the surface of that depth. Unlike Leonardo, there is no deeper understanding of the character and their personality. By sidelining important figures they lost that connection of history and narrative that worked so well previously. This is further evidenced by the treatment of Marx in Syndicate: he appears only for a couple of side quests so you gain no substantial information about such a key figure within this time period. Assassin’s Creed lost its charisma and liveliness by benching the history and losing a key element of what made the series interesting.

The break in the regular yearly installments to the franchise appear to have injected a sense of vitality and reawakening in the series. Although there are only short snippets of game-play, they appear to have moved forward with the times and observed what gamers have been longing for. The Witcher has had a massive influence over the industry in recent years due to its overwhelming success that took what was considered a cult game to world-wide acclaim. Many games are now implementing the open world aspect and creating quests that feel like they contribute to the wider story arch. Assassin’s Creed Origins appears to be no exception, with a map that opens up more as you explore, which should hopefully convey the expansive history and culture of Ancient Egypt. Combine this with the fantastic graphics and expansive environments we have seen within the trailers and snippets of gameplay, and we could be witnessing a revitalization of this classic series. With being able to:

“...uncover lost tombs, explore the pyramids, and discover the secrets of mummies, the gods and the last pharaohs,”

this could mean that Assassin’s Creed fans get an immersive experience comparative to the second installment. By adding diversity into the world, the reflection of Ancient Egypt will hopefully run smoothly with the tale of the Assassins and the cultural vibe of the time.

Perhaps, then, Assassin’s Creed is moving back in the direction that made it so popular in the first place: the intriguing take on historical events without losing the intricate details. The Crusades and the Italian Renaissance were very prominent time periods within European history, and the game captured this essence in a fantastic way. It fanned the flames of interest in history and made it more accessible to people. It is a popularized version of history, but a realistic and human version, too. It would be wonderful if Ubisoft could create a history of Ancient Egypt within their game that doesn’t feel commandeered by Western media. The decision to add the guided tours has given me hope that Assassin’s Creed is trying to retain the magic it started with.

“Discovery Tour is clearly focused on education and on bringing people actual facts, more academic knowledge,”

- Jean Guesdon (Creative Director AC: Origins)

Hopefully we are seeing not only a revitalization of the historical aspect but a more in depth one as well. The choice for Bayek as a main character keeps the hope alive. With fingers, crossed we await the release of Origins on the 27th of October, praying that it is a return to the series that has long been anticipated.

How do you feel about Assassin's Creed? Do you think Origins can redeem the series? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.

“Your Possible Pasts”: A Fan’s Retrospective on the Assassin’s Creed Series Fri, 06 Jan 2017 07:00:02 -0500 Neal Cox

Before we begin: I want you, the reader, to know that this article will spoil all of the games in the Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection package (Assassin’s Creed II, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Assassin’s Creed Revelations), as well as various other games in the series (Assassin’s Creed, Assassin’s Creed III, etc...).  If you are interested in these games, The Ezio Collection is the perfect way to jump into the series, and you should pick it up now (or when most convenient). Now, back to the Article.

What’s worse: Waiting a long time for a cliffhanger ending to be paid off, or knowing that the payoff will suck?

This was a problem I was confronted with when playing Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection recently. This may sound like I don’t like the games, but I do. In fact, I would say that, like the title hints, I am a fan. I have beaten The Ezio Collection (II, Brotherhood and Revelations) thoroughly before, I have beaten Assassin’s Creed III, and I have played the other mainline entries within the series (Assassin's Creed, Black Flag, Unity and Syndicate), but I haven’t beaten them due to some problems that I will be discussing in this article. I have read the wiki, the codex pages, the in-game library, the whole nine yards. I love these games,  but after re-playing Assassin’s Creed II, I have to admit that they don’t make them like they used to.

PART I: Assassin’s Creed II

Assassin’s Creed II has aged okay. I mean this with love and caring, but its controls were always a mess. They hit the highest highs, making you feel like you are soaring across Italian Cityscapes like a renaissance Flash, and the lowest lows, sometimes giving you the impression that you are driving a car that has four flat tires and a wrench instead of a steering wheel. The “Back Eject” move has given me more grief than I’d care to admit, especially in the challenging “Assassin’s Tomb” missions. But when it worked, especially in the late game, it was a great feeling that has rarely been matched today. The Graphics leave something to be desired, but it’s a Ubisoft Game from 2009; what can you do?

What really makes this game though, is the story. Unlike the other entries in this collection, Assassin’s Creed II was more obviously planned ahead of time. It had a solid base to build off of with the original Assassin’s Creed, and with the proper feedback, development team and setting, the series was transformed into a critical and commercial success. This improvement, this confidence, was present throughout the game.

The story, following main Character Ezio Auditore Da Firenze on his path of revenge throughout Renaissance Italy, had a good mix of freedom and linearity that made the story feel epic, yet focused. It also used various in game items and quests, such as the “Glyph” puzzles and collectible “Codex” pages to help inform the player about the world outside of the game. The only thing that this game failed at, story wise, was fleshing out the modern day characters. But that is a gripe for another section.

The eponymous Ezio is not only a good character for games as a whole, but he is easily the best character in the series, period. He had range (angry, sad, romantic, funny), he had depth, and, most importantly, he had an arch. Not to skip ahead too much, but this is something that many characters in later entries lack. Ezio was not a wise-crackin’ Master Assassin at the beginning of the game. He was an angry and afraid kid, doing his best with the tools he had to avenge his brothers and father. At the end, however, he was no longer angry or afraid.

He was tired, but happy. He had done his job. He had killed the men responsible (minus Rodrigo Borgia, who he should’ve killed, but didn’t due to historical reasons), and now he was at peace.

While Assassin’s Creed II’s ending did leave a few confusing plot holes -- how will Ezio get out of that Vault under the Vatican? Why did he let the most powerful Templar in Europe, Rodrigo Borgia, live? What is the deal with these alien guys? -- it gave us enough to not need another Ezio story. To quote Minerva, the hologram of a long-dead alien who resides in the Vault, when she is speaking to Ezio at the end: “You’ve played your part.” It was time for a new character, a new setting, and a new struggle for our characters in the modern day.

PART II: Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

Oh, we’re playing as Ezio again. I can’t say that I am too disappointed by this continuation. Actually, I would say that Brotherhood is my favorite game of the three. I am also a self-avowed member of the Ezio Fan Club, so it was nice to see him again at the height of his power. But, there are some problems with this game, and it starts with this: All of his stuff will arbitrarily be taken away from him again.

This is to be expected in sequels, but that doesn’t make it right. And on top of that, it also symbolizes another problem with this game: This didn’t have to happen. The game didn’t have to take away all of your stuff, but it did. It didn’t have to exist, but it does. Why?


Money. Plain and Simple. I may love this game, but if the entries after Assassin’s Creed II was decided purely by artistic merit, that entry would have been Assassin’s Creed III. No, not the real one. Another one that chose a different time period (16th century Japan), a different character (A ninja, or samurai, or something cool) and was, you know, Good. Ubisoft had seen that their gamble had paid off, and now it was time to play it safe and make some more money. They had their character and setting, now all they needed was a story and a new engine to put it all together. This may sound like I am hating on them for doing this, and I do hate them somewhat, but you have to make money in the games industry. Why throw out a popular character and setting for “artistic merit”? Artistic merit doesn’t always bring home the big bucks.

Again, it’s not like these games are all bad. Actually, as I have been saying over and over again, they are pretty good. While Ezio’s a little more static this time around, he still has the same charm and charisma that makes him, well, him. Rome was fully-realized, fun to explore and full of secrets. Constantinople was also beautiful and fun to explore, but, like Revelations as a whole, wasn’t as fun as its predecessor.

The real saving grace of these entries, the things that made them all worth it, were the modern day segments. Most people don’t like them (they actually hate them with a passion), but that’s what I liked so much about the older games. These two entries gave the other main characters (Desmond, Lucy, Rebecca, and Shaun) more personality, more life. They also expanded on infamous and unseen Subject 16, AKA Clay Kaczmarek. He is ghost and predecessor that haunts you throughout the first three games, first with his blood and then with memories that he hidden within the Animus, before finally confronting Desmond in person. While the character developments for Desmond, Lucy, Shaun and Rebecca weren’t paid off in the next entry of the series, Clay’s story was. Revelations was his last game, and I thought that they handled him and his story well. Not great, but well. It's better than what the others got.

In the End, Brotherhood and Revelations were the last two games in the “original” sequence (AC I - AC III) that were any good. They had their faults, and I do blame them for taking up all of the good writing and characterization from the rest of the franchise, but they were worth it. They are games worth playing.

PART III: Where it all went wrong

Well, we’ve finally arrived to the bad years of the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Revelations to many was thought of as the weak link, the one that would be remembered for its holding-pattern story and terrible tower-defense game. Then Assassin’s Creed III came out.

This failure hit me especially hard. I was really amped for this game before it released. I had the collector’s edition, I waited in line at PAX East to see a live demo of it, and even though I was worried about the creative licence that the game was taking with the Battle of Bunker Hill (they turned the battle from one right outside of Boston to one in the middle of some primordial jungle-forest), I was convinced that things would work out in the end. A little creativity never hurt anybody.

Well, that is true, and it is the lack of creativity that hurt Assassin’s Creed III. Connor was not a proper follow-up to Ezio. They thought that a lack of emotions would make him cool, like the Man with No Name or some other emotionless hero. Instead it made him annoying and, worse still, boring. He didn’t change. He started angry, and he ended angry.

New England, the place I love and call home, was not a proper follow up to Renaissance Italy. While it was fun to traverse and fight in, it was samesy and overall the game suffered for it.

The game-play changed, going full action-game on everyone. It made it fun to play, but at the cost of what made Assassin’s Creed... well Assassin’s Creed. Brotherhood and Revelations also, in my opinion, strayed too far into action territory, but Assassin's Creed III finally took us into full-on God-Warrior territory. Assassin’s Creed, the first one, was a stealthy game with hit-and-run action. I like fighting my way out of failed stealth situations (something that happens to me often), but now Assassin’s Creed had gone too far. Through a long and barely noticeable process, the series had become something entirely different. Something generic.  

The worst thing about this game, however, is its treatment of Desmond and the gang. By Revelations, Lucy was dead (and revealed to be a Templar Double Agent), Desmond’s dad had joined them and they were all ready to stop this world ending event once and for all. The stakes couldn’t be any higher. Naturally, all they did in the game was stay in a cave until another alien ghost guilts Desmond into dying so he can “save the world.” It sounds heroic, but when you see it play out with Desmond grabbing these two Pillars that essentially electrocute him, it feels anti-climatic. Like the writer of this game also hated Desmond, and wanted to give all of those in the “We Hate Desmond” Camp a real big victory.

There were some out of cave diversions, but they were just that: diversions. We got to see the modern world, and see Desmond in action, but never in full. Desmond came close at the end of the game, with him finally being able to kill people -- even though he’s had a hidden blade since AC II -- but he never truly turned into the Master Assassin that the series had promised us. To drive this home, the two reasons that the history segments exist, story-wise, is to:

  1. Find ancient artifacts called Pieces of Eden.
  2. Train Desmond so he can be an assassin (after AC1 at least)

But now the fans got what they wanted: A dead Desmond and a future for their beloved franchise.

And ever since, the series has been in a holding pattern. People like Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. They also like the Sailing Sections in Assassin’s Creed III. I liked neither of those things. Nobody really likes Assassin’s Creed: Unity, and for good reason. It’s bland, it makes the Assassins bland and its main character, Arno, like Connor before, is also bland. Paris was nice, and the game looked good (when it worked), but that wasn't enough to save it from itself. What’s worse still is that it took place during The Reign of Terror, one of the most interesting time periods in human history.

I did not play Assassin’s Creed: Liberation or Assassin’s Creed: Rogue. I would like to play Rogue, its story intrigues me, but I don’t have much hope for it. I did play a substantial amount of Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, and I found some of its characters initially interesting. Jacob and Evie Frye make for a good double act, but, as I brought up earlier, they both stay the same for way too long. Never are they unsure of themselves, never do they change or grow as people.

To be honest with you, I lost interest in the game halfway through. Maybe they do change and become entirely different people at the end. But Ezio -- my main man -- had already changed substantially, both age-wise and maturity-wise, by the midpoint of Assassin’s Creed II. They may be funny (at least Jacob is), but they aren’t dynamic. And that’s where they fail.

Back in September of 2016, Ubisoft was in danger of being bought out by French Media Company Vivendi (and they still are). Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoft, spoke to several news outlets, discussing the state of the company during these hard times. Guillemot was concerned that a potential merger with Vivendi would hurt Ubisoft's "creativity, agility, and risk-taking" which was  "intrinsic to our industry." However, I think they lost those things around Assassin’s Creed II. Sure, Rainbow Six: Siege is fun, so is Steep (to an extent), but what have they really done that’s knocked people’s socks off since Assassin’s Creed II? Far Cry 3 was daring on the narrative side, but game-play wise it was the blueprint for all of Ubisoft's other open world games. More Call of Duty than the daring and brutal Far Cry 2.

Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoft

I hope Assassin’s Creed finds its way again soon. The gameplay in the last few games has improved, probably to the best it's ever been, but a steep price has been paid. I miss that crazy Ancient Alien/Conspiracy/2012-inspired story that was both a "risk-taker" and "creative." I miss Rebecca and Shaun actually being important characters to the story, rather than being some C-3PO/R2-D2-esque side characters that appear in every game because they have to. I miss the Assassins being good, and the Templars being bad.  The whole “we’re actually the good guys” thing the Templars tried pulling in AC III didn’t work, not because it wasn’t interesting, but because, to use Revelations as an example, the Templars will literally throw their henchman off of a carriage and to their deaths if they don’t ride fast enough.

If Ubisoft wants to make a million games set solely in the past, fine. I get that I am the only person who liked Desmond and the modern day stuff. Just give me one thing in return: more characters like Ezio Auditore. Not just one character, but several that grow and change throughout their games. Ones that have emotions, strengths and weaknesses. I would trade all of the conspiracy-laden modern day stuff for one more game with a main character like that.

Amazon locks certain games as exclusively available for Prime members Fri, 22 Apr 2016 03:49:48 -0400 Scott Simpson

It seems Amazon has quietly introduced several games to their list of Amazon Prime-Exclusive items, with GTA V, FIFA 16, Assassin's Creed Syndicate, Minecraft and Far Cry Primal all currently marked as "exclusively for Prime members", among others.

It's unknown how many more titles are affected by the change; however, the games are still available to purchase through third-party sellers on the site.

It's something of a bizarre move for the company, who are clearly trying to incentivize customers to fork out cash for their paid service. Membership requires an annual subscription fee of $99, or £79 per year for UK customers, and gives members access to free next day delivery and their Amazon Instant Video service, amongst other features.

One can't help but wonder, though, if the change might have the opposite effect, with customers simply going to other retailers or buying from third-party sellers instead. It also begs the far will Amazon go with its "exclusive" merchandise?

Other games currently affected by the decision include: Dishonored: Definitive Edition, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, Elder Scrolls Online, Battlefield Hardline, Rainbow Six Siege and, somewhat bizarrely, Farming Simulator 15. Strangely, Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes also seems to be included, but not Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

What are your thoughts on the move? Would you consider paying for Amazon Prime in light of this? Or do you think Amazon have just shot themselves in the foot? For those who are already Prime members, how do you feel about the change? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Assassin's Creed Ideas: Modern Tue, 23 Feb 2016 22:50:33 -0500 BlackTideTV

Welcome back to Assassin's Creed Ideas, where we look at possible settings for the next Assassin's Creed game each and every Tuesday -- there are a lot of possibilities after all...

If you missed any of our previous entries, you can catch up with the following links:

Before we talk about a possible modern setting in Assassin's Creed's future, we need to talk about the modern setting that we've already seen in the series. Part of the AC games usually takes place in a modern world with a  character using a special machine - an Animus - to relive ancestors' memories through DNA. If you're new to the series or only started playing since "next-gen" consoles came out, you probably haven't experienced a lot of this, as the games have been slowly waning out of their original plot.

Desmond Miles

Desmond Miles Assassin's Creed Trilogy

In what I like to refer to as "the original trilogy" (Assassin's Creed 1-3 including Brotherhood and Revelations as Assassin's Creed 2.1 and 2.2) Desmond was the main character and pushed the rather confusing story forward in both modern and historical times. Let's take a look at this guy's backstory, how he changed Assassin's Creed, and why he isn't in the games anymore.

Originally part of the modern-day Assassin's Order, Desmond decided to "pursue his own dreams" and ran away to become a bartender (it's as ridiculous as it sounds). In September of 2012, a Templar organization known as Abstergo Industries kidnapped and forced Desmond to relive his ancestors' memories through the use of the Animus so that the Templars could find "Pieces of Eden," extremely powerful weapons/artifacts. Here marks the beginning of the original Assassin's Creed game. 

After some time, Desmond breaks out with the help of an undercover Assassin. He then joins forces with her Italian-based Assassin cell and begins to train his abilities with the help of a new Animus in Assassin's Creed II.

Ezio Auditore di Firenze Assassin's Creed II

------------ WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! ------------

Cut to Assassin's Creed III and Desmond has become a fully fledged Assassin; players even get to bring him on a few missions throughout the game. He has learned of an impending doomsday (December 21st, 2012... no, really) and enters a special temple where an ancient device capable of preventing this disaster is held. Using yet another Animus, Desmond relives a different ancestor's memories and finds the key to unlock the artifact.

When he goes to retrieve the device, Desmond is confronted by two goddesses (real talk: the original AC games were all over the place). He has the option to save the world now, releasing the goddess Juno's power on it (killing everyone in the long run) or not save the world, get preserved and essentially become a god himself. Being the great hero that he is, he opted for death by releasing the Juno, stating that the remaining Assassins will deal with her. Thus ends Desmond's story. 

Other Modern Gameplay

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag Abstergo Entertainment Desk

Apart from Desmond, the only modern day gameplay we've had access to is as an unnamed Abstergo Entertainment employee capturing footage from Edward Kenway's memories in Black Flag, and as a gamer playing through the memories of Arno and the Frye twins in Unity and Syndicate.

But is that truly it? Some die-hard fans believe that we've already had a modern day Assassin's Creed in the form of Watch_Dogs. Check out this YouTube video on the subject as it can provide a better description of the supposed Ubisoft shared universe than I can:

The Time has come for a Modern Assassin's Game

Whether you prescribe to the shared universe conspiracy or not, it is far past time we got a modern day Assassin's Creed. With Desmond's dying breath, he asked the remaining Assassins to fight off this where are they all? We know a couple of them are running around trying to find more Pieces of Eden, but the Assassin's Order is supposed to be this huge thing - so I ask again, where is everyone?

Sure the battle between Templar and Assassin is one that takes place in the shadows of the world and everything they do or say is kept hidden from the public eye, but the shadows are where these two forces live.

Let us take control of a modern day Assassin and send us into Abstergo to take out some high value targets and disrupt the Templars' plans! Give us access to some crazy powerful black ops Assassin team armed to the teeth with weaponry and let us go wild! 

CIA Black Ops Lego Minifigure Team

Critics claim year after year that the Assassin's Creed franchise is getting tired, but that doesn't need to be the case. With a modern setting, anything could be possible. 

That's it for today's Assassin's Creed Ideas article. If you enjoyed, agreed with anything you read, found something wrong, have any input, or an idea for a future article, let me know in the comments section!

Don't forget to read up on the last three articles: Assassin's Creed Ideas: Ancient EgyptAssassin's Creed Ideas: World War One, and Assassin's Creed Ideas: 1920s America. For all of the hottest Assassin's Creed Ideas articles, follow the ACI landing page .

For the best of Fallout 4, Assassin's Creed, and Guitar Hero Live news, guides, and opinion pieces be sure to follow BlackTideTV on GameSkinny! To stay up to date, head over to my Twitter page @BlackTideTV.

Assassin's Creed Ideas: 1920s America Tue, 16 Feb 2016 12:51:29 -0500 BlackTideTV

Welcome back to Assassin's Creed Ideas, a weekly column where - every Tuesday - we look at a new historical setting that would make for a great Assassin's Creed game! There have been two previous installments in the series and I'm sure you'd enjoy them, so check them out by clicking the links below:

This week we've got a shorter article based on a little idea in the latter of the two articles above. In Assassin's Creed Ideas: World War One, I brought up a quick thought that a 1900s based Creed game could set the stage for a new miniseries in the franchise, much like Assassin's Creed II, Brotherhood, and Revelations.

America in the early 1900s

Returning from the First World War, American society evolved into an era known as "The Roaring Twenties," which in-turn released "The Great Depression" of the 1930s, lasting until the onset of World War Two, and the rest is history (haha).

Al Capone Roaring Twenties 1920s Gangster

Today we're talking about the lavish lifestyle of so-called "gangsters" in 1920s America.

Al Capone, Johnny Torrio, Charles "Lucky" Luciano, Meyer Lansky, you may recognize many of these notorious gangsters, bootleggers, and gamblers as fan-favorite characters off of HBO's hit TV show Boardwalk Empire, but the truth of the matter is that they were all very real people, who committed very real crimes. 

Before the creation of the National Crime Syndicate (Syndicate... I'm on a roll today) in 1929, many gangsters in 1920s America held continuous battles from city to city over territory, as well as the importation and transportation of every American's favorite banned liquid: alcohol. Prohibition hit the country hard, effectively making gangsters' lives great... except for the competition part.

How does Assassin's Creed fit in?

We're constantly reminded of how the Assassin's order are the good guys in the Assassin's Creed series, but let's get real: they're ASSASSINS. They kill people. This is the definition of an assassin, provided by good ol' Google:

Assassin Definition courtesy of Google

A game set in the twenties having the Assassin order get down and dirty with organized crime could bring reality back into the series. Finally, players would see the truth behind what they've been doing in the games all this time: murdering people. There's no better setting to make the morality of the series seem abundantly clear.

I bet you'll never guess how many people involved in major crime agencies were assassinated in the 1920s. Who better to do that assassinating than the Templars and Assassins, hidden amongst the feuding gangs of east coast U.S.A. or Chicago? Using bootlegging, gambling, and battles over territory as a front, the two lifelong enemies could go at it in "secret," the media's attention on specific faces of organized crime like Al Capone instead. 

1920s Gangsters

An Assassin's Creed game with this base idea could be ridiculously elaborate and incredibly intriguing, allowing players to meet all of the infamous gangsters previously mentioned and more. Sprinkle in a backstory of bootlegging and the re-legalization of alcohol, have multiple cities available for exploration (Chicago, Atlantic City, New York), include many a reference to HBO's Boardwalk Empire (mainly because it's awesome), and give players the side option to create and manage an NPC gang fighting for territorial control in the U.S. and you've got yourself a damn fine game. 

So, what's up Ubisoft? Working on this yet? 

That's it for today's Assassin's Creed Ideas article. If you enjoyed, agreed with anything you read, found something wrong, have any input, or an idea for a future article, let me know in the comments section!

Don't forget to read up on the last two articles: Assassin's Creed Ideas: Ancient Egypt and Assassin's Creed Ideas: World War One. For all of the hottest Assassin's Creed Ideas articles follow the tag on the ACI Homepage.

For the best of Fallout 4, Assassin's Creed, and Guitar Hero Live news, guides, and opinion pieces be sure to follow BlackTideTV on GameSkinny! To stay up to date, head over to his Twitter page @BlackTideTV.

Writers Guild announces their game nominations of 2015 Tue, 12 Jan 2016 05:44:50 -0500 Chan Moore

Today the Writers Guild of America announced the nominees for their annual Outstanding Achievement in Videogame Writing Award. The winner will be crowned during the 2016 Writers Guild Awards taking place in New York and Los Angeles on February 13th.

As someone learning to improve, diversify, and challenge myself as a writer daily, I found this subject of interests. The people who write these stories paint vivid pictures of characters that come to life and force us to either love or hate them. Either way, we find them interesting and want to know what happens at the end of the adventure.

Without further ado, here are the nominees:

Assassin's Creed Syndicate

  • Story by Marc-Alexis Cote, Hugo Giard, Corey May, Jeffrey Yohalem
  • Narrative Director - Corey May
  • Lead Writer - Jeffrey Yohalem
  • Assistant Narrative Director - Melissa MacCoubrey
  • Scriptwriters - Russell Lees, Mark Llabres Hill, James Nadiger, Jared Schincariol, Travis Stout, Ceri Young
  • Additional Writing - Judith Flanders, C.J. Kershner, Gabrielle Shrager, Danny Wallace
  • Additional Senior Writer - Paul Monk
  • Ubisoft

Pillars of Eternity

  • Lead Writer - Eric Fenstermaker
  • Writers - Carrie Patel, Olivia Veras
  • Additional Writing - Chris Avellone, Jeff Hughes, Matt MacLean, Jorge Salgado, Josh Sawyer, George Ziets
  • Obsidian Entertainment

Rise of the Tomb Raider

  • Lead Narrative Designer - John Stafford
  • Narrative Designer - Cameron Suey
  • Lead Writer - Rhianna Pratchett
  • Additional Writer - Philip Gelatt
  • Microsoft

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

  • Lead Writer - Marcin Blacha
  • Lead English Writer - Borys Pugacz-Muraszkiewicz
  • Writers - Arkadiusz Borowik, Aleksandra Motyka, Bartosz Ochman, Karolina Stachyra, Jakub Szamalek
  • Additional Writers - Marcin Batylda, Michal Galek, Tomasz Marchewka, Robert Oglodzinski, Rafal Praszalek, Artur Sliwinski, Stanislaw Swiecicki, Pawel Zych
  • Story - Marcin Blacha, Jakub Szamalek
  • CD Projekt

Best of luck to all of the writers nominated for this award! Now tell us who would you vote for?

Assassin's Creed: Syndicate Jack The Ripper DLC Review (PS4) Thu, 14 Jan 2016 04:40:22 -0500 Zack Thompson

It's been a busy week for my PS4 and Assassin's Creed disc. I've loved this series for a long time, and I've eaten up every piece of DLC that Ubisoft has pumped out. But even I can admit that Assassin's Creed has a hit-or-miss history with its DLC. So will "Jack The Ripper" measure up to "The Tyranny of King Washington"? Or fall flat on its face like "Dead Kings"?

Taking a stab at a legend

As predictable as I knew it would be when they announced that Syndicate would be taking place in Victorian London, I knew they would have some kind of Jack The Ripper Story. So it was no surprise that Ubisoft has selected the infamous serial killer as the star of Assassin's Creed: Syndicate's first major expansion pack. The romanticized murderer was portrayed as a kind of low-rent Scarecrow, complete with growly lower-class accent and sack mask. The DLC also included four or five Hours of all-new story missions, which bring Evie Frye back to London some 20 years after the events of the main game.

Having spent some time living in India, the hooded heroine really establishes her place with the great Assassin's Creed protagonists in this add-on -- she's a middle-aged woman with all of the wrinkles and imperfections to prove it, yet she struts about the blood-strewn streets of London like a total badass. It's really cool to see such a unique character front a major franchise, especially seeing as Ubisoft told us 18 months go that it couldn't animate women.

Introduction of Fear

Frye has learned a few new tricks during her time overseas, the most notable of which is the ability to strike fear into her foes. Ubisoft typically uses these kinds of expansions as a means of experimenting with new mechanics, and here's it's devised a really interesting and innovative system that enables you to frighten your targets using bombs and spikes. It's quite a neat idea, because it gives you yet another opportunity to drag guards out of position without necessarily killing them.

You'll spend most of your time simply tossing bombs into crowds in order to cause a little upset, and then spiking one of your enemies to the ground so everyone who's watching retreats. There is even a enemy class that's immune to the intimidation factors and will attempt to calm down their allies, adding more strategy to fights. 

More of the Same

The missions are really rather good, and the very best objectives are in the main campaign. One whisks you away to a boat graveyard, while others involve doing a bit of detective work (my favorite), with puzzles incorporated to keep you on your toes. There's also a bit of a graphic novel feel to things: text appears in the environment to help you with your investigations, while subliminal messages appear on-screen when you actually get to control the notorious hooker hater.

Jack the Ripper, who is playable, operates a lot like Jacob and Evie, but he's built to intimidate and butcher his prey. He has access to the same fear bombs as Evie, but he can also unleash a terrifying scream, which allows you to frighten your foes with much less hassle. Both characters also have the ability to brutalize their victims, which requires you to tap the square button. This also, of course, increases the terror level of nervous onlookers.


Aside from Playing Jack and the new fear mechanic, the story is the weakest part of the DLC. The reveal of Jack isn't anything special because it's so predictable. I've always thought that if I can think of better story elements for a game, then the developer has failed on that front and gets marks against the game. The Ripper DLC offers nothing new, but smartly keeps the best elements from the main game, such as the ability to carry out assassinations as you see fit. Side missions are mostly more of the same, though one new type has you shaming sexist perverts who are beating prostitutes by dragging them through crowds.

Though it is better then some previous entries into the Assassin's Creed DLC library, and adds interesting mechanics I'd love to see refined and included in future AC titles, the weak and predictable story really holds this piece of content down. And there are, of course, the ever-present bugs and glitches that seem to have doubled in number since the main game.

Zack's Verdict: Buy when it's on sale


No Assassin's Creed in 2016? Good. Sun, 10 Jan 2016 09:15:36 -0500 Nick Harshman

This past week, Kotaku posted a story claiming they heard rumors that the next main entry in the Assassin's Creed franchise will not only be set in Egypt, but will also be released in 2017 instead of 2016. In other words, Ubisoft has decided to give the series a much needed rest. I for one cannot help but feel thankful that they have chosen to let the franchise catch it's breath.

Should this rumor be true, this will be the first year since 2009 that fans will not receive a main entry in the Assassin vs. Templar franchise. Of course fans can still look forward to Assassin's Creed Chronicles: India and Russia, which are due out January 12 and February 9 respectively, but those games serve more as spinoffs than entries in the main franchise.

Don't get the wrong idea, I enjoy Assassin's Creed quite a bit. Unfortunately, I also feel that since the decision to annualize the series, its quality has taken a dive year after year. This culminated in the debacle that was the Assassin's Creed Unity release: littered with bugs, a lackluster ending to say the least, and a love story that at times felt shoehorned in. 

Fast forward to Syndicate's release in 2015 and you'll find the game feels much the same as its predecessor - minus the bugs - and arrived with a resounding thud. Much of the gameplay is similar, combat is tedious, and the recycled combat animations are disappointing. This iteration could be considered the very definition of playing it safe. Designers eliminated the bugs, nixed the multiplayer and focused on a single player experience in Victorian London, one of the most popular time periods in fiction. As they continue to pump out new sequels every year, Ubisoft can't make the drastic changes the series so desperately needs.

If Ubisoft does take 2016 off, what changes should we expect in 2017's Assassin's Creed? First and foremost, the developers face a hard decision: do they continue to incorporate the present day storyline? If so, they need to expand upon it and move the story forward - as it is now the plot has plateaued. It almost seems as if they had no plan for after Assassin's Creed III and have been winging it since then. Taking a break will allow them to flesh out the plot for future games. 

Ubisoft also needs to completely overhaul the combat system. The foundation is there for Batman Arkham style combat, but the clunkiness and poor enemy AI prevent the current system from coming into its own. Combat akin to Shadow of Mordor would be ideal for the Assassin's Creed franchise as it allows for the free flowing combat style the developers could be looking for. 

Fixing the minor problems that have been plaguing the series for years resolves some of the fans' remaining complaints. Issues such as sticky jumping and inconsistent character movement, NPC characters lacking personality, and creating a realistic environment are just a few of the possible improvements Ubisoft should focus on.

Assassin's Creed is not a bad series and I would go out of my way to recommend it to others, but it continues to test my patience. Ubisoft would be well served taking a year and getting their head on straight. Here's hoping 2017's Assassin's Creed is the redemption the series needs. Who knows, maybe we'll even get a game set in Feudal Japan.

Joseph Ocasio's favorite games of 2015 Part 1 Wed, 13 Jan 2016 15:50:23 -0500 Joseph Ocasio


So, what are the remaining 5 best games of 2015? Find out at the end of the week to see who made the cut. We'll be seeing Bats, Aliens, and Super Mutants (oh my) in part 2, so stay tuned to see what made the cut. That's all for now.


6. Assassin's Creed: Syndicate


After the disastrous launch of Assassin's Creed: Unity, many look at Syndicate with cynicism. It's easy to understand why, but I was still won over. With an improved story, two likable leads, and the addition of the grapple hook, Syndicate was able pull me back into the war between the Assassins and the Templars with one of the best installments of this now 8-year-old franchise. Hopefully, this trend will continue, and the next game (rumored to be skipping this year) will continue to grow and reclaim its mantle as the definitive open-world series.


7. Rise of the Tomb Raider


The 2013 reboot of Tomb Raider was a solid title -- even if somewhat lacking. The story was average, its characters throwaways, and it tired too hard to emulate the success of the Uncharted series. Rise of the Tomb Raider manages to fix most of its predecessor's problems, with an improved story, more varied locations, and new crafting mechanics. It mixes them with the same fantastic combat and set pieces that the reboot had.


While it still feels like it's playing catch up with Sony's action franchise, Rise of the Tomb Raider manages to surprise and overcome its shortcomings to prove that it's a force to be reckoned with. It's a shame PS4 and PC owners have to wait until later this year to play it.


8. Forza Motorsport 6


When I first got my Xbox One, I never had any interest in racing simulators. Playing only arcade racers like Mario Kart, Need for Speed, or Split/Second, I never had the time or patience to really get the hang of them. After receiving an Xbox One for Christmas, I decided to give racing sims another shot with Forza Motorsport 6...and fell in love immediately.


Everything just started to click with me. The game is incredibly accessible, letting you take off the training wheels at your own pace. It also features the most varied and detailed selection of cars, tracks, and upgrades I've seen in any racing game. And it easily has the best car handling in game. 


Add the Drivatar AI that learns from your races, plus the ability to increase the difficulty and aggression of your opponents, and you will have a fair challenge. It's one of the most fun experiences I've had with a racing game, and worth picking up if you have an Xbox One.


9. Splatoon


While Nintendo has a habit of relying on old standby franchises, the big N surprised the world with Splatoon. This original online shooter had simple, yet addictive gameplay. Shooting ink all over well-designed maps made for some of the most fun to be had online this year. And it's only been getting better as the months go on, with free DLC maps, weapons, updates and so much more.


Now if only I didn't have to buy those darn amiibo figures to get some cool samurai outfits.


10. Dying Light


While zombie games aren't a new thing, Dying Light was able to remain fresh and unique. It borrowed elements from games like Assassin's Creed and Mirror's Edge, but did that so well that the lack of originality didn't hinder the overall experience. From its surprisingly well told story and characters, to its immensely addictive missions, Dying Light is more than just "a more polished version of Dead Island." It's a great game and an underrated gem.


2015 was a great year for gaming. Full of new IPs and returning favorites, it was an improvement over 2014's year of unfinished, broken games and constant remastering of old titles. I felt that 2015 was a breath of fresh air -- a year to start anew and try to put the past behind us. So, that's why I decided to take a look back and see what games truly entertained and engaged me the most this year. 


From AAA titles to indie darlings, there was something for everyone this year, making it one of the best years in gaming.


This will be split into to two parts with Part 1 covering 10-6. With that said, let us begin.

Sony's 12 Deals of Christmas Deal 7, Assassin's Creed Syndicate Sun, 13 Dec 2015 16:02:30 -0500 Samantha Wright

Sony's 12 Deals of Christmas are now half over; we're on the seventh deal! So far we've had some great deals on games like Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Mad Max, Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, WWE 2K16, Pro Evolution Soccer 2016, and Need for Speed

Today, Assassin's Creed Syndicate, Assassin's Creed Syndicate Gold Edition, and Assassin's Creed Syndicate Season Pass are on sale. The regular edition is 49.99 Euros,the Gold Edition is 54.99 Euros, and the Season Pass is 19.99 Euros.

As with the previous 6 deals, this deal will only remain active for two days, so you only have until December 14 at 11:59 GMT to pick them up!

However, as a part of the 12 deals of Christmas, Sony announced a couple of additional deals running until December 14 at 11:59 GMT:

  • Destiny: The Taken King (now 24.99 Euros)
  • Destiny: The Taken King- Digital Collector's Edition (now 50 Euros)
  • Destiny: The Taken King- Legendary Edition (now 30 Euros)

This by no means negates Sony's sale on games for under 15 Euros (as a part of their 12 Deals of Christmas). The games range from Assassin's Creed to Ultra Street Fighter IV and the deals lasts until December 24, so be sure to check those out as well. The full list of games on sale can be found on PlayStation's official blog.

If you don't have your PS4, PS3, or PS Vita readily available, you can purchase any of these games through the PlayStation store.

Are you interested in buying Assassin's Creed Syndicate or Destiny: The Taken King? What about the games for under 15 Euros? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!

Assassin's Creed: Syndicate: Jack the Ripper story trailer revealed Thu, 10 Dec 2015 07:18:00 -0500 BlackTideTV

A new trailer detailing the events of the Jack the Ripper DLC in Assassin's Creed: Syndicate was uploaded to YouTube today. Available to Season Pass holders on December 15th, the DLC contains a large story section during which Evie Frye must stop the notorious Whitechapel murderer. 

The trailer hints at quite a bit of action, direct face-offs with the killer and crooked accomplices. It seems that Jack has an ulterior motive to his killings, as the trailer has him state, "I will gut every last one of them if that's the quickest way to you." Evie Frye also comments, "Jack lures me through the looking glass."

The Ripper's moves seem familiar as he leaps and dives through the trailer. We've seen countless assassins move the same way throughout the Assassin's Creed series. Coincidence? We think not.

Another tidbit of information flying by in the trailer, possibly of the utmost importance, is a single line of Jack's: "Welcome to the reunion, Miss Frye." This suggests that the Ripper and Evie have met before. Perhaps this scene is towards the end of the story once players have faced off with the killer before, but it could be a hint at who the killer is.

The last clue gleaned from the trailer is the timeline. Evie Frye is told, "You need to deliver the Ripper's head on a spike soon." The beginning of the story has five women dead to the Ripper before Evie is involved, and another is killed in the trailer, suggesting that people's lives may be in danger the longer it takes to catch the murderer. 

The Jack the Ripper DLC will be available December 15th to Assassin's Creed: Syndicate Season Pass holders. As of now, there's no telling if the expansion will be available for purchase separately.

Black "Frye" Day sales: Up to 50% off Ubisoft Merch for AC, Far Cry, and Watch_Dogs Tue, 24 Nov 2015 05:37:59 -0500 Andrea Koenig

Ubisoft and the Ubi Workshop are already preparing for the upcoming start to holiday shopping as they stock their stores with Ubisoft game merch. Get up to 50% off items and apparel from Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, and Watch_Dogs series right now.

Three big items available will be from Assassin's Creed Syndicate: both Jacob and Evie hoodies are available for pre-order now. They will be available for a standard price of $94.99. Alongside them, you can pre-order "The Rooks Hat," which is on sale at $19.99.

Here are some highlights of other Assassin's Creed merchandise on sale for Black "Frye" day:

For Fry Cry fans, some highlights on their special merchandise:

And for the Watch_Dogs fans:

These sales are available from now through at least Cyber Monday. For a full list of on-sale and pre-order items from Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, and Watch_Dogs, check out the Ubi Workshop store here.

Following the recent release of Assassin's Creed Syndicate, much of the Ubi Workshop store holds special apparel modeled after outfits the characters wore in-game and accessory merchandise. To see specifically deals from this game, check it out here.

How to beat Lucy Thorne while countering all of her attacks (sequence 5 memory 7 full sync) Sat, 21 Nov 2015 05:43:28 -0500 Samantha Wright

Some of the optional objectives in Assassin's Creed Syndicate are a breeze. Others... not so much. One of the ones that gave me the most trouble was trying to beat Lucy Thorne at St. Paul's cathedral while countering all her attacks (which in turn meant taking no damage). I'm sure many other people had problems as well, especially if they were at lower levels. This guide is here to help.

There are many different ways to beat Lucy, but this is the way I found easiest. It requires less skill, so level doesn't matter. It also goes by quickly, so there is less room for error.

Optional: Upgrade your throwing knives and/or pistols

You don't have to upgrade your gear, but it will make your life somewhat easier. This includes damage increasing the number of ammo and throwing knives you can carry (highlighted in the bright red in the above picture).

You can fight Lucy with the basic stats with the method detailed below, but it will most likely take you longer and require more tries.

1. Stock up on supplies

You're going to need a lot of equipment to beat Lucy Thorne using this method. This includes smoke bombs, bullets, and throwing knives.

You can either buy these from the shop, or kill a whole bunch of guards and loot their bodies for the items. It doesn't matter too much as long as you're completely stocked up.

2. Make your way over to Lucy

Upon starting the memory (memory 7 of sequence 5 if you are using chapter select), you'll have to sneak past some guards, solve a simple puzzle, and then climb up the cathedral to get to Lucy.

The Guards

To sneak past the guards, use the haystack in the upper left hand corner. Monitor the guards, or use Eagle Vision to track them, and then perform a leap of faith from the building next to the haystack. The positioning of the haystack and the building in which you should jump from is pictured above.

You must remain anonymous to interact with the base of the monument, so don't rush ahead just yet!

Upon watching the guards, you'll find an opening. Sneak out then and make your way below the awning and interact with it.

If you're anything like me this part may take a couple of tries, but, if you fail and get spotted, you can open up the menu and restart the checkpoint to start off just about where you left off before being spotted.

The Puzzle

Keep turning the cogs until the symbols match up. If you're having trouble finding a symbol you need, make sure it's not hidden under one of the thick metal pieces that jut out from the sides.

Also, make sure to work from one direction to the other. For example, start from the top and work your way down or start from the bottom and work your way up. That will require less backtracking on your part.

It may take you a couple of tries, but if you pay attention, it won't be that bad. 

3. Taking down Lucy

So you've made it through the rest of the memory and now you've come to the point where  you have to counter all of her attacks. Upon first glance, this may seem extremely difficult because your timing has to be perfect, but it's really not that bad.

Remember those items you stocked up on? Now is the time to use them.

First smoke bomb

Upon starting the fight, grab one of your smoke bombs and unleash it on her.

Quickly switch to your throwing knives or pistols and bombard her with ammo.  

Rinse and repeat

If your items aren't upgraded high enough, one round won't kill her and the last cutscene won't start. If this is the case, you're going to want to repeat what you did with the first smoke bomb.

Select another, drop it on her, and unload more of your items. If you need to switch items (throwing knives to pistols or pistols to throwing knives), feel free to do so. That's why you stocked up on them earlier!

If for whatever reason she's not dead after two smoke bomb attacks, use a third one and continue attacking.

If you run out of throwing knives and pistol ammo, feel free to melee attack her. 

The Middle Scene?

Upon reducing Lucy's health to about half, she'll grab you and engage in a special scene where all you can do is counterattack.

If you followed the above steps correctly, Lucy will have so little health that you will skip the middle scene altogether. This is critical because the middle scene is really annoying and requires perfect timing.

If for whatever reason you do get stuck in the middle scene, you're better off just restarting the checkpoint and trying again with the steps outlined above. You can try to counterattack her and keep up with the optional objective. However, since it requires perfect timing, chances are you won't make it on your first try and will have to restart the checkpoint anyway.

3. The Final Scene

After destroying Lucy with your gear and, hilariously, never giving her a chance to attack you back, Evie will tackle her through the window in a cutscene and the fight will end.

Congrats! You've gotten your optional objective!

Final Notes

It is possible to fight Lucy legitimately and counter her attacks manually with proper timing and by hitting the right button. However, at lower levels, this method will take a long time. Evie has an extremely low attack and this will make it even more difficult to succeed because you will have to counter continuously. Unless you are extremely skilled or are at a really high level, it is not recommended to fight her in such a way.

Did my method help you take down Lucy Thorne while countering all of her attacks? Did you use a different method that worked better for you? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!

Is Anita Sarkessian right about Assassin's Creed: Syndicate? Is it progressive or just lip service? Sun, 08 Nov 2015 15:53:45 -0500 Justin Andress

With the release of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate comes Ubisoft’s first attempt to weave a playable, female protagonist into one of its AAA console releases. The welcome addition to the gameplay was hardly surprising after Ubisoft endured some controversy before to the release of the series’ previous entry, Assassin’s Creed Unity, when it was discovered that the game would feature no female protagonists. The gaming publisher made no friends when Unity’s creative director Alex Amancio claimed the choice boiled down to a lack of available resources

Of course, the scandal was largely forgotten once Unity’s bug-riddled release became a horror story in the industry. One year later, though, Ubisoft’s flagship series is back and vying for redemption on all fronts, not least among them is a clear attempt to win back the love of its female fans. Is the industry titan up to the task?

HEY! If you have not played the entire story of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, you might think about not reading, because there will be some minor spoilers … at this point, though, you most likely know that the game’s plot is both nonsensical and weak, so what’s the harm in learning about a story that would ultimately be unfulfilling anyway, right?

Sarkeesian Weighs In

Evie Frye of Assassin's Creed Syndicate in front of a clock.

The presence of a woman sharing the spotlight in one of gaming’s biggest series was a magnet for critique from voices across the industry. Gaming’s self-appointed crusader, Anita Sarkeesian, posted a review of Syndicate on her site,, and (perhaps surprisingly) praised the game, especially its portrayal of the game’s female lead, Evie Frye, saying: 

“Evie is not objectified, she is not sexualized, and she is not created exclusively for the sexual arousal of a presumed straight male audience. She’s dressed appropriately, her fighting moves are not sexualized, and her combat grunts are forceful and fierce, instead of sounding like she is in the throes of ecstasy.”

While Sarkeesian conceded that Evie’s position in the plot is diminished by the time the credits roll, she ultimately seemed pleased with the game’s portrayal of its female and minority characters.

Sarkeesian’s appraisal of the game may be overly kind, however.

The Lady Assassin

Evie Frye of Assassin's Creed Syndicate marketing art

Let’s start with Evie, the better half of the Frye duo. She’s intelligent, capable and totally kick ass. Also, as Sarkeesian pointed out, her grunts and shouts mid-combat are an incredibly cool detail. Meanwhile, her twin brother Jacob is a brash rogue who’s attempts to conquer the city inevitably make London a worse place to live. 

This overt attempt to make Evie more responsible than her brother, however, ultimately comes off as thin praise designed to take the edge off the feminist critiques. Even the male characters’ treatment of Evie seems designed to remind audiences that Ubisoft is treating a woman like an equal. Seemingly every male character, when introduced to her, makes a comment along the lines of, “What a remarkable lady who is utterly equal to me in every way.”

Sarkeesian’s further critique, that Evie’s role is diminished as the plot moves along, is absolutely spot on.

It’s possible to suggest that Jacob’s front and center placement in the game’s final acts is a necessary result of the differing character of the twins. Evie is prone to following up stories that other consider flights of fancy; Jacob is given to grasping at more tangible goals, like wealth and territory. So, it’s more understandable that Jacob would incur the wrath of more people, while Evie, mostly alone in her scholarly pursuits, would only run afoul of those few like-minded souls who believed in her mythological pursuits.

Yet, throughout the first half of the game, Evie is constantly around to mop up after her brother’s mistakes. In the latter half of the game, she isn’t even afforded that much responsibility. It’s as though the developers devoted a little time in the beginning of their narrative to quiet the critics before moving on to the plot points that actually mattered.

If you need proof of that, just check out the box art, where Evie is afforded all the physical importance of an NPC with no lines:

Assassin's Creed Syndicate box art

And the Minor Characters?

This one thing can be said for Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. Its representation of female characters is leagues ahead of other games in the series, if only because women are everywhere.

It succeeds in much the same way as Mad Max: Fury Road did this summer in that it provides lots of different female characters with lots of different personalities and character traits. In so doing, Syndicate takes a lot of pressure off of Evie to be the sole representative of her sex in the narrative.

Evie Frye murdering Lucy Thorne in Assassin's Creed Syndicate.

Baddie Lucy Thorne is also fun to hate, even if she’s done a disservice by being set up so obviously as Evie’s foil. It's a little, let's say, old-school to set the male protagonist with a male counterpart and a female protagonist with a female counterpart. The fact that Evie’s primary antagonist is offed two-thirds of the way through the plot is further telling of Evie’s marginalized role.

Then there’s the much lauded inclusion of Ned Wynert, a transgender character whose preferences are never addressed in the game. In her review of the game, Sarkeesian (like so many others) not only praised Wynert’s presence, she applauded the fact that no one in Victorian London had anything to say about it. While she acknowledged the total lack of realism in regards to this decision, she rationalized that in the context of the overarching plot (which is completely silly), this anachronism was extremely progressive. In other words, by not addressing Wynert’s differences, Ubisoft has normalized them, a wonderfully kind gesture.

It’s telling, however, that no mention is made of Wynert’s sexuality or Henry Green’s race. It’s wonderful that they’re treated as equals, of course, but not addressing those aspects of their character which would have absolutely been a factor in Victorian London is a disservice to them. Glossing over the extra hurdles they would have endured undermines the extra effort these people would have had to exert on a daily basis. These folks weren’t normal, they were extraordinary, because they were succeeding in a world where the deck was stacked against them. It just seems as though Ubisoft had an opportunity to celebrate that strength, and instead they simply propped them up as window dressing in yet another story about a white dude punching another white dude in the face.


Evie Frye throwing knives in Assassin's Creed Syndicate

That’s pretty heavy talk for what does, in fact, amount to one of the best entries in the Assassin’s Creed series in years. And a lot of critiques are levied against one of the best new female characters to hit games in years. Ubisoft came off as kind of a lip service villain throughout, a verdict that’s not fair to them, either.

Sure, taken by itself, Syndicate has some work to do in developing its female characters. Of course, its male characters were in need of some development, as well, so perhaps it’s better to view Syndicate in the grander scheme of the games industry. Viewed in that scope, the game is a towering success, a huge forward leap in its treatment of women and minorities.

Ubisoft should be praised for its obvious willingness to listen to critics and adjust their material accordingly. It just would have been better if their adjustments had not seemed so clearly designed to prove that they were willing to listen and adjust their material. Syndicate is absolutely a big step in the right direction, though, and other developers would do well to take note.

Assassin's Creed Syndicate Guide: Sequences 7-9 with tips and tricks Sat, 07 Nov 2015 15:03:59 -0500 Sergey_3847

The story of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate continues, but we are getting closer to its final chapters. This guide will lead you through the final three sequences of Jacob and Evie Frye’s hunt for Grand Master Crawford Starrick and the Piece of Eden.

Other Assassin's Creed Syndicate guides:

Assassin's Creed Syndicate Guide: Sequences 1-3 with tips and tricks

Assassin's Creed Syndicate Guide: Sequences 4-6 with tips and tricks

Assassin's Creed Syndicate Guide: Skills, Gang Upgrades, and Crafting

Sequence 7: All is Fair in Politics

Assassin's Creed Syndicate Guide Sequence 7Assassin's Creed Syndicate Guide Sequence 7

Jacob Frye decides to prevent the assassination of Benjamin Disraeli, politician and writer who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He has only one clue about the person behind this foul crime: the man’s nickname – Mr. B.

Mission 1: Playing Politics

  • First, you need to locate Sinopean Club in order to meet the Prime Minister. There you will find out that Disraeli is being followed by a spy. Your task is to chase the spy and interrogate him, but the poor fellow is shot to death by a sniper before he can give you any significant information. You need to chase the sniper, a lady, who will tell you about the upcoming assassination of Disraeli.

Mission 2: The Bodyguard

  • Jacob needs to locate the carriage of the Prime Minister and his wife Mary Anne. You need to get inside the carriage and protect them from the thugs. But one of them manages to kidnap the couple, so you need to chase them. After that, you will have the chance to speak with Disraeli about the man known as Mr. B.

Mission 3: Driving Mrs. Disraeli

  • Prime Minister’s wife agrees to uncover some information about Mr. B, but first she wants Jacob to lead her through the Devil’s Acre, a notorious slum in Westminster borough. Escort the lady and her dog through the slum, while staying away from the thugs.
  • Unfortunately, the dog gets kidnapped by the thug, so you need to chase him and bring the dog back. As you return to the Prime Minister’s mansion, the lady tells you about Earl of Cardigan, the man who planned the assassination of her husband.

Mission 4: Change of Plans

  • In the opening cutscene Henry Green introduces Duleep Singh, the Black Prince of Perthshire and the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire. He informs Green and Evie about the location of Shroud of Eden – it’s in the vault at the Buckingham Palace.
  • First, you need to let Henry Green help you steal the Templars’ documents by distracting the guards. After you locate the chests and get back to Henry, you will discover that he was kidnapped. This task requires you to investigate the location of Henry by tracing the carriage of the kidnappers and interrogating local people. You will find him in the tunnel guarded by the thugs; rescue him and escape the area.

Mission 5: Unbreaking the Bank

  • Mr. Abberline, the policeman, asks Evie to return the stolen currency plates from the bank of England. Locate the counterfeiters and trace their location. Steal the plates and burn all counterfeits. Return the plates to the bank and inform Abberline about your success.

Mission 6: Motion to Impeach

  • After Jacob discovered the true identity of Mr. B - James Thomas Brudenell (the 7th Earl of Cardigan and the member of the British Rite of the Templar Order), he decides to assassinate him. First, you need to find your way inside the House of Parliament by stealing the door password. Then, locate the Brudenell’s room and finish him.

Other Sequence 7 tips and tricks:

  • Don’t let yourself be detected by the thugs.
  • Use Henry Green to distract the guards.

Sequence 8: The Joys of Freedom

Assassin's Creed Syndicate Guide Sequence 8Assassin's Creed Syndicate Guide Sequence 8

The new sequence begins with a surprising cutscene showing Maxwell Roth, an associate of the British Templars and one of Crawford Starrick's henchmen, inviting Jacob to a dinner at his mansion.

Mission 1: Strange Bedfellows

  • Head towards the Roth’s house and enter the building through the backdoor. When you meet Roth he will offer you a partnership in order to take down the Grand Master. Of course, you need to gain his trust first by accomplishing a few tasks. Locate the train and hide inside before it arrives at the station. Then, find the crates with dynamite and ignite them. Escape the area by train and head back to Roth’s associates.

Mission 2: Triple Theft

  • Roth gives Jacob another task: to kidnap three Starrick’s associates and bring them to him.
  • Your first target is Hattie Cadwallader, an artworks collector. You will be able to locate Ms. Hattie in the sewers, where she’s hiding a recently stolen statue from the National Gallery, by interrogating the local kids. Kidnap and deliver her to the Roth’s carriage.
  • Target number two is Benjamin Raffles, Starrick's head of security. Locate him at the St James Park and follow the previous routine.
  • Your third and final target is Chester Swinebourne. He can be found at the top floor of the Scotland Yard building.

Mission 3: Fun and Games

  • This time Maxwell Roth wants you to destroy Starrick’s ammunition factory. Jacob agrees and places the dynamite at the marked spots. However, he learns that there are children working at the factory, so he refuses to ignite the explosives. But Roth’s thugs do it for you, so now you need to save the kids: this task has a time limit of three minutes. After you successfully save the kids, you will receive another invitation from Roth, this time to a party.

Mission 4: Final Act

  • This is the moment when Jacob makes a decision to assassinate Roth, so he can’t hurt anybody anymore. You need to locate the Alhambra Music Hall, the place where the party takes place. Obtain a mask in order to stay unknown at the party and kill all Roth’s associates. After you finish them, Roth will set the building on fire. This is your only chance to assassinate him.

Other Sequence 8 tips and tricks:

  • Use the Unique Kill opportunity to assassinate your targets.
  • Escape the Alhambra Music Hall in less than 90 seconds.

Sequence 9: Shall We Dance?

Assassin's Creed Syndicate Guide Sequence 9Assassin's Creed Syndicate Guide Sequence 9

The assassination of Maxwell Roth prompts Starrick to take over London by obtaining the Shroud of Eden. Jacon and Evie need to get to the ball taking place in the Buckingham Palace and prevent Starrick from stealing the Shroud.

Mission 1: Double Trouble

  • Mrs. Disraeli informs the Frye twins of the possible way of entering the ball: they need to steal the invitations from Catherine and William Gladstone, the Disraeli’s political rivals. Locate both of them and steal the invitations. Then, obtain their carriage and later use it to arrive at the ball.

Mission 2: Dress to Impress

  • The guards will not let you inside if you have your weapons on. So, get to St. Martin Church, take down one of the guards and steal his uniform. Mr. Abberline will use this uniform at the ball as a disguised guardian who will let you have your weapons inside the Buckingham Palace.

Mission 3: Family Politics

  • Evie asks Duleep Singh to help her identify the exact location of the Shroud of Eden. Singh agrees on one condition: if Evie helps him kidnap three politicians.
  • Your first target is marked on your map, so get the carriage, kidnap and deliver him to the Victorian Station. This task has the time limit of one minute and thirty seconds.
  • Target number two is located at St. James Park and needs to be delivered to the House of Parliament. This task has the time limit of one minute and thirty seconds.
  • Your final target is located in the Gladstone's residence and you need to bring him to the Gentlemen’s Club. This task has the time limit of two minutes and thirty seconds.

Mission 4: A Night to Remember

  • As Evie and Jacob arrive at the Buckingham’s Palace, they need to accomplish a few tasks. Evie needs to locate the room on the second floor with the plans of the palace. And, Jacob has to get the weapons from the disguised Mr. Abberline at the ball.
  • First, Evie has to steal the key to the room from the royal guards. After she obtains the plans and heads towards the vault, Mrs. Disraeli will intercept and introduce her to the Queen.
  • Now, it’s Jacob’s turn to do the dirty job. After he gets his weapons from Mr. Abberline, he has to kill all the Starrick’s snipers and thugs surrounding the building.
  • Finally, Starrick steals the key from Evie and heads towards the vault. This is the opportunity for Jacob to assassinate him.

Other Sequence 9 tips and tricks:

  • Don’t kill the policemen, either distract them or use knockdown.
  • Keep the royal carriage above 50% of damage.

The adventure of Jacob and Evie Frye is over. They managed to protect both the Shroud of Eden and the Queen from Crawford Starrick. This ends the Assassin’s Creed Syndicate main story.

There are too many open world games being made Wed, 11 Nov 2015 10:26:56 -0500 Daniel Williams_2179

There is one genre of games that we've seen a lot of this generation: open world games. There have been a TON of sandbox games released for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. This year alone we saw releases for Dying Light, Mad Max, Metal Gear Solid V, The Witcher 3, Assassin's Creed Syndicate, Batman Arkham Knight and Fallout 4.

And the industry isn't planning to slow down anytime soon.  Just Cause 3 is right around the corner. No Man's Sky, Far Cry Primal and Ubisoft's next Assassin's Creed game will be out next year, and Horizon Zero Dawn and Crackdown 3 might also be joining them. 

That's just too many open-world games to play.

It's not as if these are quick, linear games that can be finished in under 10 hours. All the games I have mentioned have massive worlds to explore, with loads of content jammed into them. Some are shorter than others, but even the short ones have a good 40 or 50 hours of gameplay to go through.

I think we are fast approaching open world fatigue at this rate. A lot of gamers just don't have the time to play through all these, especially if they have a job or are in college. 

At the moment, this fatigue hasn't hit yet. The games I have mentioned are doing really well in terms of sales. But by next year, people might already be sick of open world games and we'll start to see a shift in those numbers. 

By contrast, the sales of games offering a short linear experience should go up

Gamers still want to play games, and if we are fed up of these massive 50-hour plus games, the short linear experience will be a breath of fresh air. This will end up being a win-lose scenario when it comes to sales.  We'll probably see sales of open world games will go down while shorter games rake in the cash.

If this happens, though, I wouldn't be too surprised by the end of this console generation, I'm writing about why there are too many short linear games on the market. With that being said, there is a trend at the moment when it comes to too many games br=eing made for a genre.

During each generation of consoles, there is one particular game genre that is made in an abundance. Last generation we had loads of shooters being made. Go back to the PS1 era it was 3D platformers. The gaming industry has this cycle where certain genres are made to the point of over-saturation and then move on to the next genre.  

This kind of game making needs to stop. Sure companies want to make games on a genre that are popular to get better sales, but when multiple companies have the same idea it gets a bit out of hand. Hopefully, in the near future we won't have to deal with this over-saturation of game genres. Until then, we just have to deal with all these open world games being made. 

A look at the Assassin's Creed series from best to worst Wed, 04 Nov 2015 09:00:32 -0500 Ty Arthur


Floundering franchise or wellspring of ideas?


While each title had something to make it stand out, it does seem like there's only so many ways to refresh and revitalize the same gameplay before you run out of ideas, and it may be time for Assassin's Creed to take a few years off and come back in a whole new format.

What do you think of our ranking of the games, and do you want to see a new title every year or agree that the series needs to take a break?


Worst: Assassin's Creed: Unity


Assassin's Creed unquestionably stumbled with its first faltering steps into the next generation of console gaming. Frankly the endless stream of bugs made people want to take up assassination as a profession and target certain game developers...


If you went with the PC version you could look forward to crashes galore, but any edition had an absolute avalanche of technical problems crushing any hope of a good game experience. Bodies would contort in insane ways, parts of your face would disconcertingly vanish, sometimes you'd just fall through the floor, objects would float in the air for no apparent reason and you'd be taken with the irresistible urge to dance while climbing ladders or running across ledges. It was sort of like being in a horror movie, but not on purpose.


The game was so bad that Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallet actually issued a formal apology to fans for the bug-ridden release and even handed out free DLC as a mea culpa. We can only hope a lesson was learned here and the series never dips this low again.


Assassin's Creed III


Just as it seemed like Brotherhood couldn't work, this entry in the series seemed destined for greatness, and both of those assumptions ended up completely incorrect. The setting had everyone excited – medieval European assassin game series heads to the American revolution? - but the end result was anything but gripping.


I remember the excitement felt when the first video teasers landed was only matched by the disappointment of the end product as the main character isn't particularly exciting, the intro segments are way too long and the game was very buggy upon release. Although they don't get mentioned often, there were actually some graphical shortcuts used here that really didn't sit right, especially the foliage and leaves that looked like flat cardboard cutouts.


The DLC is worth mentioning however, as the idea of George Washington becoming a tyrant who has to be taken down was incredibly interesting. Even with new animal-inspired powers for your Native American assassin, the end result was a little lackluster though, ending up quite repetitive with a weak ending.


Assassin's Creed


If you weren't aware of the twist ahead of time (and I wasn't when I first popped that disc in), the sci-fi/modern day twist at the very start of the game really messed with your head. Like “Sixth Sense” messed with your head. I first played the original Assassin's Creed on Christmas Day 2007 after having imbibed quite a bit, and honestly I thought at first that someone at the factory had messed up somehow and put the wrong game in the case. Those who trolled all the forums or stayed on top of the gaming magazines at the time actually missed out there.


Opening mindscrew aside, there's no question this game has aged, and perhaps not very well. More interesting features and smoother gameplay have been added to most of the games since, so while this one has nostalgia going for it, its definitely among the weaker entries with quite clunky controls. For some fans, the placement of this game so low on the list might be a bit of a controversial one, and it really could be swapped with the previous entry for those feeling a little more generous.


Assassin's Creed: Revelations


Assassin's Creed: Revelations is the game that almost wasn't – originally set to be a handheld game for the 3DS, it was scrapped and an announcement was released from Ubisoft that there wouldn't actually be an Assassin's Creed game that year... until it was resurrected for the main consoles of the time as Revelations and came out anyway.


While not an explicitly bad game, the formula was getting pretty stale by the time Revelations showed up, and those new features added in didn't really resonate with fans. The hook was kind of nifty, but looking back it didn't actually add a whole lot, and the minigame of defending areas against waves of Templar reinforcements wasn't particularly compelling. This wrap-up to the Ezio storyline was a middling experience that just didn't manage to knock it out of the park.


Assassin's Creed: Syndicate


With Syndicate only out for a few days now it's tough to make a real call yet as to where it really lands in the ranking of the series, as viewpoints are going to change as a game sinks in over repeated plays. Assassin's Creed III is probably the best example of that - it received stellar reviews from the major game sites at launch but is now universally reviled.


We'll have to see with AC:S finally lands, but right now it seems to be sitting in the middle of the pack: there's some great stuff going on, but it certainly isn't the peak of the franchise. Carriage chases and top hats aren't quite as innovative as being a pirate.

As a standalone, side-story title it gives a brief glimpse into Victorian era assassins, again slightly changing the formula and abandoning multiplayer, but leading some to wish for another multi-game arc featuring a character we can love as much as Ezio.

Personally, I'm a fan of the top hats, mutton chops, flintlock pistols, and high speed carriage chases. With the organized crime aspects and shooting from a carriage while chasing down other horse-drawn vehicles, sometimes the game almost feels a bit like you're Nico Bellic in old time England. It probably won't ever be heralded as the best entry in the series, but it does sit solidly in the middle.


Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood


No one expected this game to work, and everyone thought an epic flop was brewing over at Ubisoft. How do you take single player stealth assassin gameplay and tack on multiplayer to it? Somehow it worked, and while the experience isn't quite the crazy wild west of say something like GTA 5 multiplayer, it definitely had solid appeal as you wondered whether the person next to you was a simple peasant... or an assassin with a blade ready. Honestly, it's still fun today, if you can find enough people for a match, that is.


On the single player front, exploring Renaissance-era Rome (a much larger city than the previous games) while battling the corrupt Borgias family was quite satisfying, and adding in the ability to recruit followers added a welcome new dimension. Being an assassin is a good time, but leading a whole cabal of assassins is even more so.


Assassin's Creed: Rogue


How weird is it that the bone thrown to previous gen players who hadn't upgraded to the Xbox One / PS4 yet ended up being superior to the current gen counterpart? Rogue was almost an afterthought, put out because not everyone was ready to throw down the cash for a new console and pick up Unity (and as we discovered, those poor gamers actually came out with the better end of the deal). Culling out multiplayer and using a very clear template from the 360 / PS3 days might have actually made this a better game with the focus on tweaking and improving the formula.


Of course, it's also worth noting you finally get to take up the cause of the other side and carry the torch for the Templars instead! Long range kills with the rifle and causing mayhem with a grenade launcher add in unexpected elements as well, offering a solid follow-up to the amazing Black Flag.


On the downside, Assasin's Creed: Rogue is overall very similar to that previous game, but since that's one of the best entries in the series, that's perhaps not such a bad thing after all.


Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag


Everybody knows that pirates and ninja are mortal enemies, but apparently pirates and accidental Caribbean assassins go together a bit better. Black Flag moved us away from the story's roots a bit by throwing in a protagonist who didn't even intend to ever be an assassin and had no real knowledge of the war against the templars. He just found a cool outfit, put it on, and got down to the business of killing and looting!


The emphasis on ship combat is what entirely makes this game great (so something good finally came out of the maligned third installment, which first introduced the idea). Between the island exploration, tense naval battles, and typical city assassination elements, Black Flag is one of the most straight-up enjoyable entries in terms of game play.


Best: Assassin's Creed II


Opinion is overall divided here, with fans about split as to which game is really the best, and I have to admit even I waffle sometimes on which is currently my favorite. Honestly, this and the next slide could be swapped on any given day and they'd probably still be right, as both Assassins Creed II and Black Flag are very solid high points. But, looking back across the entire series, the sequel to the original title just does so much right that it's worth being counted as the pinnacle.


While the original title offered a previously unknown mix of historical stealth combat and modern day sci-fi shenanigans, the first direct sequel improved on nearly every aspect in major ways. There was no more running back and forth from the safe house constantly, significantly improved combat, better storylines, and the most loved protagonist in Assassin's Creed history: Ezio.


The dynamic environments for fleeing (or stalking an assassination target) still hold up today even after so many iterations, and there was tons of fun to be had hunting down all the feathers, video segments, and statuettes. Granted, by today's standards it may not have the graphical flair (or the ship-to-ship combat that's become so highly acclaimed), but this is still one of the most fun, polished games in the entire series.


For a series that only started in 2007, somehow we've reached a staggering 20+ titles already (if you count all the spin-offs, mobile entries, and social media web browser games). That's on par with the Call Of Duty franchise that everybody likes to rag on for having an endless stream of yearly installments.


Like clockwork, the official 2015 entry Assassin's Creed: Syndicate just finally arrived, this time culling out the modern day elements in favor of a more straight historical narrative and offering up dual protagonists in 1860's London.


It goes without saying that with so many different games coming in such a small window of time, there's a pretty big gap in quality between them, with some significantly more worth your time than others.


If you want to know what games are still up to snuff and which should be relegated to the bargain bin, you've come to the right place. We'll skip all the mobile phone and handheld games and instead focus on the core console titles that compose this rapidly expanding series.

Assassin's Creed Syndicate Guide: Sequences 4-6 with tips and tricks Mon, 02 Nov 2015 09:59:30 -0500 Sergey_3847

After finishing Sequence 3, you will get access to the unlocked Assassination Map in your train. Now, we can move on to Sequences 4-6 of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate main story. If you’re wondering where the first 3 are – just click here.

As you access the Map, you still have to follow the order of the Sequences, meaning you can’t activate Sequence 5 or 6 before finishing 4, but you can play the missions within each Sequence in no particular order. This guide will help you go through the missions in the way they were intended.

Sequence 4: A Quick and Reliable Remedy

Assassin's Creed Syndicate Guide Sequence 4Assassin's Creed Syndicate Guide Sequence 4

A short cutscene introduces Ned Wynert, an American transgender thief living in London, who offers his assistance to Jacob and Evie. The siblings also decide to pursue different goals: Evie wants to find the Piece of Eden, and Jacob desires to assassinate Templars.

Mission 1: A Spoonful of Syrup

  • Jacob heads out to investigate the source of the Soothing Syrup, a new type of drug. You need to get to the Docks and interrogate the Merchant. He will uncover the Thug’s location, a drug’s distributor. Get to the target and steal information from him. Then, head towards a marked location, a fighting club, kidnap the main distributor and interrogate him to finish the mission.

Mission 2: Unnatural Selection

  • Another cutscene starts showing Jacob tracing the location of the Distillery where the drug is being produced. He notices a man sneaking inside the building and follows him. As the mission starts, kill the guards and enter the Distillery to interrogate the man, who simply calls himself a Gentleman. He will help you sabotage the valves. When the gas gets depressurized, go upstairs and quickly kill everybody.
  • To finish the mission, escape from the Distillery and continue the conversation with the Gentleman, who finally uncovers his true identity – Charles Darwin, an English naturalist and geologist, creator of the Theory of Evolution.

Mission 3: Playing it by Ear

  • Evie needs to uncover the location of Piece of Eden, so she asks Jacob to help her steal the notebook of Miss Thorne, which you can obtain by accomplishing a side-mission – The Crate Escape. As you uncover the secrets of the notebook, Evie and Henry Green decide to infiltrate the Kenway Mansion. There you will find the room with the piano.
  • Check the upper wall behind you to uncover the order of the keynotes you need to activate using the piano. This will open the hidden room where you will find the key to the Piece of Eden. But, you will be spotted and trapped inside the room. Find the big wheel on the wall and turn it around to uncover the escape route.

Mission 4: Cable News

  • In the new cutscene, Alexander Graham Bell asks Jacob and Evie to “unseize” the crew and the cargo with cables. He also shares a new type of hallucinogenic darts with them. The mission is simple: just head to the location and beat a bunch of Blighters.  Free the seized crew and head towards the ship to uncover the crate, which is actually a poisonous trap. Head back to Mr. Bell’s shop to watch another cutscene.

Mission 5: On the Origin of Syrup

  • Your task here is to capture Sir Richard Owen, an English biologist, who knows the true source of the Soothing Syrup drug. Chase his carriage and interrogate him to learn all that you need.

Mission 6: Overdose

  • In the new cutscene Jacob shares his knowledge with Charles Darwin about the man behind the drug - John Elliotson, a renowned doctor. Then, locate the Asylum and assassinate Mr. Elliotson. You can also accomplish a few side-missions involving a young doctor and the nurse. After you finish your tasks escape the Asylum.

Other Sequence 4 tips and tricks:

  • Assassinate all possible targets and loot them.
  • Discover all the memorabilia collection.

Sequence 5: The Perils of Business

Assassin's Creed Syndicate Guide Sequence 5Assassin's Creed Syndicate Guide Sequence 5

The opening Sequence 5 cutscene shows Crawford Starrick, the Templars’ Grand Master, learning about the murder of Elliotson. We also get introduced to a new character - Pearl Attaway, a former Templar, the owner of Attaway Transport Company, Starrick’s main competitor and… a cousin.

Mission 1: Friendly Competition

  • You begin by making a deal of partnership with Ms. Attaway, and in order to gain her trust, she gives you a task to destroy the Millner’s Storage Yard, Millner’s and Starrick’s omnibus business. For this mission, you need the help of your Rooks. Beat every enemy on your way, push the cart with explosives onto the Yard with omnibuses and ignite the explosives.

Mission 2: Research And Development

  • In another cutscene Pearl Attaway tasks Jacob to locate and steal a set of internal combustion engines from the train belonging to the Millner Company. You realize that you need Ned Wynert, your newly acquired partner in crime, in order to accomplish this difficult task. The problem is that she is being kept by the Police, so first you need to rescue her.
  • Then, head towards the marked train location, get rid of all the enemies and protect Ned Wynert, while she transfers the crates from one train to another.

Mission 3: Survival of The Fittest

  • Now, Ms. Attaway will ask you to assassinate Millner himself. First, you need to destroy crates with Millner’s contraband. Again, you need to use explosives for this mission with the help of crates with dynamite. Then, you can move on to the marked location and finish Millner, who tells you about the Starrick’s and Attaway’s kinship.

Mission 4: Breaking News

  • After the shocking reveal about Ms. Attaway, Jacob returns to Graham Bell’s shop, who has a new “toy” to play with – Voltaic Bomb. He then tasks Jacob and Evie to use the bombs on thugs who threaten Bell’s life. When you’re done, escort Mr. Bell to the Telegraph station and destroy the transmitters.

Mission 5: The Lady with the Lamp

  • This time Evie decides to visit Clara, a young girl providing intelligence for her and Jacob. Evie finds the girl in a very bad state, but soon meets Florence Nightingale, an English social reformer and nurse. Ms. Nightingale tasks Evie to get the medicine for Clara as soon as possible.
  • This mission has a time limit of 8 minutes only, so be quick. First, you need to locate the peddler and steal a potion from him. Then, find the pharmacist and protect him from the thugs. And finally, chase the carriage with supplies and bring it back to Ms. Nightingale.

Mission 6: A Room with a View

  • A cutscene shows Jacob wanting to help Evie find the Shrouds of Eden, pieces of cloth capable of restoration and healing. But Evie says she wants to do this alone, and the mission starts. Locate the monument and use the Rooks to distract policemen hanging around. When you see the opportunity, set up one of the slates at the base of the monument. Then, get on top of it and set up another one.
  • After this, you will be able to locate St. Paul’s Cathedral where a puzzle to solve is awaiting for you. It will give you the location of the Vault, to which you have the key stolen previously from the Kenway’s basement. But, suddenly Ms. Thorne appears and demands the key back, so you need to fight her. However, she still manages to escape with the key.

Mission 7: End of the Line

  • Jacob learns that Starrick’s train will arrive at Waterloo station, so he needs to be there in order to assassinate Pearl Attaway. First, you need to steal the train schedule from the Conductor. Then, reschedule the train to arrive at the Central Station instead, in order to have an opportunity to assassinate Ms. Attaway.
  • Head to the location and use one of the opportunities to finish your task. As you do this, you will see a cutscene where Ms. Thorne informs Starrick about the events.

Other Sequence 5 tips and tricks:

  • Use Voltaic Bombs and Hallucinogenic Darts to easily get rid of thugs.
  • Perform a Leap of Faith while on a zipline.

Sequence 6: A Run on the Bank

Assassin's Creed Syndicate Guide Sequence 6Assassin's Creed Syndicate Guide Sequence 6

In the beginning of Sequence 6 Evie informs Henry green about her plans to assassinate Lucy Thorne, return the stolen key and get to the Tower of London to finally retrieve the Shrouds of Eden. Henry Green agrees to help her.

Mission 1: A Thorne in the Side

  • Get to the vantage point and locate the Tower of London. Head there, talk to the Allied Guard and assassinate three Templars. The Guard will help you get to Ms. Thorne, and you will have an excellent opportunity to finally assassinate her.

Mission 2: A Case of Identity

  • Meanwhile, Jacob discovers another person involved with Starrick – Plutus, a banker. In order to find Plutus, Jacob needs to locate and interrogate Mr. Dredge. This is a simple task where you need to kidnap him and the cutscene starts in which Dredge, a disguised policeman, tells you about the upcoming robbery of the bank of England planned by Plutus, which is an excellent opportunity for you to get closer to him.

Mission 3: A Spot of Tea

  • In order to get to Plutus you need to locate the smuggled crates with weapons, which will be used in the robbery. Get to the departure point where the crates are located and spot the one you need to trace. Then, just follow it to its final destination and watch a cutscene. Now, Jacob needs to prevent the robbery and assassinate Plutus, whose real identity is Philip Twopenny.

Mission 4: One Good Deed

  • Evie visits the Southwark borough to inspect the situation after the assassination of Ms. Attaway. She learns that Edward Hodson Bayley, an omnibus manufacturer, was kidnapped by Starrick’s thugs after he refused to work for Starrick’s company.
  • Evie needs to protect him by stealing the cart with Bayley from the thugs. In the following cutscene Jacob tells Evie that they need to enter the omnibus business and for that purpose they need to locate and steal the Deed.

Mission 5: A Bad Penny

  • Mr. Abberline, the policeman, gives Jacob information on the Bank of England robbery. First, you need to find the vault, and then kidnap the Head of Security. Now, Jacob will have a clear chance to assassinate Twopenny. The final cutscene shows Starrick ordering the halls of Parliament to govern freely, again.

Other Sequence 6 tips and tricks:

  • Stay as stealthy as possible.
  • Don’t kill the policemen; use Rooks instead to distract them.

At this point, the story of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is getting closer to its finish. Will Jacob and Evie conquer London? Will they assassinate Crawford Starrick? Learn all this and other details of the game’s main story in the upcoming guide on the final Sequences 7-9.

Assassin's Creed Syndicate Review Wed, 28 Oct 2015 07:16:22 -0400 Matt_Paprocki

Murder is ubiquitous to Assassin's Creed Syndicate. UbiSoft's loosely historical dramas are equivalent to cinema's Saw franchise – there are so many entries and so many deaths, repetition has stopped anyone from caring. Citizens in this architecturally sound, industrialized 1868 London ignore the Assassin who has fallen from the sky to kill their target. They'll chastise the killer for pickpocketing the recently deceased though. Video games are dumb.

The world of Syndicate appears oblivious. It's not only the ignorance over murder. This cross-section of the Templar/Assassin war depicts Victorian times as cruel. Story points harshly defame the capitalists within. The villains, dressed in luxurious garb and softly reciting their educated vocabularies, are the equivalent of Wall Street hustlers as seen by Bernie Sanders. Assassin's Creed Syndicate has the modern dividing lines of good/evil.

One side is Donald Trump, the other Sanders. Fox News versus MSNBC.

Syndicate's children work for pennies, sweeping factories owned by Crawford Starrick – Starrick a harsh, devilish name in context that could only be given to a vaudevillian-like criminal. Starrick is an insufferable narcissist. “They're indebted to me, for their lives,” he snivels, comically over spoken as he sips tea while defending his cruel influence on London's smokey skyline.

As a first kill, Syndicate sends one of its twin assassins, Jacob Frye, into a foundry. Mission objectives visually reveal the toll of child labor. Kids huddle in corners for warmth and sweep aimlessly. One becomes injured as a wooden beam collapses.

The portly factory manager, more akin to Batman's Penguin than believable plutocrat archetype, docks the injured child's pay. He crows on about profits, which is apparently the only meaningful word in their industry-driven dialog.

Syndicate's agenda is firm, but speaks down to a typically liberal audience. The material is ridiculous and coercive, appropriate only for a political attack ad. This is somehow the basis for a mega studio's holiday video game.

The Reds are coming

Enemies wear red coats. Those red coats scowl at dusty-faced children to work harder. They recruit suspender-wearing, muscular thugs into their ranks as intimidation. They own territory, conveniently displayed on a map with red markings. Red is bad, unless it's spilled blood.

The good ones wear opposing green. Syndicate's war is like the opening murder melee in Gangs of New York - but at Christmas. The few innocent police dangling in the middle of the affair are accidents, apparently. Video games are dumb.

Superhero assassin's from 1860s expand their rebellious arsenal with gifts from Alexander Graham Bell, Syndicate's item dropping equivalent to James Bond's Q. Bell invents the phone and the grappling hook (who knew?), the latter which is gold to Syndicate's maneuverability. Smokestack to smokestack – traversal wastes less time than before. And how cute and eccentric Bell's dialog is. “Call it a telephone!,” spits an assassin. “Tele? How bizarre,” spouts Bell. That's history according to Assassin's Creed.

This all feels robotic so many games into the series and the numbers-based gatekeeping is absurd.

That's UbiSoft's contemporary design: Far Cry, Assassin's Creed, Watch Dogs, The Crew. Tick off parts of compartmentalized maps, kill/beat targets, unravel a narrative of limited sense. Syndicate is building a radicalized cause, the Occupy Wall Street of smoke stacks and steel, until UbiSoft's tired design philosophy collides with the idea.

And that tired design is purely all numbers, not that most video games are anything but. Police can be turned sympathetic to the overrun of labor exploitation, but only when arbitrary numbers are achieved. They're not joining because of narrative function (as if it would make sense to turn them after murdering their ranks).

Sympathizers join only when crafting resources are gathered. Are they lured by the promise of copper or are they made of wool? Some men can be stabbed 20 times in a fight without effect because a phantom number above their heads reads level 9 instead of 3. Gatekeeping is absurd. “Open” worlds remain only as open as they're allowed to be.

There is some progress.

A female assassin is in the lead. There are counter-acting female villains and the spunky brawling animations are sterling entertainment. Races are represented, too, in this Dickens-like story, which happens to feature Dickens. UbiSoft shows they can learn after the Unity gender uproar. At least in that one regard,Ubisoft has matured and evolved.

But maybe we should expect the entirety of this tower-climbing, raiding, and fighting tentpole to mature and evolve as well. As it sits, Syndicate only has the depth of a grade school textbook, albeit with blood.

Halloween Spooky game sales Tue, 27 Oct 2015 07:39:45 -0400 Andrea Koenig

Games for are all going on sale in time for some super spooky late night sessions this Halloween. Scary themed games like Left 4 Dead and Resident Evil are all dropping prices for downloads across the internet.

Slide into your costumes and skip out on trick-or-treating, folks, because it's time for some gaming. Here's where you need to look to face your fears:

Humble Bundle

Humble Bundle is Capcom themed this week, so if you're feeling a whole lot of Resident Evil, this is the way to go. Highlights to the three donation tiers are as follows:

Tier 1 - $1.00+

  • Resident Evil Revelations 1 - Episode 1

Tier 2 - $9.61+

  • Resident Evil Revelations
  • Devil May Cry
  • Resident Evil 4
  • Resident Evil 5
  • Remember Me

Tier 3 - $15.00+

  • Resident Evil 5: Untold Stories DLC

There will be a coupon also included for 50% off Resident Evil Revelations 2 in the Humble Store. All games are redeemable on Steam.

Head over to Humble Bundle's main page for a full showing of games for all Tiers. Remember, Humble Bundle is pay what you want, for charity. This bundle lasts even after Halloween.

Green Man Gaming

Green Man Gaming has decided to join in the spookfest with some "scaaary savings." See what they found for you to get up to 90% off through Steam this week, along with a special coupon code to receive an additional 22% off in savings. 

They compiled a full list of scary Halloween games that you can see right here, but below are some highlights:

  • Resident Evil Revelations 2 - $21.84
  • Resident Evil HD Remaster - $11.70
  • Resident Evil 6 - $11.70
  • Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition - $14.63
  • Left 4 Dead Bundle - $4.68
  • Kholat - $7.80
  • Lucius 2 - $6.79
  • Anna: Extended Edition - $1.95
  • This War of Mine - $6.24
  • The Escapists: The Walking Dead - $12.64
  • Among the Sleep - $6.24
  • Dead Rising 2: Off the Record - $5.31
  • Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition - $19.50
  • Hektor - $5.31

To use the special Green Man Gaming voucher for an additional 22% off, enter this coupon code at checkout: 


Green Man Gaming Halloween sale is only available until October 30.


GameStop's 2015 Halloween Sale is right up your alley if you're not just looking for games, but collectibles as well. Either way, they have both!

Even if not all listed items below are on sale, the are exclusive to the Halloween season for GameStop:

Collectibles Highlights:

  • October Vault Drop - $25.00
  • Pop! Figure: Nightmare Before Christmas: Jack the Pumpkin King - $10.99
  • Pop! Figure: Nightmare Before Christmas: Nightshade Sally - $10.99
  • Pop! Figure: The Walking Dead: Daryl's Chopper - $24.99
  • Pocket Pop! 3 Pack: Freddy, Jason, Sam - $14.99 

There are also mugs, games, office supplies, and statues from classic slasher movies, The Walking Dead, Nightmare before Christmas, and Ghostbusters. See the full list of collectibles here.

Costumes Highlights:

  • Assassin's Creed Syndicate: Gauntlet & Hidden Blade - $59.99
  • Five Nights at Freddy's shirt - $14.99
  • Diablo Wanderer Coat - $299.99

There are shirts, headpieces, official costume coats, and costume props from The Walking Dead, Diablo, Star Wars, World of Warcraft, Assassin's Creed Unity, Diablo, Watch Dogs and more here.

PC Download Game Highlights:

  • Dead Space 1, 2, 3 - $7.99 each
  • The Evil Within  - $19.79
  • The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct - $12.49
  • Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare - $14.99

See the full list of on-sale PC Downloads right here.

Any special, spooky game you plan on playing or streaming this Hallow's Eve? Or maybe dressing as a game character for a costume? Let us know in the comments.