Assassin’s Creed is one franchise that is really up and down, one game is good, the next could use some improvement, another is plain awful, and then we get a truly memorable and great one. You know the game we all think of, Assassin’s Creed 2, Black Flag, and now a new contender that really has left the others behind. 2015’s entry in the yearly Assassin’s Creed franchise really was a step up, a cut above the rest if you will, Syndicate truly changed the franchise and made itself my personal favorite and a game that is really hard to argue with.

In part the reason I feel so strongly for this game is likely the history, Syndicate places us in the Industrial Revolution a peaceful yet also sad time. In matters of history this is the point I am most fascinated by, and it is simply because of how the world changed and people moved from nature to be part of this world change. The game never quite extends into the deeper part of history but still, I only know more about certain points in this time from studying a series of writers known as the Romantics from that era. But anyway I am getting off topic, I just thought it would be nice to share information, but back to the game.

The game really changed things, and for the sake of it this was a true step in the right direction, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate featured a much more distinct story which was played out between not one but two protagonists. Better still we got to enjoy the game as not just a male character but a female (okay I know we have played as a girl before but those games were spinoffs not so much main) who were twins each with their own goals and talents. We hear about their distinct views, we see their distinct playstyles, and we even see the confliction of their goals. Jacob’s focus on killing Templars worked as an inverse to Evie’s goal of finding a piece of Eden, but this also made things better as the story could vary down these branching paths.

Even the gameplay somewhat improved because of this, I admit to a couple of problems that popped up with the changes but overall things got better as we our character unique skills could often come in handy when attempting missions or side quests. Jacob’s focus on fighting was the ying to Evie’s stealth focus yang, both stylings were pretty good and offered some variety to the core gameplay that really made me wonder where are they going to from here?
Industrial Revolution London also acted as one of the series best set pieces, London felt alive and each mission holds relevance to the greater problems of the era. You set out to liberate children from factories, you caught gang leaders and you built a gang, there is a lot going in the world and each little bit is a whole lot of fun especially as you complete missions and liberate sections of London.

For me though one of the biggest things was the overall improvements made across the game, at nearly every turn the developers have taken it upon themselves to update some of the games features and just about all of it is for the best. One of the biggest fixes is the throwing knife capability for long range combat, right from the start you have this at your disposal and they pulled me through so many situations. The other thing that really helped this become even better was the addition of the grapple gun which made getting to rooftops and crossing streets less of a chore and overall more enjoyable, alternately the number of vehicles littered around London do also help and London really does become one of the series best playgrounds.

Ubisoft definitely did their core franchise right this year and has offered one of the year’s best action games as well as franchised games. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is a truly remarkable game that deserves all the recognition it can get, this is Ubisoft’s crown jewel for 2015 and really one of the year’s best games, but will be Game of the Year?

In case you missed them our previous Game of the Year nominees include:

Splatoon

Batman Arkham Knight

Fallout 4