Game Reviews: Assassin’s Creed Black Flag and Syndicate.

I decided to just review both Assassin’s Creed games as they are the only ones I played so far. And yes, DLC stand alones are included.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHOY!!!

Let’s start with Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag as I already did that bad joke. You play the role of Welsh pirate Edward Kenway, the grandfather of Conner Kenway in Assassin’s Creed 3. Of course since Desmond’s (the actual main character of the earlier games and the direct decedent of Altair and the other main characters so far) dead, you’re actually some intern at Abstergo’s video game department using the Animus to relive Edward’s memories to find some old Precursor temple called the Observatory. But that’s not important right now.

You relive Edward’s life at the point where he encounters the Assassin-turned-traitor Duncan Walpole after you both were the only survivors of a sea battle. Due to a serious injury, Duncan offers you money to take him to Havana. Edward tries to negotiate and Duncan gets pissed off and tries to shoot you, only for the pistol to be wetlocked (I think that’s the term for the powder being wet). He runs away and you have to chase him. At the end of the chase, you end up killing him. As you look through his stuff, you find a letter for him from the current governor of Havana and realize there’s a reward for the information and strange crystal cube that Duncan had. What’s a pirate to do? Simple, steal the guy’s identity. So you steal his Assassin’s robes and decide to go to Havana in the dead guy’s stead.

After exploring the island a little more, you find a merchant being harassed by British Soldiers. You use stealth to clear them out and it turns out the merchant is Stede Bonnet (pre-piracy). As there’s no helmsman for his schooner, you take the role and go to the mutual destination of Havana. A lot of shenanigans happens there (as well as more tutorial). Of course Edward makes the mistake of telling Stede his real name after the first bit’s over. After getting back your stolen loot, you meet the governor of Havana and a few other guys to find out that you and the other two were meant to become Templars. There is a man to be delivered, that era’s Sage (for those of you who don’t know, that’s a person who remembers his past life and was a Precursor in their first). The reason the Sage is needed is because they know where the Observatory is. However, Assassins attack and you have to fight them off and catch the Sage when they try to run away during the commotion.

After all that… you realize that the reward wasn’t want you expected and decide to kidnap the Sage to sell the location of the Observatory yourself. When you break in to break out the Sage… he’s already escaped and your identity is exposed. So your punishment is being forced into slavery. After you’re at sea, you meet a slave named Adewale (pronounced ad-da-wall-eh) and you both break out while the fleet’s going through a storm. After freeing other prisoners, you hijack a brig and sail out of the storm. It’s after that when Edward decides to keep the brig for himself and christen’s it the Jackdaw. And Adewale becomes Edward’s quartermaster.

After repairing the Jackdaw and learning the crafting system, you head for Nassau and meet up with a few of Edward’s friends from his privateer days; James Kidd, Benjamin Hornigold, and Edward Thatch (that’s right, Blackbeard). They decide to make Nassau a Pirate Republic and go one from there. This includes the capture of a Spanish Galleon that belonged to John Du Casse, one of the three Templars you met back in Havana. After killing him, you end up with the island he used for a base while the Galleon gets dragged ashore on an island near Nassau.

While hanging around your base, Kidd takes you along free-running around the island as a way to test you. After realizing your ability to free-run and finding out that you have the sight (Eagle Vision), Kidd tells you to go to a certain place. You end up having to sneak around the coordinates that turned out to be the Assassins’ base. Though Edward refuses to join the Assassins’ cause, you do end up helping them fight off an attack by British Forces via the Templars.

Despite the pleas of Kidd, you are a pirate first. During the quest to find the Sage, you end up in a lot of shit. Like the British going to Nassau and pretty much taking it over while offering pardons for the pirate populace. You end up teaming up with Charles Vane and “Calico” Jack Rackham to escape the blockade. And it’s during this time you find out that James Kidd was really a woman named Mary Read. And if you haven’t guessed already, she’s an Assassin. However, it all goes to hell when you try to locate one of the ships related to the Sage’s current employer (a slaver) and Calico Jack maroons you and Vane. This includes stealing your ship. Not too long after, you get the Jackdaw back and go all the way to Principe to find the Sage; Bartholomew Roberts (aka Black Bart). After freeing him, he turns to piracy.

Along the journey (including before getting marooned I think) you end up witnessing Blackbeard’s death. Hell, when you and Roberts finally get to the Observatory, you end up back stabbed and end up in a Port Royal prison. It’s there you meet Mary Read again with Anne Bonney, who escaped execution because they both claimed pregnancy. You get rescued by the Assassin Mentor while he was attempting to rescue them. Mary dies from the contaminated surroundings after giving birth. It’s her death that finally drives Edward into a drunken stupor sometime later. After he sobers up, Adewale finds him to return the Jackdaw. Adewale then leaves Edward’s crew to become an Assassin.

It’s from this point that Edward gets his life in order. He ends up joining the Assassin Brotherhood and finally goes after Roberts who had been using the Crystal Skull from the observatory to his advantage. In case you didn’t know… the crystal cube from earlier was actually a vial for blood that allows the person holding the skull to spy on whose blood’s in the vial. It’s a rough journey, but you have to kill Roberts before going to the observatory to catch up with Torres (the governor of Havana) who infiltrated the place. After killing him, you find out that you had a daughter from the wife you left behind back in Whales. It ends with you taking her back to England.

Over all… I love this game. It has a good story and I love history. The main drive is basically one’s own desires for fortune and fame being snuffed out to later find redemption. The desire to make things right. And yes… a lot of the direction change in LSPL came from playing this game.

Freedom Cry is next. It’s a stand-alone DLC that’s about Adewale’s time after leaving Edward to join the Assassins. well… it takes place around the timeline in the series where Edward dies in England. Anyway, it’s the prelude to the Haitian Revolution. After getting shipwrecked. Adewale ends up helping the Maroon tribe slaves get ready to rebel. There’s not much to the game compared to the main game. It’s mainly freeing slaves. I do recommend it just for more content to play. And yes, it inspired LSPL’s changes as well.

There’s the $5 PSN Exclusive Aveline DLC, but it’s basically the length of one memory sequence from both Black Flag and Freedom Cry. And it had no inspirations towards LSPL.

Now on to Syndicate. This one… I loved. You play as the twins Jacob and Evie Fry in Victorian England during the Industrial Age. I also liked the costumes in this game as well. Anyway, London is basically in the dumps despite being the top city in the world. Child Labor and criminal activity are rampant. Not to mention that Crawford Starrick, the Grand Master of the Templar’s British Rite is controlling everything. From politics to the criminal underworld, there’s nothing that’s not within his grasp.

Originally, the twins were supposed to go back with their mentor after both somehow botching up their first mission. Instead, they decide to go to London where only one Assassin has been keeping watch. That guy was Henry Green, a member of the Indian (As in India) brotherhood who had been requesting something be done about Starrick for a long time, the first three letters ignored. Henry thinks that the twins came in response to the third, when in reality they came without permission.

Both twins have their own missions to complete. Jacob starts a gang called the Rooks in order to combat Starricks gang the Blighters, who had taken over all of London’s underword. Most of Jacob’s missions involve the Rooks and his attempts to take down Starrick. Evie on the other hand… she prioritizes looking for the Precursor Artifact that her target from the tutorial mission talk about during his death scene. Most of her stuff is a race against Lucy Thorne, Starrick’s right hand woman. It includes a mission to infiltrate the Kenway Mansion (Edward from ACIV’s home after retiring from piracy) because of Edward’s journal. The pirate-turned-Assassin had discovered the artifact and hid it somewhere in London.

During the story, you meet many historical figures. Like Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens (one of my all-time favorite authors), Karl Marx, Duleep Singh, Florence Nightingale, and even Queen Victoria II herself. Oh, Fredrick Abberline too. Who am I forgetting… oh yeah, Alexander Graham Bell. How could I forget him?

Anywho, Jacob ends up killing too many important people in his quest to get rid of Starrick’s influence. This includes getting the Lambeth Asylum shut down and lowering the value of British currency by killing the president of the Bank of England. Evie always ends up having to try to clean up his messes while trying to find the Shroud of Eden. The story ends with Lucy being killed by Evie before finding out the Shroud is beneath Buckingham Palace. It’s there that both Twins and Henry have to fight against a shroud empowered Starrick to stop him from abusing it’s power. It ends with a bang.

Overall… I loved this game too. I liked the new mechanics such as the Zipline gun and the ring when you’re in stealth mode that tells you how close an enemy is. And yeah, I liked driving carriages when not pretending to be Batman. Though I do miss sailing around in a ship and getting into navel battles like you could in Black Flag. But the story was good to the point where you’re glad they spent more effort on it to the point they didn’t add a multiplayer mode. Though… I think a co-op mode would had suited the game more.

The stand-alone DLC for this one is Jack the Ripper. It takes place 20 years after Syndicate and you play as Evie on her hunt to stop London’s most notorious serial killer. The main story behind it is that Jack was actually in the Brotherhood after being taken in by Jacob at a young age. After taking Jack to India to learn their brotherhood’s “Fear Tactics”, Jack eventually became radical and made his own version of the Creed. Jacob sent three initiates to kill Jack, and they died instead. They ended up being the first three prostitutes killed by the Ripper… according to the newspapers.

The Fear Tactics become a new Gameplay mechanic introduced in the DLC. You play most of the game as an older Evie, but some of it as Jack. It ends in the basement of the Lambeth Asylum where Evie after a difficult battle kills Jack to free Jacob (who had been taken by Jack earlier in the game). Most of the game is helping Abberdine find Jack the Ripper. Jack had done many things, including taking over the Rooks and control London through fear. As for why… I’ll not spoil that one.

Overall it was a suspenseful thriller. Because all the skills from the main game weren’t included, it’s more challenging. And come on, you’d want the opportunity to hunt down Jack the Ripper too. Don’t deny it guys.

Both of these Assassin’s Creed titles are recommendations from yours truly. Even their stand-alone DLCs are worth getting the season passes to get. Some day… I wouldn’t mind live streaming either of them for you guys. However… it would be more difficult with Syndicate as it doesn’t include multiple saves like Black Flag does. Hell, I had to play Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen on one of my other PSNs because that game only gives one save file.

Anywho, both games are worth picking up if you get the chance. Even if you don’t complete the stories, there’s still the other activities to play around with. Hell, I did whaling in Black Flag just because I could. Trust me, Green Peace would probably hate me for all the virtual whales I hunted. And even though I don’t need to do it, I like pulling off train robberies in Syndicate. As well as do the Fight Clubs and Carriage Races. And in both you get unique methods of travel. I loved sailing in Black Flag, the crew sings Sea Shanties while you sail. And navel battles are fun. As for Syndicate… you know me. I like pissing off a bunch of enemies to use a smoke bomb to escape before using the grappling hook launcher. And using it to go across the rooftops. Whether you play because you love the story or just fooling around, both are fun.

Thus this was my review of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.

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2 thoughts on “Game Reviews: Assassin’s Creed Black Flag and Syndicate.

  1. Thanks for the review! I’d have to say, of all the AC games, I’d be most likely to pick up Syndicate, because Victorian London + strong female protagonist = awesome. But for the moment, the only thing in my eyes is the Horizon… 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Syndicate is a good game. Though it’s leveling system made it unique. You actually have to spend the earned skill points to increase level. You get one for every thousand exp you earn, but you have to spend them. Evie is actually more “stealth” oriented while Jacob’s more or a brawler character. You can tell that by the unique skills you can unlock for either of them.

      Another AC game that had a strong female protagonist was Liberation. Though… it’s last gen. But you can get the protagonist Aveline’s outfit for Evie in Syndicate… if you have a certain amount of xp on Uplay with AC games. As I played Black Flag first, I was able to have enough xp on Uplay to get Aveline’s outfit. I liked to wear it during carriage races because it has a tricorn hat. Another AC title that has a strong female lead was AC Chronicles: China. Shao Jun is a kick-ass heroine from what I’ve heard. And yes, you can get her outfit for Evie in Syndicate as well.

      Liked by 1 person

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