If there's been one constant with the Assassin's Creed games over the last few years, it's that they have run like shit on PC.
Assassin's Creed 3 didn't do that great, Assassin's Creed 4 was very poorly optimised (and had some very bizarre troubleshooting) and the less we say about Assassin's Creed Unity's disastrous port the better.
So with Assassin's Creed Syndicate coming to PC a month late last week, folks would have been well within their rights to expect the worst.
Maybe it was the extra month's delay, maybe it was changes under the hood of the game itself (gone are the massive crowds and weird lighting tech from Unity), but those folks are in for a pleasant surprise: relative to the dumpster fires of the last few games in the series (Liberty and Rogue's "last gen" ports excepted), this is just fine.
It's not perfect. System requirements are pretty damn high for what's on show, meaning most people won't be playing this game on its highest settings (including a very thirsty max shadows setting) until they buy a PC from the future. And old-fashioned Assassin's Creed weirdness like falling through the world and janky NPC behaviour is as present as ever. But it's nothing like the madness we suffered through at Unity's launch.
I've recorded some gameplay footage on my personal PC, taking the game through its paces on a variety of graphics settings. I've got an i5-4690, a NVIDIA GTX 980, 16GB of RAM and the installation is running off a Samsung SSD 840 EVO.
The settings I've opted to play the game with — balancing performance with prettiness — generally net me around 45 FPS. The vid will show me changing settings to get performance everywhere from 20 FPS right through to 60 FPS. Note that in keeping with funky system settings quirks, the FPS gain made by dropping a bunch of things like AA and texture quality isn't worth the downgrade.
Here are the settings used at the start of the video: