Heads up, PC gamers: In case you didn’t know, each week, you can get free games on the Epic Games Store. Think of it like Microsoft or Sony’s free-game programs, except you don’t need to pay for a monthly subscription. This morning, the digital storefront put up a truly epic title. Between now and next Thursday, February 28, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate is up for grabs.
If you missed the game when it first came out, all the way back in 2015, now’s your chance to play what, by many accounts, is one of the stronger entries in the franchise.
Set in lushly rendered Victorian-era London, Syndicate tweaked the character structure. Rather than playing as a pirate lothario or a literal Renaissance man, players are put in the shoes of two characters: twins Evie and Jacob Frye. Kind of like Grand Theft Auto V, you can swap between them, and play to their different strengths. Jacob’s tougher in a fight, while Evie’s a bit stealthier. Narratively, their respective missions differ, too. Edie’s missions tend to be exploration-based, while Jacob spends much of his time picking off the unsavoury baddies of the Industrial Revolution.
Syndicate is the last vestige of an old era of Assassin’s Creed games, before the series pivoted to daunting maps and needlessly complex RPG mechanics. (Why do I need to level-up Kassandra’s Fire Mastery? Just give me back the hidden blade!) Unlike the two most recent Assassin’s Creed games, Origins and Odyssey, Syndicate is a reasonably finishable game. You needn’t commit five months and 150-hours to conquer the map. Give it 30 or 40 hours and you’ll be good.
But Syndicate’s greatest innovation is, by far, how it switches up traversal in Assassin’s Creed games. In previous entries, you’d run, climb buildings, jump from roof to roof, accidentally miss a jump and then have to climb all the way back up another building. Syndicate remedies that by introducing a tool called the rope line, a zippy grappling hook-type gizmo that allows you to zip around London like a 19th-century Batman. The thing’s a blast, and Syndicate is the only Assassin’s Creed game to feature it. (Ubisoft, if you’re listening, please bring it back in the next game!)
We recommend Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate on any platform. If you’d prefer to play it on PC via Steam, it’s currently available for $45.