Assassin’s Creed Syndicate: Jack the Ripper – A Conspiracy Within a Conspiracy.

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate’s most anticipated DLC dropped in December last year. Since the season pass went on special on PS4, I finally decided to check it out and see how it held up to the rest of the game.

Warning: Significant spoilers. These have to be addressed in order to analyse the game.

I actually loved Assassin’s Creed Syndicate so my expectations of this DLC were exceptionally high. Especially so, since it contained a famed historical murderer – Jack the Ripper.

The story is set 20 years after the events of AC Syndicate and reintroduces the now older and wiser Frye twins, Jacob and Evie. After an altercation involving Jacob and The Ripper, Jacob goes missing and his sister, Evie Frye, is called on by the familiar Scotland Yard Inspector Frederick Abberline to solve the Ripper murders and potentially find her brother.

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You play the game relatively as Evie Frye. As you roam around London, you’ll notice that all that hard work you did in AC Syndicate, such as liberating burrows or eliminating gang leaders, was all for nought. It seems London has slipped into its old ways of criminal cohorts and it’s up to you to re-establish order. Ultimately, because of this resurgence of gang activity, new mini-missions have opened up that are only set in one region of the map, primarily Whitechapel. These mini-missions were very similar to the objectives in AC Syndicate, only pale in comparison. I found these missions lacking any real substance, this was especially disappointing since the premise for these missions sounded interesting. AC Syndicate features a huge emphasis on prostitutes (as you would expect), that these missions are tailored around. I loved the idea of Evie Frye going out of her way to liberate these women and shame the men who wronged them in the process (there’s literally missions where you do this).
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SHAME! *ding*

Unfortunately for me, they just felt so dull and repetitive, that I couldn’t bring myself to play more of them.

One a side note, there is some carriage riding missions that are very bugged (footage from PS4 version).

The gameplay and activities were very similar to AC Syndicate, but Ubisoft has introduced new skills that can be levelled up. These new skills, referred to as ‘Fear’ really change up the gameplay mechanics, giving you the ability to approach and eliminate enemies in new ways.Assassin's Creed® Syndicate_20160522122832

(Lesson 101: How to instil fear in the hearts of men, then walk away like nothing happened)

Also featured in this DLC are new weapons for your arsenal. For instance, the ‘Fear Bomb’ and ‘Spikes’, are all craftable within the main menu.Assassin's Creed® Syndicate_20160522153518

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Another gameplay feature is the fact that you can play as the psychotic saucy Jack. To be honest I found this a bit odd since a lot of the missions involved you going around killing innocents and/or getting rid of evidence. I couldn’t help but ask myself during these instances, Why am I being made to do this? You become so accustomed to playing as Evie, on the side of the law, trying to catch this psycho, then the game switches you TO said psycho and you become the criminal. It made no sense.
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We get it, you’re insane.

I found the portrayal of Jack the Ripper quite menacing, I loved the depiction of him in this game. Apart from that, however, I found the actual story of ‘Jack the Ripper’ a tad disappointing. For me, I feel this is because they tried to fit it too much into the ‘Assassin Creed canon’, while not really acknowledging most of what they did know about The Ripper at the time. I mean, I get that this is ‘historical fiction’, so Ubisoft shouldn’t have to adhere to boundaries, they can do their own take on a famous historical figure and that’s fair enough. I suppose I just wanted something that was a little more fleshed out, instead AC Syndicate depicts him as an Assassin who has gone rogue from the Creed. Following this logic, the reason why Jack the Ripper’s identity was never known was because he was an Assassin and this had to be covered up. Can’t have word getting out that one of the most sadistic men in history was associated with your respectable organisation. Now I get that Ubisoft were trying to make their own unique ‘conspiracy within a conspiracy’ surrounding Jack the Ripper, that could fit nicely into the AC canon, but I felt that this was too convenient of an explanation. Maybe if the DLC were longer, and gave itself time for us to know more about this version of The Ripper that Ubisoft are trying to portray, then it might of snagged my interest, but there were just too many odds and ends that weren’t tied up, that made the end of the story feel unfinished. I just felt that if the Ripper had a different story arc instead, it might have made the game feel closer to fact than outrageous fiction.Assassin's Creed Jack Screenshot

Like previous Assassin’s Creed titles, they never shy away from accentuating the finer details of the time period. For me, I always feel as though I’m learning something new about history when I play an Assassin’s Creed game. AC Syndicate does this as well, I particularly loved the little historical tidbits of information given in the loading screen about the Industrial Revolution. Since the DLC takes place 20 years later, these historical tidbits reference how London has progressed in that time. I liked how you could access information on Jack the Ripper as new evidence and information occurred. These are fairly detailed as well, listing The Ripper’s murder weapon, details about his victims and where/when he committed these crimes.Assassin's Creed® Syndicate_20160522113652

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Some of the main story missions involve Evie investigating the crime scenes where Jack did his dirty work. These are very reminiscent of the missions titled ‘Dreadful Crimes’ in AC Syndicate (exclusive only to PS4). In AC Syndicate, these missions had a very old school ‘whodunit’ detective feel, so it’s appropriate re-introduction for Jack the Ripper was most welcome.Assassin's Creed® Syndicate_20160503001111

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Finally, I need to address how I loved that Evie, one of the best protagonists of the AC franchise, in my opinion, is the one to rescue her brother and catch the Ripper. Evie Frye’s character is humanised further as you start to see her empathy and rage build for these helpless women, members of her same sex, who are being murdered in brutal ways.Assassin's Creed® Syndicate_20160510234024

Summing up my experience of this DLC, I felt that it didn’t really meet my expectations in the end. Considering this add-on costs $22 AUD, I felt this was overpriced for maybe 3-5 hours of gameplay. Since I loved AC Syndicate, I wanted it to be more of the same and it just wasn’t. I found the new side missions repetitive and unimaginative. The main story had intriguing moments that motivated me to keep playing but overall didn’t fulfil me in the end. I could forgive all this if Ubisoft weren’t charging so much for it, but right now at its current price, I would recommend not getting this, or at least waiting until it’s significantly discounted.

 

All criticisms aside, I’ll just leave this goof here.
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