View Full Version : [Preview] Assassin's Creed Syndicate : Hands On - First Impressions

20-11-15, 11:11 AM
Hi guys, my first impressions of AC: Syndicate

I bought the game at Greenmangaming for $37.56 at a 36% discount from $59.99 and started up Uplay to activate it. But since it was the launch day, Ubisoft servers were being overrun with traffic and “service not available” messages were flocking up on my screen. It took 20 minutes before Uplay could confirm that it had recognized the key and the game was in my library now and started downloading (Thank heavens for that because I was going to file a ticket). However as a consolation, during those 20 minutes I did keep getting “This key is already activated on this account” message, but oddly enough my Uplay library wasn’t showing the game in it, which initially alarmed me a little, anyway.

The download speed was fine, ranging from 250kb/sec to 480kb/sec on a PTCL 4mb DSL connection.

My rig is a modest one
i5 4670
8 GB ram
Sapphire R9 270x 2 GB

The game downloads about 37.5 GB of data and unpacks it to around 43 GB of installation size. What I liked about the download was that you don’t have to wait for the entire game to be on your storage media to play it. The game gives you the option to play as soon as it hits 6 GB of downloaded data, at least that is when it gave me the option, it may vary for others, I am not sure. Anyway, I was able to fire it up, and it detected that I had outdated video drivers which wasn’t true since I was running the latest 15.7.1 AMD catalyst suite. To be sure I rechecked for any updates and found that there had been none [UPDATE: There is a beta driver out for it now] (http://support.amd.com/en-us/kb-articles/Pages/latest-catalyst-windows-beta.aspx). Anyhow, unbeknownst to me, the game launched by default, on the first run, at 720p, low quality preset, which I later changed as soon as I was in the main game menu.

However even at the lowest visual settings, the game looks good enough to be played without breaking immersion (more on this later) Below are some shots on 720p low quality:







There is something which struck me as odd though. The in-game graphics quality menu shows the GPU Vram usage of your quality settings. On 720p low quality preset the game was using 1866/2000 MB of Vram. That gave me pause since it meant I couldn't play on my desired settings i.e 1080p high quality. To test it out I changed the resolution to 1080p and the quality to high preset, one notch lower than ultra. The Vram meter showed that I had gone overboard and was using 2766 MB of Vram over 2000 MB but it accepted my settings nonetheless. Do note that while you can change the game resolution instantly, to change the graphics quality settings you have to restart the game for it to take effect, which I did.

Well following that, I have had the opportunity to play AC Syndicate for only 45 minutes but from the get-go it's apparent that Ubisoft has learned something from the botched up effort that was AC: Unity. Syndicate plays like a charm, even on my aging R9 270x which has 2 GB of ram only. The AnvilNext seems to be quite optimized and tweaked for the PC platform.

And as I was saying earlier it was a pleasant surprise to see that despite the excessive use of Vram, now showing 2770 MB being consumed against my paltry 2 GB card, the game gave me consistent minimum 45 fps and maximum 66fps without breaking a sweat on 1080 high quality with FXAA antialiasing.

Below are shots from 1080p high quality preset.









The gameplay is smooth. So if you have a 2 GB card, odds are you can play AC: Syndicate fine on 1080p medium settings at the least.

The plot again is crap and gibberish just spoken by a leather-clad girl on the screen:
She summarizes in a minute why there is a new game in the series, the Templars are up to their old tricks regarding a new piece of Eden which they have spotted in London, Rebecca and Shaun are back, with Shaun being the same dry-humored geek-nerd he is since Ubisoft introduced him years back in a (failed) effort to put some humor in the story. The rest of it is not revealed and thankfully it doesn't affect you since the story has never been a highlight of the franchise, except perhaps AC2.

The problem I found within the first 10 minutes of gameplay was that while the game looks absolutely beautiful and the environment vividly detailed, the NPC's are a letdown. Not in the visual sort of way, indeed they are quite detailed and the game space is filled with them. However, they don't react realistically at all to the gameplay.


For instance here in the Ferris Iron mill, no one is bothered or concerned why a young man is jumping across their factory and shutting down machines which they are operating. I actually shut 3 machines down with their respective engineers and workers looking at me standing 2 feet apart from me and saying nothing.

This breaks up the game immersion badly for the player and for me it ruins the gorgeous visuals and tons of details. It made me remember the good old game, Project IGI, an fps shooter in which every Russian soldier who spotted you said the same dialogue line "Hey, You!" and then started firing at you with his Spaz gun. But even while the line was the same, it kept me immersed in the game, it reminded me that there was danger and I had to do something about it and the game and its characters imitated a real-world reaction.

UPDATE: I found that the NPC's do cower and wince or try to run away when you throw a dead body in front of them, however if it's not in front of them, they usually don't do anything. Half blessing I guess.

That part is missing sorely in AC: Syndicate. You feel like you are wading through a crowd of robots who are too busy working or speaking or moving while you sneak, murder, beat up guys and so on and so forth.

I got the chance to assassinate a manager and kill some of his goons. The fist fights are much better in AC: Syndicate, the animation is more realistic and has more weight. The physics certainly seemed to have improved, although it still takes about 5 minutes to kill a person, something that has been the same since AC 2.

The dialogue subtitles are great and translate the British slang for you in ().

Well, that is it, guys, my first hands-on impression of AC Syndicate. London is pure eye candy, the map seems huge, crowds are plenty and the whole steampunk setting of Victorian London is mesmerizing. Jacob sneaks, walks, jumps, climbs and fights effortlessly, the controls seem better and the gameplay has made improvements. The game is fairly optimized and should run fine with any 4 core processor with 8 GB of ram and 2 GB of Vram on medium to high settings on 1080p, regardless of what the in-game Vram meter tells you.

However, should you experience frame drops, try turning off Vsync and Antialiasing, as both settings take at least 200 MB of Vram each.

I haven't had the time to play with Evie because I played this morning at 7 a.m. and was getting very late for work. I will post more updates when I play again. Some of the things may turn out to be better, like NPC reactions in the later game, and if so, I will post updates.

Cheers and hope you enjoy your game.

20-11-15, 12:05 PM
zabardast i got 270x too let c

20-11-15, 12:40 PM
wow even at these settings game looks gorgeous, Mine is 50% complete and i am hoping to run it on high settings also AMD released new driver update for Syndicate, Fallout 4 and more so weekend is gonna be epic :tv:

20-11-15, 12:41 PM
wow even at these settings game looks gorgeous, Mine is 50% complete and i am hoping to run it on high settings also AMD released new driver update for Syndicate, Fallout 4 and more so weekend is gonna be epic :tv:

Congrats. What Gpu do you plan to run it on?

20-11-15, 02:05 PM
AC series sucks now... The last title that i really enjoyed was AC 3 and more or less Black Flag... It has become an eye candy. I'd love if they improve the game-world and the story rather than improving the graphics :s
Anyways nice preview :)

20-11-15, 02:14 PM
AC series sucks now... The last title that i really enjoyed was AC 3 and more or less Black Flag... It has become an eye candy. I'd love if they improve the game-world and the story rather than improving the graphics :s
Anyways nice preview :)

I agree with you. The story and gameplay have evolved little since AC2.

20-11-15, 07:52 PM
Congrats. What Gpu do you plan to run it on?

I bought R9 390 Bro, So you gave more time to syndicate? Impressions please.

20-11-15, 10:05 PM
Note, I have installed the new beta drivers 15.11.1 out for AC: Syndicate.

So I played a little more, here is the VRAM usage meter. Please note that this is just an estimate. It shows the max VRAM the game could use, normally in the game the actual amount of VRAM is lower, except for heavy crowded scenes. My frame rate dipped in the 20's once when there were 6 - 8 characters onscreen in cut scene dialogue, with effects of rain, storm, thunder and lightning.


A note on our twins. Jacob is rash where Evie is the embodiment of grace, her every move and action has an elegance to it. Don't get me wrong, though. Evie is one girl you don't wanna mess with. First two missions are kind of tutorial missions, very easy and straightforward. Jacob has the first one and Evie has the second. These starting missions are quite boring.

However as far as real gameplay is concerned, the game shows you screens (ala Dishonored) on how to make use of stealth and environment, but honestly it doesn't matter because combat is easy and fluid, counters are now very prompt and the overall combat ends with you standing with a pile of bodies, no matter the count. You can just go in guns blazing and finish off the mission, so there is no real incentive to stealth mechanics in the game.




See that lantern on the ground, you can kick it and it moves and produce dynamic lightning effect which is f**king beautiful.


The eagle vision in my opinion is much cleaner in this game than in previous installments. Everything greys out, enemies are tagged in red, and important figures in gold/yellow.


Graphics, as we know are stellar. Just look at that skin, particles and highlights.




Let talk about NPC's a little more. I find their reactions rather less intelligent and more scripted and even then they could vary.

For instance, I killed someone on the street and people went bat-shit crazy, running and crying and terrified, which is understandable. However when I killed someone in the Ferris factory, the two children standing there just shrugged and kept cleaning the floor.


See the dead guy above, now just look at the two kids, just minding their own business while standing in the same room with a bloody corpse and a killer. Amazing isn't it?
That is AI for you.

There is one thing however that I disliked is the new free run down mechanism. In previous games we had to run and then press space and our subject just went from one place to another. However here you have to use another key. This was frustrating to use as I am not used to this. I did have some difficult time climbing up and down buildings because when I pressed space it did nothing.


Oh! and did I tell you that Evie punched and detached the train from its engine? Like literally punched it, I swear I'm not kidding.

That is it for now. Will add more later.

20-11-15, 10:25 PM
i think it can be good Review to be on front page with good compilation.

20-11-15, 10:33 PM
I agree Neo is doiing a fantastic job, and btw Neo did you see any FPS increase/decrease after the new driver update?

20-11-15, 10:53 PM
I agree Neo is doiing a fantastic job, and btw Neo did you see any FPS increase/decrease after the new driver update?
Thanks. To be honest, I didn't spot any improvement in FPS in AC: Syndicate.

Although in Fallout 4, there is a marked improvment, especially in Diamond city and good neighbourhood area, the god rays now render quite fast and the frame dips are quite uncommon, the game is constantly hitting 60fps.

20-11-15, 11:05 PM
Some closeups of Evie, the best Assassin after Ezio and Kenway. And just look at the detail of the twins' clothing, isn't it brilliant? If only Bethesda character models were this good.








20-11-15, 11:36 PM
@neox3d (http://www.pakgamers.com/forums/member.php?u=124622) Fantastic write-up! (y) I'll be following this thread, if just to read your impressions because nothing can make me buy another AC game.

21-11-15, 12:02 AM
@neox3d (http://www.pakgamers.com/forums/member.php?u=124622) Fantastic write-up! (y) I'll be following this thread, if just to read your impressions because nothing can make me buy another AC game.

Thanks Ottoman I would concur with you, there is not much value except for the nostalgia and affinity that I have for the AC series from glory-days. Me and my sister are both gamers and die-hard fans of the AC franchise and with every new game in the series we hope to have a nice time playing. Eh! the good old days.

22-11-15, 04:43 AM
UPDATE: Played for 4 more hours and want to share some things.

I explored London a little. And guys the amount of detail in this game is staggering. It's crazy!. I thought Skyrim was the king of open worlds but AC: Syndicate is the new king. The map of London is segregated into boroughs with each borough having a boss. There are 5-6 areas inside a borough which you have to liberate in order to free that area. The eagle-vantage synchronization points which are often too many on any AC game have been reduced, with each borough only having 2-3 of those. And climbing them is a pain in the neck. However, the players are rewarded with stunning cityscapes. Each borough has its own suggested player level which equates to the difficulty level of that area.



The gameplay hasn't improved much although the new rope launcher is a saving grace for the players because it would be a time-taking chore to travel across this map. It gives our Frye twins the same capability as the Batman, but getting the rope launcher to work is really a 'hit n miss' experience, although when it does work, it works great, making you capable of gravity defying climbs. In my experience, the launcher works best when you are on a flat surface and standing. If you are crouched on a railing the launcher might not work.






There are some new types of missions. One of these is the kidnapping mission, however, it has more of a gun-point-struggle nature, IMO. However, you do end up with having the satisfaction of shoving someone into a carriage.




Carriage driving is fun, initially, although the charm fades off rally quickly. The carriage does take damage and it shows visually in the game.


My ride after some encounters with Blighters...

Also, there are two types of thieves in London, adults and kids. If you chase an adult the animation used is a rough tackle, however if your thief is a child, you just grab him by the shoulder. Quite considerate of Ubisoft.

Combat seems monotonous, there is, however, a skill tree and a weapon and gear upgrade system. There is also a recruitment and economy system in AC: Syndicate, both being borrowed from AC: Brotherhood.




The highlight, of course, is the sheer size of Ubisoft's London. There is a dynamic day and night system and you can see the sun and moon moving across the sky. Night time London looks very spooky.








The views of this city kept me in awe. Ubisoft's AnvilNext is certainly the benchmark of what a game could look like. These shots were taken during the synchronization of viewpoints; and they show how massive and detailed this city is.














And guys, you should really know, these shots are from 3 districts of London only, I haven't been to others yet!

Then you should see the amount of detail on the streets, muddy ones, wet ones having grime, dirt, faliing leaves and what not. Chances are you will find everything here:







When it rains, the water on street splashes. The same happens when you run through a puddle of water. Also, if it is raining NPC's shiver and react as if they are cold. They stretch out their hands to see if it's raining.

I did find a few visual glitches/bugs. Without spoiling the story or missions, I will just share them here.

You'd think she was smoking a cigar, but she wasn't.

This person was supposed to ring a bell which was on street level, however, he was jammed here in this pose. With no animation at all. So I took my time looking around and finally when I was bored I shoved a blade into his head, all at my leisure time.

One frustrating thing I found was, if you are on an active mission, then the map does not show fast travel points. At first I thought it was a glitch or a bug but later realized that it was a design choice. A very odd design choice since it defeats the purpose of a sandbox open-world game. Now instead of fast travel points you have already unlocked, you only have the option to run and climb or take a carriage to go there. And to be honest, I like doing a lot of things on a whim, so this was a big turndown for me. I like how in Bethesda games you can postpone missions and do whatever the heck you want to do, including fast travel. Sadly this isn't the case here. You have to be "mission free" to be able to use fast travel.

Anyway, this is it for now guys. I will update later. Hope you enjoyed this.

Spartan 117
22-11-15, 05:56 PM
Nice impressions dude. Makes me wanna start it and see the beautiful scenery.

I haven't been able to catch up on the Assassins creed series since AC III. But I have been meaning to dive into it for a while now. Have recently bought an Xbone controller for PC too just for games like these.

22-11-15, 06:22 PM
Hot damn! Those draw-distances and level of detail though. Ubisoft has some serious talent that should be better utilized elsewhere.

23-11-15, 04:39 AM
man...you are making this game look good..nice coverage..you mind if we put this on front page

23-11-15, 07:44 AM
man...you are making this game look good..nice coverage..you mind if we put this on front page

Thanks. Not at all, go ahead.

24-11-15, 07:26 PM
Brilliant insight bud......

25-11-15, 06:23 PM
@neox3d (http://www.pakgamers.com/forums/member.php?u=124622) Fantastic write-up! (y) I'll be following this thread, if just to read your impressions because nothing can make me buy another AC game.
I am sort of addicted to AC games (I love the the complexity). This thread has refreshed my addiction lol. So... does this beautiful presentation by neox3d implant any changed ideas/thoughts in your mind?

25-11-15, 11:29 PM
I am sort of addicted to AC games (I love the the complexity). This thread has refreshed my addiction lol. So... does this beautiful presentation by neox3d implant any changed ideas/thoughts in your mind?
I used to adore Assassin's Creed games. I was addicted to CoD4 MP but ACII made it put it down once and for all. Never looked back since.

I think my actual disdain for the franchise stems from a principled stand against Ubisoft's practice of annual releases and milking the cash cow. And I don't want to encourage it by buying the game. Just as I would never buy another Call of Duty game and have been avoiding Fifa for many years.

And I can relate to neox3d when he says that nostalgia is one of the factors influencing his decision to play the game (AC1 is one of my favourite game of all-time). I'm sure the environment, plot and characters are compelling but I can't bring myself around to playing another AC game. Reached a point where it's starting to feel like a soap opera.

26-11-15, 12:36 AM
Minor update, as I have been very busy and couldn't play much.

Just unlocked Ezio's Armour, this has bonus perks with it e,g 10% increase in stealth, decrease in noise reduction, some other perks etc. etc.




And that's Charles Darwin with me.


Ezio's Armour's close-up

Minor spoiler here, as I came across the game's antagonist Crawford Starrick:



I can't help it as this man reminds me time and time again of Daniel Day lewis's Character, the oil tycoon from 'There will be blood'. Anyway, this guy comes off as menacingly cool. If the Farcry series has taught us anything, it's that Ubisoft can put fantastic antagonists in their games, aka, Vaas, Pagan Min. Here I hope this guy lives up to the hype, although, in his opinion, English tea is a 'miracle'...that however was super creepy IMO.

Now that I have put some time in the game, I can't help but notice uncanny resemblances which AC: Syndicate shares with some of the recent games. The cover system around corners is so like the Arkham games that I was baffled, even the camera moves, in the same way. Then the rope launcher also comes from the same game series. I don't blame Ubisoft though, these gadgest and mechanics were surely needed. My only complaint is that they feel unoriginal and uninspired. I can almost imagine the Devs asking the question, 'Ok, so we made this huge map with sky scrappers, and climbing and crossing it requires a lot of time, so what should we do?'

And I think they looked at GTA and Arkham Games and just copied pages out of their books.

Also, the game gives you the impression that you can approach missions in a variety of way. This is true to some extent, but it has no real effect or advantage. So, in essence, the choice is useless. Dishonored, a game that defines choices in the gameplay is way ahead of AC: Syndicate in this regard. There, at least, stealth is an option because it really changes how you play, but in AC: Syndicate, stealth seems like a design choice for the sake of it. It's like Ubisoft wants to please everyone.

Will update later.

27-11-15, 10:33 AM
AC Syndicate is the best AC up till now.