It’s no secret that Assassin’s Creed Syndicate was my favorite game of 2015. I’ve talked about it on almost every episode of our podcast since it came out. I made it my pick for Game of the Year, even though we’re a family gaming website.
I also convinced a bunch of people to play it. As of January 14, I count at least seven people that I’ve convinced to play the game. I think I can do better than that; my personal record for convincing people to enjoy a thing I enjoy stands at 14 (thanks, “A Song of Ice and Fire!”).
But my personal achievements aside, one of the things that pleases me the most is hearing from people who thought they wouldn’t like the game.
Courtney is one of those people.
I yammered at her about the game for a solid two months, and she picked it up over Christmas break. She gave me her insights on why she loves the game, which I think is really interesting given that this is her first Assassin’s Creed experience. Ahhh, youth!
One of the things we discussed was how much historical content is in Syndicate and the ways you could still enjoy it even if you have young kids in the house.
In a word: tourism!
1) London Locations
There are tons of re-creations of real London locations in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. Courtney has visited and studied London before, so she enjoyed walking around the enormous, open-world city and finding monuments she was familiar with.
It was also fun for her to see what recognizable buildings were missing, because they had been built after the game’s 1868 setting.
Syndicate takes players to famous London locations like St. Paul’s Cathedral, the monument to the Great Fire of London, and the Tower of London.
In a sequence set during World War I, you can climb Tower Bridge, which was opened in 1894.
The best part about all these locations is that you can explore them without ever engaging with the game’s more violent content. As long as you’re careful, running around the streets of London can be a totally explorational experience.
Pro-tip: Get the gang upgrades that make it so members of the enemy gang, the Blighters, won’t attack you in the streets. That goes a long way towards preventing bloodshed.
2) Historical Figures
Courtney claims that Assassins didn’t really help Charles Dickens solve hauntings, and that Queen Victoria didn’t actually ask the Brotherhood for help defending England from the Templars. On that, we disagree.
But it’s true that in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, you can chat it up with a lot of historical figures!
Many of the Charles Dickens missions involve solving mysteries, rather than fighting. And if a little murder is fine with you, the Dreadful Crimes involve investigating crimes that have already happened. The twins’ Eagle Vision gives them the unique ability to find hard-to-spot evidence.
There are also easter eggs hidden around London. In this video, Courtney found Lewis Carroll reading his poem, “Jabberwocky,” to a group of children in the streets. These kinds of finds can be great opportunities to introduce younger players to new writing or art.
3) So Many Collectibles
Much like visiting the real London means you’ll spend time crammed in a neon-accented tourist shop looking for just the right Big Ben magnet, visiting Syndicate’s London means finding stuff.
London is stuffed to the gills with stuff you can collect—from chests full of money, to pressed flowers, to historical illustrations. As long as you’re fully upgraded you can run around finding these things without getting into trouble in the streets.
The music boxes especially can provide challenging fun for riddle-loving players. Each music box gives you a riddle and a photo that serves as a clue to the location of the next music box. You can use those to track down all the secrets of London, a trip that will take you to every borough.
I’m a little addicted to taking screenshots of Jacob and Evie around London. I’ve got great screenshots of them posing with cats, for example. They’re my pride and joy.
There are lots of gorgeous vistas all around London and lots of strange, funny scenes you can come across in the street. If you’re looking for a nonviolent activity to do in Syndicate’s London, having a casual photography contest is a great way to spend an afternoon.