A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Sensationalizes bloody, brutal melee combat, but authentic settings, actual historical characters may encourage players to take an interest in the Victorian era, associated historical characters.
Positive Role Models
Evie and Jacob Frye -- twin sister and brother -- presented as intellectual, physical equals. Both fight for freedom, undertake tasks to eliminate oppression, corruption, child labor. But they tend to solve problems with a mixture of violence, intimidation, sometimes shady political tactics.
Ease of Play
Good tutorials, gradually growing difficulty should help players new to the series acclimate on their own terms. But series' complex narrative, poorly explained preceding story line could prove intimidating to new players.
Violence & Scariness
Players use canes, knives, brass knuckles, bare fists to bloodily beat, kill countless enemies. Animations show humans getting arms, legs broken, faces smashed into objects. Guns, knives used to kill from a distance, splashes of blood erupting with each hit. A sequence in a hospital shows people being tortured by doctors with electroshock therapy; crude tools shoved into the cranium of a live patient.
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Occasional strong profanity, including "f--k," "s--t," "bastard," "damn," "ass."
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Products & Purchases
Players are lightly encouraged to make in-game purchases on items such as single-use boosts that speed character leveling. Game is part of a long-running, popular franchise that includes other games, merchandise, figures.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters mention opium several times, imbibe alcohol (with no effect on their abilities), seen smoking tobacco in pipes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Assassin's Creed Syndicate is a historical action-adventure game that strives for authenticity in its Victorian London setting and historical characters. It could inspire some players to take an active interest in Victorian-era-related historical characters, from Charles Dickens to Karl Marx. But though the two primary playable characters, male and female twins, fight for ideals such as freedom from oppression, the end of government corruption, and elimination of child labor, much of the action is centered on violence involving brutal and bloody melee combat. Players will see arms and legs broken, characters stabbed in the chest and face, and civilians tortured at the hands of sadistic doctors. The narrative also includes mature content including strong language, drug reference, and alcohol and tobacco consumption. Note, too, that players are encouraged to make in-game purchases to enhance their experience, and this is the latest game in a long-running franchise that could get gamers interested in those titles and related merchandise.
Is It Any Good?
This action-adventure game is a return to basics for Ubisoft's signature series. It ditches competitive and cooperative multiplayer to focus on the franchise's primary strength: smooth single-player action in a sprawling and meticulously detailed open world. The technical problems that plagued its predecessor, Assassin's Creed Unity, have been largely eliminated. Syndicate's Victorian-era London is beautiful, breathtaking in its scope and design and (for the most part) runs at a smooth 30 frames per second. It feels like stepping 150 years into the past, and it raises the bar for lifelike sandbox worlds. You can have fun simply riding around on one of London's trains and gazing out over the game's living, breathing city. The action, meanwhile, is very compelling. Combat has been lightly revamped and now feels smoother than ever, with a well-choreographed dance of cane strikes, brass-knuckle punches, and quick pistol shots. And though it's a little more difficult to make parkour runs through London's architecture, which is noticeably taller and more diverse than that of previous cities featured in the series, the addition of a grappling gun helps balance things out, allowing players to quickly and easily zip from rooftop to rooftop.
It's not perfect, though. Bounding across the Thames, leaping from boat to boat, feels weirdly like playing Frogger and is at odds with the realism of the rest of the game. Driving bulky carriages through London's narrow streets, leveling lamp posts and plowing through crowds of civilians, is similarly off-putting. But, by and large, Assassin's Creed Syndicate is a return to form for one of modern gaming's defining series.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.