In the 30+ hours I spent playing it (though thankfully not all at once), I learnt a huge amount I wish I’d known at the start. Even if you’ve played every Assassin’s Creed game released, there’s enough changes to how it’s best to play the game that you will make some mistakes.
Below, our tips that everyone playing the game should know whether they’ve played an Assassin’s Creed game before or not.
Moving Around the City
The new grappling hook is basically magic. With it you can travel around 50 in-game metres between buildings in a few seconds. Use it to get around the city at speed.
If you need to go even faster, carriages are the key. You can hijack one without any real penalty at any time and drive through the streets.
The missions to free the boroughs from the Templars are everywhere. Do them when you see them. Otherwise, you’ll end up in a situation where you need to do ten similar side quests back to back which can be a bit tedious.
Similarly, unlocking the map makes playing the game a lot easier. Go out of your way to climb View Points if they’re anywhere near a location you’re heading. They also work as fast travel points which makes it faster to get around the massive map.
After each mission, you’ll need to restock on supplies. There is a shop near almost every View Point. The quickest way to restock can be to fast travel to a View Point and visit the shop there.
While Evie has more of a stealth focus and Jacob has more of a combat focus, both can be played either way. Early on, it’s tempting to focus on the flashy combat or stealth skills however there are simple skills they both need. Upgrading Eagle Vision, Lockpicking and Health are important to both regardless of how you plan to play.
Evie has access to the best stealth skills and Jacob has access to the best combat skills. The difference is small but, towards the end of the game, becomes more pronounced. For example, Evie is able to carry more throwing knives than Jacob. It’s worth specialising them a bit so that you can get access to these better skills.
One of the people who gives you missions, Pearl Attaway, does so from her carriage. It moves around. If you simply run towards her location on the map, you’ll end up chasing your tail like I did. When you’re getting missions off her, watch what way her marker is moving and try to intercept it.
Do the side missions for historical characters. They’re some of the best missions in the game.
In all the major assassinations, there are optional Unique Kills as well as different methods for infiltrating the location. To unlock them, you normally need to find a specific person and either kill, kidnap, or speak to them, depending on the mission. They add an extra little challenge that’s worth pursuing.
The 100% completion criteria can give you a good clue as to how best to go about the mission.
Syndicate is a huge game. Take your time playing it and savour each sequence. I had to rush through it to write my review and I feel I missed out on many great opportunities in the game. I plan to go back and play it more slowly.
Combat has been changed again. In Syndicate, sitting back and waiting to counter attacks won’t get you anywhere. You need to keep going forward. Keep attacking the entire time you’re in combat.
While you’re attacking, watch out for a flashing yellow bar above an enemies head. This means they’re about to attack you. As soon as it appears, counter their attack to keep yours going.
Several missions involve a carriage chase. The most obvious way to stop another carriage is to try and ram it. However, the best strategy is to climb to the roof of your carriage and jump across. If there’s several carriages involved in the chase, you might jump between a few different ones.
The best way to get out of combat is to drop a smoke bomb and then use the grappling hook to get up high.
Stealth is the best way to play the game. It’s much improved in Syndicate. Even if you normally avoid playing stealthily, give it a try.
The rooftop is the playground of the Assassins. In earlier games there’d be a lot of guards on the roofs, that’s not true in Syndicate. There’ll only ever be one or two and they’re normally on lower balconies. Whenever you’re approaching a target get as high as possible.
Eagle Vision is the most important tool for being stealthy. Upgrade it as soon as possible so you can see through walls. Get high, and then use it to see where all the guards are. If you look at them for a moment, they’ll be tagged so you can see them even when you’re not actively using Eagle Vision.
Whistling is back in Syndicate. Many of the memories take place indoors so it’s a really great way of taking out guards. Hide behind some cover, wait until there’s only one guard near by then whistle to bring them close. Once they’re near, take them out.
If you can’t get close enough to assassinate a guard, a headshot with a throwing knife kills them instantly. One of the best ways to open up a path to a target is to get up high and then using throwing knives to clear the way.
Be patient. Most of the guards and non-player characters are on loops even if they’re long. If you see the target in a great spot to assassinate them from, but when you get there they’ve moved on, wait. They’ll come back around in a few minutes.
Almost every building, especially the ones where the major assassinations take place, have multiple points of entry. Use them. If a room has too many guards to sneak across, leave through a window and use the roof to move round to a different side of the building. You can then approach from a different angle.
The Rooks, the gang you build, are great as a distraction. Have them attack the main entrance of an enemy stronghold so that you can sneak in over the rooftops.
Although it’s not focused on as much in Syndicate, social stealth is still a thing. If you stand with a group of random civilians, you’ll blend with them and enemies won’t see you. Social stealth works better than regular stealth in some situations. Switch between them as needed.
It’s now possible to kidnap guards and force them to escort you through restricted areas undetected. Use it to cross wide rooms or courtyards but be careful getting too close to other guards as they’ll detect you. It’s a useful new skill and can sometimes be the only way to cross a large expanse without being seen.
What Tips Do You Have?
If you’ve picked up Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate and have been playing for a bit we’d love to know what tips you have for other players. Please let us know in the comments.
Alternatively, if you’re stuck anywhere, I’ve finished the game so I’m happy to answer any questions — though no spoilers! They’re the worst.