Review: Assassin’s Creed Syndicate: Jack the Ripper
Jack the Ripper is a well-known killer who killed several women in the Whitechapel district of London. These murders were so brutal that a lot of people started to believe that Jack the Ripper was some kind of supernatural killer. Police forces never found out who the mysterious killer was, and until today, he is considered as one of the sickest and most brutal serial killers of Europe. The Ripper became a boogeyman, a tale parents told their children, something unreal. Now, the Ripper enters the world of Assassin’s Creed in this first story DLC for Syndicate.
A brutal awakening
The game is set twenty years after the story of Syndicate. A lot has changed since then. London got rid of the Templars and Evie and Jacob went to India. Brother and sister return to London thanks to the Ripper. Jack the Ripper is capable of killing and disappearing like only an assassin should be possible to do. It’s no surprise that the Frye twins are tasked to bring him down. It’s not really an innovating story but it mixes Jack the Ripper in the Assassin’s Creed universe.
The developers decided to go with the brutal and horror-esque approach of the Ripper instead of keeping it a mysterious and faceless killer. The very first mission starts with the Ripper chasing down Jacob Frye. Playing as the Ripper is surprisingly satisfying. He feels more powerful than any other character you’ve controlled before and comes paired with some cool graphical tweaks. While running around as the Ripper, you’ll see some thoughts of the killer appearing on the screen. Chasing down Jacob with random sentences as ‘Kill him’ and ‘Leave no witnesses’ has a certain horror feeling to it and really adds to the brutal personality of the serial killer.
Fear is in your mind
The key gameplay feature of the game is fear. Jack the Ripper is created as a masked killer that resembles Scarecrow of the Batman franchise. In order to defeat a lot of enemies, you can strike fear in their hearts. If an enemy is scared to death, he’ll run away and leave you alone. Jack the Ripper has some nifty tools up his sleeve. You can for example scream in a horrific way to scare your enemies. Too soft? Don’t worry; the game features some very brutal takedowns, which will most likely send all enemies running away. Jack the Ripper is on a constant homicidal run, taking down everyone who’s in his way. This goes paired with some great visual effect to enforce this feeling even more.
Evie on the other hand, traveled to India to master a similar but non-lethal fear technique. Evie uses fear to her advantages but won’t kill the enemies. As Evie, you can use special fear bombs or other tools to make your enemies run away. As with Jack the Ripper, the new fear attacks are visually stunning and offer a welcome change to the classic Assassin move set. Evie will always use her fear attacks to make sure the enemies withdraw and clear a path. It’s interesting to see the difference in technique between Jack and Evie. Both ways of striking fear are very different but both offer a lot of new options.
Two different worlds
Although Evie and Jack use a similar fear technique, the gameplay is very different depending on which character you control. If you control Jack the Ripper, you’ll have the more action-packed missions, forcing you to follow and take out several targets. As Evie however, you’ll visit some of the same locations but need to investigate what went down.
Evie has to use her Eagle Vision a lot to find clues, leading her to answers about the truth behind the mysterious mask of the Ripper. Investigating crime scenes is fun and feels like a new thing in this DLC. Evie has some great skills all thanks to her Eagle Vision. Besides investigating, she’ll also needs to track down and kidnap certain suspects in the murder case. Her missions vary from investigations to more action packed, classic Assassin’s Creed missions.
A streamlined experience
Unlike Syndicate or other main line installments, this DLC is very streamlined and guides you from mission to mission without too many distractions. Sure, Ubisoft included some traditional kidnap or assassination missions but they’re not that important as in the main game. Instead, the DLC offers three hours of great story content for the veteran assassins. It’s great to see this more streamlined version but I’m sure some of the fans will miss the exploration a bit, instead of that; they’ll get a more mission based game.
The missions themselves aren’t bad but some are rather boring and don’t really add something to the story. These missions brought down my enthusiasm a little but don’t be mistaken, most parts of the story and missions are a lot of fun to play! I’m just not sure if this is the best interpretation of Jack the Ripper; I’ve seen some better versions of the killer. Trying to string it together with the Assassin’s Creed universe isn’t that easy and due to this, the story and background of the Ripper feel a little too forced to match the lore of the franchise.
The Jack the Ripper DLC certainly doesn’t reach the same heights as Syndicate but forms an interesting take on a legendary killer. The game follows a more streamlined mission-based experience, taking away some of the open-world problems of the main game. That being said, the game does offer some fun new gameplay elements thanks to the fear technique. We’re not sure if this is the best interpretation of the notorious serial killer but this DLC forms an interesting and fun to play story without a doubt. If you can’t get enough of the Syndicate universe, this is a must-have.
If you want to read our Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate review, you can find it here.