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Syndicate general/gameplay discussion - no story spoilers please

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I realized my most recent conversations about this game were in the "Last Person to Reply Wins" thread. In case people in that thread don't care to read about Syndicate, I decided to start a new thread.

It is open-ended. Feel free to talk about what you want, positive or negative.

Please avoid story spoilers (or put them in spoiler tags at the very least).

I'll start with my rudimentary view on the three pillars of Assassin's Creed and their approach in Syndicate. I am only in Sequence 4, so maybe some things aren't unlocked to me yet.

Stealth
pros: whistle from anywhere, cover system with no hard lock to cover, knifes as distractions, aim over/around cover, kidnapping mechanic to get through restricted areas
cons: blending less intuitive than other games = social stealth not as good

Navigation
pros: rope launcher, carriages
cons: rope launcher, carriages
explanation: the rope launcher is nice, but not when you can use it without consequence and in totally unrealistic scenarios. for example, you should only be able to use it for downward elevation change unless using the grapple-up ability. it makes no sense for you to slide along your merry way at an incline of 30%. carriages are good for long term navigation, and they handle well. but they really make the whole game feel like Grand Theft Auto Minus Auto (GTAMA) at times.

Combat
pros: no more "counter-all" or "parry" button, actually difficult with lots of enemies around
cons: very cartoony and easy to spam the attack button with relative impunity, especially with medicine available and combo skill perks

Other Thoughts:
- I like how the city boroughs are laid out with very clear objectives to clear/liberate the regions. Seems better than the Unity model.
- I like the "Secrets of London" side activities more that the Nostradamus Enigmas... even if I haven't figured out what the riddles are supposed to mean.
- I like game currency purchasable maps for collectibles.
- I like that they are investing resources into the modern day storylines, but wish that there was a map for them too in the game.
- Map icons are smaller than Unity, and there are fewer of them, so it doesn't feel as overwhelming looking at the map.
- I like the organization of the progress tracker and database.
- I like the Perks system.
- I don't like the idea of carriage races (haven't done one yet but I know they exist from achievements).
- I like that you can do Memories in whatever order to get to them rather than a strictly linear story. This is possible due to the dual protagonists and various side missions not dependent on previous missions.

Spoiler: Highlight to view
- I like where the story is going. I have an idea of how it should go but am certain it will not go there. I will comment on this when I finish the game.

"Victorian values meant brutalizing people who were often poor." - Charles Palliser

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Syndicate has some hidden gameplay gems that most people are not aware of yet. I'm feeling like making a specialized response to this thread right here once I do some more research. Might warrant a video too, but it's interesting stuff. That aside, Knife Distraction is buggy/ineffective at a high enough range to get Guards to Investigate rather than Turn their head. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Haven't fully figured it out yet. Smoke Bombs are still too strong to not use whenever it would be fine to. Which is most of the time, but for STEALTH this generation instead of combat. As showcased in some of my vids, Smokebombs, just like in Unity are just a Stealth-Win-Button. They're SO good, and they're just a Radius drawn onto the game world, as mentioned in another vid (a later one). They're not affected by barriers or geometry, they just affect a 3D Spherical Area and that's it. So strong. Voltaic Bombs meanwhile, are functionally useless... Except in certain situations, which I'll talk about soon ;]

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Turned off Blood FX in settings to see if it will make a difference to the way I play.
And I also turned down my Brightness to Second Lowest from the Bottom
Colors seem like they pop more.
So if Unity and Syndicate feel kind of washed out, lowering the Brightness helps make it feel better/more immersive!
Play with it until it's where you can still see (some ambiguity is okay and encouraged!) but at a point where the shadows deepen and the game's colors pop more.

* * *

An observation I made: sneaking is an Intermediary Profile Mode between Low Profile and High Profile.

It looks weird to people when they see you doing it (unlike Low Profile actions which are completely acceptable) and the most important thing it does is blend both Profiles together, in strengths and weaknesses.

First off, Sneak Mode is faster than Walking, but Slower than Running/Sprinting. Additionally, it's silent, like walking. However, if people see you doing it, they will react unfavorably. This causes the player to focus more on not being seen at all - which is what Sneak Mode does best. Hiding behind cover, reaching enemies and Low Profiling them/Smoking them quickly and quietly, without the slowness of Walk (Low Profile) and without the Noise of Sprint (High Profile).

The point of Non-Sneaking is to be able to Sprint away from trouble or to Rush Assassinate guards that are about to Detect you. From behind it's always easier, from the front it's much tougher. This reflects Assassinations on Guards in the early AC games. It's always been tougher to Assassinate from the Front. Sneak Mode lets the player walk quickly and quietly, receiving the full benefit of neither, but a halfway-point between both.

* * *

You can pick up Enemy Bodies, but not Allied Bodies.

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I find that (at least early on, maybe i'm not used to it) that the smoke bomb throwing has a lot of lag from when i hit the button to when the bomb is thrown. I mean, even before combat starts, it seems to take longer than a gun or knife for example. Maybe it's just me.

"Victorian values meant brutalizing people who were often poor." - Charles Palliser

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I also wish you could free aim the rope launcher to use it as a weapon of sorts. Or maybe use it as a trip line when being pursued. Just something else to make it useful in other situations than the one the game gives you. I also wish it would lock onto moving boats in the Thames. Kind of ridiculous that it doesn't, really.

"Victorian values meant brutalizing people who were often poor." - Charles Palliser

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[Smoke Bomb Lag] It's not just you. In most of my videos when you see me Aim a Smoke Bomb, then stop moving my Aim, then Aim a bit further forward/to the side and toss instantly, that's actually me aiming, tapping the button (during the pause) and then MOVING MY AIM DURING the unnecessary pause before the Assassin actually throws it. Really thought this problem would be fixed. Even regular Third Person Aiming is still less smooth and less fluid in Syndicate than it was in Black Flag/Rogue. I'd have thought that after Unity, they'd fix this. I hope it's not a limitation of the engine or some equally hazardous idea.

[Rope Launcher] Would've been nice if its functions were more integrated into everything else the Assassin did, yeah. As for why it doesn't lock to Moving ledges, I think it's because if it did, and the object you Anchored to moved too far away from your starting position, either the Rope would snap/vanish and the player would tumble down, or the perpetually-stretched zipline would start to look a little ridiculous. Ubisoft's solution was to prevent us from locking to anything mobile at all.

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[Rope Launcher] I agree that it's to prevent over/under stretched ziplines. But it's a little ridiculous to be standing on the deck of a boat and not be able to grappling hook up to the top of the same boat. I think they could have allowed for either scenario: a) if the anchors are getting close together, either the assassin lowers to the ground with gravity, or the grapple mechanism pulls in the slack; b) if the anchors get too far away (40m or something) the rope snaps and you better be able to land safely or that's on you.

One more annoyance with the rope launcher: why can't I use it when hanging or climbing? why must i be standing to use it? it would be really nice to hang on one building then grapple to the top or cross to another without needing to climb or lower to a standing spot.

"Victorian values meant brutalizing people who were often poor." - Charles Palliser

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Totally agree. There are many times when I Controlled Descent to be standing on even footing just so I can rocket up a building, because they're so tall now and so uniform that manually climbing them is something I rarely do.

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Daz, did you have/have you had/do you have problems with the multi-finisher kills? I mean, I get three guys down to near death simultaneously, then hit the button and it only kills 1 at a time so no multi-kill. What am I doing wrong? FLAE's eye roll

"Victorian values meant brutalizing people who were often poor." - Charles Palliser

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Yes, I have problems with Multi-Finishers. It is not just you, and it is not just me.

The entire player-base has this issue, from over on Reddit's /r/AssassinsCreed to any Forums on the Internet.
Some players say that it's easier to make them trigger if all Staggered enemies are Highlighted/Outlined before you press the Kill button. Others say that it happens to work less in the streets, and works fairly consistently in the Fight Clubs.

We do not know the reason this happens - but I can confirm that in the streets it rarely triggers for me no matter what weapon I use (though Kukris seem to trigger the least) and in Fight Clubs it triggers for me a LOT.

I play as Evie-only in Fight Clubs, so I cannot make comments on Jacob. If you just want to get the Multi-Kill Perks/XP, grinding it in Fight Clubs would probably work best. That aside, if you want to at least look cool - always get four guys down to Staggered state (helps a lot to be high-level and have strong weapons) and then start trying to Multi them after.

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also, how they hell do you countershot?

I see the icon, I hit the button, nothing happens, it turns red, i get shot...

"Victorian values meant brutalizing people who were often poor." - Charles Palliser

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[Countershot]
That shouldn't be happening. Whenever I see the (Triangle) / (Y) Icon pop for me, I tap it and it always Dodges, making the icon vanish. I've rarely done a Countershot at all. Some users say that to Countershot, you need to either have Gun or Knives equipped and Double-Tap it before the circular meter drains out completely. I haven't tried this yet, but I'll go in and test at some point. I'm working on some writing/stories at the moment so I'm mostly in a writing/typing mood. (Hence the quick replies.)

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From what I've seen, combat is a lot faster and a whole lot more brutal. Take a look at this gif I found on reddit. I've been replaying it time after time and I'm absolutely in awe.


Steam & Uplay: jeroenaantjes

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that's one of the multi-kill animations, for sure.

"Victorian values meant brutalizing people who were often poor." - Charles Palliser

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This is regarding the entire series.
I really dislike that certain actions become unavailable to you just because you're Detected.
Anything that says "Become Anonymous to continue" should just be abolished entirely. If they're not willing to go to such extremes measures then only do it for things that make SENSE (which is almost NONE of them, hence my original plea.) It's just SO boring, doesn't add any Depth, and is only ever frustrating/flow-breaking. I shouldn't need to "become Anonymous to Interact" with ANYTHING. I should just be able to Interact, without any Arbitrary limits that don't make sense.

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I mean, there's that one convoy mission that makes sense...

Spoiler: Highlight to view
you don't want to break a level 1 character out of a police carriage in the middle of a fight

But opening chests/etc ... I completely agree.

That said, there should be consequences to no being anonymous. Opening a chest gives the opponent an opportunity to attack more successfully / you can't counter, for example. Performing one of those actions in the line of sight of a guard automatically makes them attack you, etc.

"Victorian values meant brutalizing people who were often poor." - Charles Palliser

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Yeah, but the above makes sense! Limiting the player's action outright just feels inconsistent and weird.

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Big spoiler:

Spoiler: Highlight to view

I spotted this car in Honolulu and was reminded of Cheese's last big spoiler!

My childhood goal was to be an astronaut. I wanted to be the first man to stab somebody on the moon.

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stabguy wrote:
Big spoiler:

Spoiler: Highlight to view

I spotted this car in Honolulu and was reminded of Cheese's last big spoiler!

Spoiler: Highlight to view
Before I saw the words under the picture, I thought, Mcstab already did this. Now I'm reminded of that one chat just after Revelations came out, when Stabby said, "no spoilers please". So I signed in chat as Major Spoilers. The conversation that followed:
"Ezio kills a lot of guards!"
"Why would you give that away?
"And he looks old."
Stabby: "I like that one. He looks old."
"And and, he's an assassin."

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OMFG. I'M CACKLING. WHAT THE HELL. I don't remember anything like this happening before, so this is my first time I- [WHEEEEZE]

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I clicked because I was 99% certain of what it was.

I was right. Big smile

Speaking of Honolulu, what's the best thing to do in the airport on a layover? Unfortunately I don't have enough time to do what I wanted to do (this trip) because it involves leaving the airport and I don't have time to go back through security. Innocent

"Victorian values meant brutalizing people who were often poor." - Charles Palliser

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Ahaha! Obnoxious! To say the least! (Umm not you Cheese ) Tongue Big smile

Here's to you as good as you are. Here's to me as bad as I am. As bad as I am, and as good as you are, I'm as good as you are, as bad as I am.

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Double McStab with Cheese wrote:
Speaking of Honolulu, what's the best thing to do in the airport on a layover?

Hmm. It's pretty much like any other airport with overpriced shops and restaurants. The best kept secret are the Cultural Gardens: http://hawaii.gov/hnl/customer-service/cultural-gardens

The main one is triangular and adjacent to gates 14 and 23. It's one level lower than the concourse walkway and there are elevators at all three corners. There's another garden below the walkway that connects the interisland terminal to the main terminal. It's more peaceful to pass the time in a garden than in vinyl seats at the gate.

Sometimes they have live entertainment in the lobby. This was filmed above main Cultural Garden, along the edge of the triangle adjacent to the main terminal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGLY80NHAz0

All of the above is beyond the security checkpoint. You wouldn't have to leave and come back through security.

My childhood goal was to be an astronaut. I wanted to be the first man to stab somebody on the moon.

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Thanks! I'll be in Hawaii (I think Maui) from Dec 24 - Jan 1 this year. I'll try to see the garden on layover. I'm not sure why our layover is in Honolulu rather than LAX or SFO... oh well.

"Victorian values meant brutalizing people who were often poor." - Charles Palliser

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Wiping Detection States using Hallucination Darts - letting you Assassinate an enemy during Combat/Detection.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZGx1FslX3c

Wait to stab until the Berserk Icon appears over their head.
This may have applications in a No Level Up / No Upgrade run, as enemies will be durable enough to prohibit fighting them in Combat.

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DarkAlphabetZoup wrote:
This may have applications in a No Level Up / No Upgrade run, as enemies will be durable enough to prohibit fighting them in Combat.

Maybe not. Non-upgraded darts don't affect enemies of higher level.

"Victorian values meant brutalizing people who were often poor." - Charles Palliser

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There might be some Give there. HalluDart may not affect high-level enemies, but it would still affect enemies that are low enough for it to work on them, and high enough for fighting them to be a pain. That's more of what I was thinking. It's surely not a magical remedy for every sticky situation on a No Upgrade run though (that's what Pre-Smoking and Assassinating into the Cloud is for~!). The phenomenon is just interesting and was worth covering. I personally didn't use Hallucinogenic Darts at all past that one mission where you first get them, and needing to use them to "Make the sister kill her brother" for a Templar Hunt Full Sync.

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I think they're really fun to use when shooting them into fires and whatnot to cause a bunch of enemies to turn on each other.

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What is your procedure to find entrances to underground tunnels?

I've been collecting things in Southwark. Some chests were located in underground tunnels. There's one I haven't been able to reach (on the northwest edge of Southwark along the Thames). Eagle Vision shows that it's underground but I haven't been able to find a ladder or staircase leading down anywhere in the area.

My childhood goal was to be an astronaut. I wanted to be the first man to stab somebody on the moon.

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Generally the way I do it is look for "yards" in the area. Usually walled off/hedged-off courtyards, with people gathered in them (sometimes, sometimes not), usually around the BACKS of buildings. If not yards, then look for some of those trench/mine-looking places, that dip into the ground with muddy puddles and stuff. Until I started searching with these methods, the underground tunnel chests were even more frustrating to get to. Give it a shot.

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stabguy wrote:
There's one I haven't been able to reach (on the northwest edge of Southwark along the Thames).

stabgal helped me find the tunnel. There's only one entrance and it's partially underwater. You swim into the tunnel. This chest is located beneath the Sequence 4 memory where...

Spoiler: Highlight to view
you learn how to shoot hallucinogenic darts into fire.

My childhood goal was to be an astronaut. I wanted to be the first man to stab somebody on the moon.

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One thing Syndicate STILL gets wrong in my opinion: giving you access to collectibles before they show up in the main story.

Even the most basic collectible like a treasure chest. You meet [redacted] who says if you help him/her you can keep things (I think he/she says something along the lines of "anything shiny") you find throughout the city. Right there is where treasure chests should be interactible and collectible.

The flowers shouldn't be collectible until after your conversation about collecting them with H.

You shouldn't even be able to liberate certain areas of the city without meeting the proper people first. (More in spoilers)

Spoiler: Highlight to view

Once you meet Clara, THEN let the child liberation missions appear. Once you do the right missions, THEN let bounty hunts appear.

At least you can't do horse carriage races until they unlock, and train heists, and boat heists.

In AC2 you weren't (supposed to be) able to collect feathers until after losing your brother and then you wanted to finish his collection. That made sense. It was artificially enforced through boundaries.

I'm NOT advocating for boundaries and inaccessible districts. I AM advocating for collectibles that don't appear until they're needed or make sense to appear. Fewer collectibles on screen would encourage progressing through the story. Collectibles that appear in regions you "already cleared" because they weren't accessible yet would encourage revisiting and exploring areas. I see this as a win-win and there's no reason it shouldn't be the case.

"Victorian values meant brutalizing people who were often poor." - Charles Palliser

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Makes sense. Would even help players who do 100%, since we'd get less overwhelmed at first glance.

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Double McStab with Cheese wrote:
The flowers shouldn't be collectible until after your conversation about collecting them with H.

More flower collecting?! Angry You know how we feel about that, Ubi.

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In Ezio's game flower-collecting was just awkward. In Syndicate you kind of just run by them in the open world and tap O / B to snag it on the go. That said YUUUUPPPPP

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Collecting flowers is the only way Ubisoft knows how to tell a love story, I guess.

That said, the flower collecting in Syndicate unlocks database entries that sometimes have fun blurbs on symbolism of certain flowers, etc.

"Victorian values meant brutalizing people who were often poor." - Charles Palliser

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Thankfully Syndicate was on sale everywhere for black Friday and I got it for a very low price anyway onto my impressions:

I can't say I'm not enjoying it. I wanted to wait a few weeks to actually gather my thoughts. I just got done with Seqeunce 5 and I gotta say it's better than Unity...narritive wise. In a lot of ways Syndicate makes me appreicate Unity's gameplay more. It was harder and more stealth based, challenging, and overall more rewarding. Unlike in Syndicate where Combat is more-or-less encouraged I fell. Syndicate just feels dumbed down compared to Unity which is fustrating. But, at the same time, everything feels much smoother and refined in Syndicate as compared to Unity. Which us what gives Syndicate the advantage over Unity IMO.

The Story and characters so far like I said miles more tolerable than Unity. The whole brother and sister dynamic between Jacob and Evie is wonderful and something I can relate to. The main templar bad guy, Starrick or whatever, has to be the most cartoonish antagonists we've ever seen in an AC game. I understand they couldn't use real historical figures as targets because their decendants are around today and might get offended or what ever, but f*ck you could've at least tried to make him human, Ubisoft. Also the side-missions make a glorious return. I enjoyed them so much I pretty much ignored the main story and did as many as I could. I just have to liberate whitechaple now. Only wish Evie had more to do in story since I find her to be the better of the twins. I just use her to do most of the side missions and whatnot.

As for the setting itself i really like it. One of my favorites along with ACII's Venice and ACRev's Istanbul. Walkng around the city I actually felt it was alive, I felt a vibe, almost like that old AC vibe I use to get back during the Ezio/Altair days.

Overall though so far I'm enjoying the game for what it is

The member formerly known as EzioAltair17.

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They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

This happened after getting the train hideout. I was running to the next mission and see three guards. One of them spots me and his SSI meter is filled all the way when I unleash a kill, talk about a close call.

Obviously I played Syndicate. If I could put the experience so far into one sentence it would be, "no wonder Ubisoft is waiting two years to make the next game".

Syndicate is a lot like Unity, but unlike Unity which tries to be an assassin game through and through, Syndicate so far is Assassins Creed only in assassination missions and some conversations. The rest of the time it's chore missions and Grand Theft Carriage.

I like how in combat you dodge instead of parry; much more fluid. Fighting isn't as boring as Unity, but badly needs a revamp the next game.

Last time I played I was able to use the rope launcher. Greatly appreciate how it shows you pulling yourself up on it and how you have to move Analog stick to go forward because it makes it somewhat realistic. One very good reason I like it is because of how bad regular climbing still is since Unity. The game won't even let you jump into water; you have to free run down. Puzzled Now I have that much more incentive to use a hassle free climbing tool more often.

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+1 to everything you just said. The reason I like Syndicate better than Unity isn't that Syndicate is a better game by ACTUALLY being a better game. Syndicate's only a "better game" because it cuts out all the hassle and irritation that Unity just LOVED to beat players over the head with. The combat being fast and easy cannot be anything except GOOD in AC's current incarnation, because AC's Stealth is still so primitive and simplistic that you WILL be caught, and you will be caught OFTEN. Having a way to quickly mash through those fights to get back to what really matters (sneaking around) is nothing short of a gift from God after Unity's... Attempt.

Quicker combat lets you shortcut the fighting.
Rope Launcher lets you shortcut the climbing.

See, Syndicate's an interesting case study because the game is so achingly self-aware of its own failings and tries to bandaid them over by letting the player skip through them as much as is reasonable. Combat's not the greatest thing in the world? Well hey, at least you can mash through it super fast and just SHOVE it out of the way! Climbing's still slow and sticky and sluggish? That's okay too, just BLAAAASSST to the top of a building and FORGET about all that crap!

Conclusion: I like Syndicate more because it was less obsessed with getting in the way of my enjoyment. I've played hard games. I've played Dark Souls and Bloodborne and I've done some pretty crazy stuff over the years. Unity wasn't truly difficult, it's just irritating because it refuses to let you PLAY it without stuttering and struggling through the smallest things. Syndicate chopped away a large part of what makes these games irritating, because it recognizes their underdeveloped systems just cannot support overly-intense demands on the player. Higher difficulty will feel more natural in Assassin's Creed when the basic gameplay is polished enough to support that heightened challenge in a way that feels fair instead of broken/clunky/random.

At least to me, Assassin's Creed has always been about finding your own challenges within the games' environments and missions. Silent Exterminations, Eagle Strikes, Ghost Runs, Mysterious Deaths, etc. All interesting variants, stuff we thought of that uses the games' framework, pre-built enemy layouts, and basic gameplay concepts to create Custom mission-types. That might be added onto or change with Empire (seeing some of these turn into official mission-types, maybe in some kind of New Game+ mode would be charming), but who knows~