Toast On Jam: Female Hoodlums And Street Racing – How Accurate Is AC Syndicate?
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate manages to do quite a lot right, a surprising amount when all is said and done. Especially given the laboured state of the series. One thing that I wondered throughout my time with the game was how accurate all these happenings and activities were.
You see, since the very beginning Assassin’s Creed has always drawn me because Ubisoft knows how to build a beautiful breathing world that transports you back to a bygone era. The series has almost never faltered in this regard. From recreating landmarks and stunning detail to capturing the mood and atmosphere of a period in history, Assassin’s Creed still enthralls me in at least that regard. Barring Unity of course because I almost never felt like I was in revolutionary Paris.
So how does Syndicate stack up? After a lengthy 10 minutes of hard research, rather well. None of what I mention constitutes spoilers so don’t fret your pretty little head.
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One of the big things you’ll notice about Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is how damn representative it is. Now, you may think this is merely a reaction to last year’s brouhaha regarding Unity but in fact, it’s for the purpose of historical intrigue.
You see, long before Oscar Wilde did his thing trans people were quietly being persecuted in Victorian England. So Ned Wynert, the transportation man you deal with? Not there just for show. Although he might well be given that this is Ubisoft after all.
More prevalent though is the number of female hoodlums that you’ll encounter as enemies. Surely women couldn’t join gangs. It turns out there were a few notably infamous gangs comprising women. One notorious all-woman gang was called the Forty Elephants, a gang that ran a very successful shoplifting operation complete with custom clothing to accommodate stolen items.
What then of Syndicate’s colourful supporting cast? In the game you encounter Marx, Dickens, Darwin, Bell and more. Most of them are true to form but most of what you do with Dickens involves chasing ghost stories and debunking them in a very Scooby Doo manner albeit with more stabbing and death. This is all under the guise of the Ghost Club which Dickens was an actual member of and which still exists today if you can believe it.
You also have a few encounters with Prime Minister Benjamin “Dizzy” Disraeli and his wife, Mary Anne. They’re both odd ducks and Mary Anne in particular is quite a scandalous minx. As she was in real life too. There are reports of her comments scandalising listeners so it’s not a stretch to imagine that she’d enjoy the company of an unreserved chap such as Jacob Frye. In one mission we also see her toting a dog in a handbag. That’s something we’re used to seeing among the vapid socialites of today but it goes all the way back to Victorian London. Miniature dogs were fashion accessories to be taken everywhere lest you feel naked without it. You see? Dumb fashion trends have been around for ages. Just go look up what Chinese women used to (and still sometimes today) do to their feet.
Why am I doing this? Good ideas are hard to come by but also I adore the Victorian era. It also just so happens that London might be my favourite city after Cape Town. As such I had high expectations of Syndicate’s incarnation of London and I was not disappointed. They’ve done a bang up job in recreating the world, the people and the atmosphere of the time. It’s when you see rats scurrying away from under your feet that you know you’re in 1800s London.
Ubisoft has also managed to include some of the more peculiar aspects of life in Victorian England.
Regardless of what Assassin’s Creed does wrong or how broken it is you can always count on Ubisoft to deliver a spellbinding recreation of life in whatever era they choose to throw you into. I’s for that reason that I (perhaps to my detriment) will never truly fall out of love with the Assassin’s Creed series.
Carriage races are utter horse shit though.