Assassin’s Creed Syndicate has come out to very lopsided reviews, and that’s not even the half of it. If reviews are to be trusted they must come from a credible source. Sources that we as consumers and fans can trust, and that´s also why we really need those “tough driven let´s play” videos to help us decide whether or not we should buy the game in question (and that´s something which trust printed media journalist should assist us with at all times). So I couldn´t help to notice the recent reviews of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, as a lot of popular sites have been giving ACS the same 8-9/10 grade in their reviews!
It made me think that something was amiss, so I dug deep to discover why independent blogs, as well as let’s plays are giving it nothing above three stars. There’s a lot of supporting evidence that hints to corruption, starting with what I found:
• Polygon.com 8.5/10
• Eurogamer.net 4/5 stars
• IGN.com 4/5 stars
• Arstechnica.com 4/5 stars
• Feministfrequency.com Good
Now let’s look at a few sites that gave it different reviews:
• Thegg.net 2.5/5 stars
• Forbes.com 3/5 stars
• Videogamer.com 2/5 stars
• Guardian.com 2/5 stars
What you’ll notice about their particular stance on the positive reviews is the same song and dance:
– Great graphics
– Fluid gameplay
– Fantastic historical rhetoric
– A push forward in the series
Now take a look at what the negative reviewers had to say it’s a little more consistent, and it doesn’t feel like a script that was paid for. They gave it a more balanced review. Upon closer examination of these reviews, the negative responses were more genuine and accurate as far as in-depth analysis went. On Thegg.net’s Assassin’s Creed Syndicate PS4 review, the author (Mr. Sharn Daniels) stated he had problems with repetitive enemies, glitching within the gameplay and graphics, and invisible A.I.’s. On Videogamer.com, their reviewer cited that the commands and controls were too reminiscent of past entries. It was buggy, laggy, and that it was quite repetitive. There are a lot of negative reviews that follow-up with similar experiences.
Even more strangely consistent was that Ubisoft provided review codes to the positive reviewers on the same platform: Playstation 4. One would think that receiving a code for the Playstation 4 over the Xbox One would have spurred slight differences if they were reviewed, but no. The reason they were provided Playstation 4 codes over Xbox One, was because Ubisoft wanted to show off Sony’s 4K graphics interface on newer TV sets over Xbox One. Higher graphics resolution nets more favor from gamers, and critics the like (or so the theory is said to be).
Another main reason Playstation 4 codes are distributed over Xbox One is that reviewers are more familiar with Playstation’s control set when it comes to playing First-person Shooters, RPGs, and Puzzle games. Halo, and Call of Duty are two titles that slip through the cracks on Xbox One due to the fact one is exclusive, while the other is fluid on either system. However, one last question came to mind when I saw the reviews: Why is Anita Sarkeesian reviewing Assassin’s Creed Syndicate in the first place? I mean, she’s a self-proclaimed feminist critic of games of that kind. Not only that, Anita even confessed to not playing any of the games she uses in her Tropes vs. Women series—including Assassin’s Creed.
Anyhow, according to her review of the game (which beyond the sake of research isn’t worth listening to) she mentions Evie 14 times vs. Jacob’s 7, concerning their gender and personality differences. In her review Anita states the following:
“Preceding the release of last year’s Unity, Ubisoft came under intense public criticism for its repeated lack of playable female characters in the core games. 2012’s Assassin’s Creed III had a tie-in game, Liberation, starring a female protagonist, but it was not a core entry in the series and in its initial release was relegated exclusively to handheld. Syndicate is a clear response to gamers’ increased desire for more capable and powerful female options.
Promotional materials for the game emphasized Jacob as the primary protagonist, leaving some wondering just how big a role Evie would play. From Syndicate’s first moments, we see the twins together, and after completing a short mission with Jacob we immediately start playing as Evie. Throughout the game, each twin is assigned specific missions that are catered to their individual interests in London’s liberation, but outside of that, players are given the choice to alternate between the siblings while navigating Syndicate’s open world.
Sadly, as the larger story unfolds Jacob’s narrative dominates, meaning that if players don’t actively choose to play as Evie in side missions, they don’t engage with her very often. It’s frustrating that the story focuses increasingly on Jacob as it approaches the end not only because having the twins be truly equal protagonists would have been rare and significant, but also because Evie is easily the more compelling of the two. Jacob is arrogant, pompous, and quick to action without understanding the consequences while Evie is charismatic, focused, intelligent and forced to clean up her brother’s messes.”
Sarkeesian´s review didn’t involve much else beyond her “mentioning,” the buggy graphics and invisible A.I. that everyone else talked about in their reviews. Before we proceed, I’m going to dissect her analysis and give you fodder for your mind. She claims that Jacob was the main character and that Evie would play second chair to his character. Furthermore, Anita also stated that as the story unfolds Jacob’s story begins to dominate the narrative of the storyline. Ubisoft stated before the game finished production that Evie would be built from the ground up independently, with her own set of skills, demeanor, and understanding of the missions.
Jacob is more about brashness, violence and jumping in with no plan, as Evie is the opposite. She studies, analyzes and executes with silence and precision. Working in tandem is essential and refreshing since we don’t see assassins working together often—especially in a single game. As far as the twins separating goes, there are missions which the twins complete as a team. And some missions, the twins finish off as a separated team. Although they share the same skill tree, by the halfway point in the game, you can see the distinct differences in the two characters.
Lastly let’s talk about Assassin’s Creed Liberation on PSVita. The game scored a significant jump in ratings over its Assassin’s Creed III counterpart (the PC version of Assassin’s Creed Rogue are worse than ACL for the PSV though). Connor Kenway couldn’t hold a candle to Aveline De’ Granpre. The reason why, is that her gameplay and story were more espionage style, and his was wilderness and survival. You were hunted by wild animals a lot. It was annoying. Liberation did make it as DLC to the Playstation 3-4 and even netted Aveline a follow-up story with DLC for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. In this story as in her first, she was the protagonist and was independent with her own story. Then again, this review is coming from someone who doesn’t play video games.
Sarkeesian’s entire analysis of the game fell on one culmination: Evie being a female assassin, who didn’t get top billing. Honestly, I would look at the fact Ubisoft repealed their stance on female characters being involved in their titles. This, as I’m sure, you’ve noticed is damage control for the company, at the appeasement of critics such as Anita Sarkeesian. Now let’s move on to why her review is important.
One consistent thing you’ll notice about Anita’s review was that it was shared by The Verge, who is owned by Vox Media, who also owns Polygon.com, who employs Ben Kuchera. You can see where this is going. Eurogamer.net, Arstechnica.com, and Theguardian.com are all in league with what Gamergate calls Feminist SJWs. It’s the belief of many proponents of the online movement that many of the sites I used as examples, IGN.com included—have begun to support the jaded reviews of games for money and “clicks.” This isn’t as strange as you’d believe it to sound as many websites do it.
We’ve also seen sites such as Polygon denounce fantastic games such as Bayonetta 2, GTA5 and Killer is Dead, simply because Sarkeesian and other feminist critics convinced Ben Kuchera to do so. All for the whim of Bayonetta showing her skin and being “over sexualized.” It’s all opinionated controversy that ends up making the platform look foolish for letting outside influence deter their focus for money, and connections to more money.
Many websites which share media with one another trade linkbacks, shout outs, or even social media interactions for monetary gain. The reviews I have provided as examples show this to be true, and even worse they all sound too consistent with one another. We’ve already seen sites such as VG/247.com lie about playing Uncharted 4, but where does it end? Do we really have to see our love of games turned on its head to the point, which we have to look to our own friends for honest opinions? Live in your world, play in ours. It feels as if that statement is becoming more prevalent each day seeing reviews like these posted.
And before I wrap this up, here are some comments by some Gamers and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate sceptics:
“Nice to see a justified review, a game that hasn’t changed since the first game shouldn’t be getting 9/10’s, the gaming media is corrupt.” – Xboxbeastmode, via videogamer.com
“The reviewer basically gave this game a 9/10 because its “progressive.” This is why I don’t trust games journalists anymore.” – jlenoconel, via Gamespot
“I love asscreed since the first one. Totally disliked unity. Like the fan boy I am, I bought syndicate, pre-ordered and everything, despite not really having much faith in the game. It’s almost too obvious that the big game sites are being paid off. You see their reviews raving about how awesome this game is. Having played at least 10 hours of it, I can tell you it seems really bland and boring to me. Of course, everyone has opinions, but seriously, this much universal acceptance from the big sites and that many not so great reviews from small sites? Smells really fishy.” – Your_mom_is_a_man, via Reddit
With that said, what are your thoughts on this matter? Give us your thoughts in the comments and share this article.
This is a personal opinion of the writer, and it doesn’t necessarily represent the other writers (nor The Gaming Ground´s) opinions.
The Gaming Ground
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