When I think of Assassin’s Creed games, I often remember big cities, cool assassinations, climbing tall towers, and maybe some sea shanties. Rarely do I remember how these games end because they often have forgettable or boring endings, sometimes with bad boss fights. So Assassin’s Creed Syndicate stands out as an exception with its fantastic final mission and boss fight.
Oh, and in case this wasn’t obvious, spoilers for Assassin’s Creed Syndicate below.
I’m not going to explain the entire storyline of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, but here’s a quick summary to get you up to speed. A bad Templar is controlling London and being an asshole. Evie and Jacob Frye, twins, come to London, meet a fellow stabby-man, Henry Green, and work together to take down the big bad Templar, Crawford Starrick. (He has an evil mustache and everything.)
Eventually, after many missions and side quests, you reach the end of the game. Starrick is going to attack and kill the Queen of England at her palace during a big ball and the two twins and Green must sneak in, stop him and find an ancient Isu artifact buried beneath Buckingham Palace. (It’s an Assassin’s Creed game, so this is legally required to be a part of the ending.)
What makes this mission so wonderful is the way Syndicate uses the two twins at the same time. For most of the game, the twins are separate characters who you swap between whenever you want. But this final mission brings them together and creates one big, final mission that uses them both in different ways. Evie, wearing a large dress, has to rely on social stealth to reach the plans that will reveal the location of the vault, which is located somewhere beneath the palace. Meanwhile, Jacob has to climb around the palace, taking out imposter guards and freeing the kidnapped and tied-up real royal guards.
Letting you play as both twins at the same time is not only a great way to utilize Syndicate’s two lead characters, but it also helps the whole final mission feel bigger and more exciting than any other mission in the game. You meet the Queen, even. It’s a big deal.
Finally, after the crafty Starrick gets the key to the hidden Isu vault, Jacob and Evie go after him and a big final boss fight ensues. But again, like the first part of the mission, this final fight alternates between the two twins. You attack Starrick as one, then get knocked back, then the other twin dodges some Isu-light-magic-walls and attacks again. On paper, this might sound repetitive. But in practice, it feels more like you and your twin are working together. And it makes Starrick a more intimidating and interesting villain.
That’s the biggest criticism I have with this ending. Starrick is supposed to be the big bad guy of the game, but he’s so far removed from what’s happening as you play that I didn’t really care about him or his goals. But the final mission works in spite of this by using the twins as tandem weapons. Maybe it would have been nice for more of the game to have used them as partners like this, but holding back until the end makes the final mission and fight more exciting and compelling.
While more recent Assassin’s Creed games have allowed players to pick between men and women main characters, none pull it off as well as Syndicate. By having both characters playable and fully realized as separate people, with their own goals and personalities, it lets the story better take advantage of them and it allows Ubisoft to toss them both into the final mission to create the best ending in the series to date.