gamescom 2015: Death Comes in Many Shapes in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

One of the big hooks for Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is that it features two main characters: twins Jacob and Evie Frye. Back at E3 in June, we got to play as Jacob and experience a brutal, combat-heavy version of the game. But at this week’s Gamescom show, we finally got a chance to try out Evie, and witnessed how the stealthier, more cunning side of Syndicate works.

We were tasked with finding and assassinating Templar Lucy Thorne in the Tower of London. Those of you who played Assassin’s Creed Unity will remember its black box missions – bigger, open-world objectives that can be completed in multiple ways. They’re back, but with a few major improvements. Earning new skills and unlocking areas of the map ties into the missions, and when you die in a black box mission, you resume at a checkpoint (instead of starting over entirely).

We had plenty of options when it came to getting inside the Tower. We could convince some waffling guards to join our side, or steal a key from another guard and sneak in ourselves. We met up with an ally pretending to be a royal guard, and set about silently taking out the few Templars set up around the area.

As a stealth-centric character, Evie is all about keeping a low profile, and her skills lend themselves to that. Evie has the ability to blend in, seemingly going invisible when she stands still. She doesn’t need a crowd of people or a bench with a couple of monks on it; she can just crouch down and stay inconspicuous in the shadows.

This goes well with Evie’s ability to tag enemies around the area, which causes them to glow – and makes them easier to track as she moves about. This isn’t to say that Evie can’t fight; one of the options for the mission involved rescuing a locked-up constable, and we killed more than a couple of Templars who stood between us and the door. Evie has access to throwing knives, pistols, and other gadgets that she shares with Jacob, and she can use environmental takedowns to poison, crush, blind, and burn her enemies.

The black box missions were a refreshing part of Unity, and it’s cool to see them return in a bigger, more prevalent way in Syndicate. Having more than one option to assassinate a target is not only way more fun, it also makes us feel rather clever when we figure out the most discreet way to do it (…or sometimes the most badass, guns-blazing way).

Whether you’re playing as Jacob or Evie, the Frye twins are well-equipped to take out every Templar in London. We can’t wait to see more of how these two characters work, and how the titular Syndicate itself plays out. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate launches for Xbox One on October 23.