Syndicate vs Origin

While other people were complaining about series fatigue, I remember thinking “Just keep them coming, I’ll never get sick of this series.”  Laughably as real life encroached, I found myself disengaged with Syndicate to the point that it ended up being shelved for over five years before ultimately I picked up and completed the title.  While Syndicate felt like Unity 2.0, Origins was a huge departure, but perhaps hailing back to earlier titles like Black Flag or AC3 that focused more on large maps rather than cityscapes.

So having played these two games back to back, let’s do a little comparison on which aspects I thought were done better by each game.


Bayek of Siwa

To be fair, it’s been a while since I’ve played the Ezio arc, but I feel pretty confident to say Bayek is easily the best protagonist the Assassin’s Creed series has ever seen.  A man driven to avenge the death of his son, Bayek has a wide range of emotions.  Against the members of the Order of Ancients he is a fury, and yet to contrast he is gentle and friendly with the children of Egypt.  Humorous at times, Bayek isn’t afraid to chide those whom he believes to be in the wrong.

Jacob Frye

For 90% of the game Jacob is absolutely the worst.  Arrogant to a fault, Jacob single-handedly makes a mess of everything he touches.  While some may find the cocksure assassin suave, I personally found him difficult to relate to and a bit condescending, especially to his sister Evie.  Fortunately Jacob actually experiences some character progression and starts feeling a bit of remorse for his actions, but as mentioned it comes really late in the game.


I’m sure Ubisoft wanted to paint Aya as a strong, independent woman, but to me she just seemed like someone who just ran from and never reconciled her past.  Unlike Bayek who reveled in the pain of the death of his son until he ultimately accepted it, Aya refused to acknowledge it to the point that she pushed away her husband, instead burying herself into her work.  By the end of the DLC she just felt sad and unapproachable.

evie frye

In contrast to both Aya and Jacob, Evie Frye is breath of fresh air.  Capable and intelligent, Evie spends a good portion of the game cleaning up after Jacob’s messes.  Her ‘greatest fault’ is that she is cautious and prone to planning, but other than one moment the game never really convinces that it’s actually a fault at all.  Unlike Aya, Evie reconciles her misgivings about emotional attachment to ultimately goes after the man she loves.



Despite having both pistols and throwing knives, in Syndicate I did most of my assassinations with the hidden blade.  Hell, I’d kill every Blighter I saw just to fill up ammunition. Unless the mission specifically called for it, it felt like blasphemy to enter open combat.  Not so with Origins; the bow was just too convenient a means of clearing out bases.  Sure I assassinated a few sleeping people and a couple captains from behind, but nothing near to the extent of Syndicate.

Sound / Music


Not sure what happened, but Origin’s music is so heavily compressed that it sounds like it’s coming through an old telephone.  Which is a shame, because it actually seemed like good composition.  Syndicate on the other hand took a page from Bioshock Infinite as the majority of the music is performed by a small string ensemble and there is absolutely no  compression.  Also there’s a lot of familiar and historical tunes that pumped the game full of nostalgia.



Origins might be one of the best open-world experiences I’ve ever had.  It felt surprisingly similar to BDO, where you’d go to a new location and clear out the activities (or not) before moving on.  Ancient Egypt provides a couple different biomes, as well as sailing and even some very cool underwater exploration.  Let’s not forget exploring the pyramids.  The kid version of me who poured over the National Geographic spreads would have died for a game like this.



One thing I’ve loved about previous Assassin’s Creed games is that once you get a feel for the combat you can become a total bad-ass.  While the gaming community clamors for punishing encounters, give me the ability to dominate my enemies and I’m a happy person.  Syndicate absolutely shines with it’s consistent counter system and is really fun once you get a good chain going.  Origin’s melee felt annoying but despite that the bow combat was viable in a melee fight and felt incredibly satisfying after pulling off multiple headshots on mounted targets.



One thing Origins got rid of is mission challenges where the game basically shoehorns you into playing a specific way if you’re trying to be completionist.  Just let me do it my own way, damn-it!   Not to mention Syndicate’s chase sequences which were, for the most part, kind of annoying.  Origins pretty much lets you do what you want which is much appreciated.



Ubisoft pretty much gutted the modern day story.  People have been constantly complaining about it, but I loved the modern day sequences as they a) provided a break and b) created an over-arching narrative.  Origins is a step forward by introducing an actual protagonist with an explorable area and even some combat.  Too bad she’s completely unlikable with an over-the-comms companion that is even worse.  Ubisoft had a good thing going with Desmond, Lucy, Shaun and Rebecca but gutted the dynamic for the quick emotion pay-off of character deaths.

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