While a lot has been said of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate’s dual protagonists – the twins Jacob and Evie Frye – as well as its London setting, one gameplay feature that isn’t getting enough attention is the rope launcher. We’ve detailed the new rope launcher in past previews of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, but it was only after experiencing the mechanic first-hand at Comic-Con 2015 that it became clear how much of a game-changer the device is.
Narratively, the introduction of the rope launcher makes sense. London is the most bustling and advanced city that Ubisoft has ever featured in an Assassin’s Creed game, and with that comes wider streets and taller buildings. But rather than have players struggle to get between, or ascend, those buildings, Ubisoft has introduced the rope launcher to be the ultimate solution.
With the rope launcher equipped, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate players can quickly zip up buildings and create their own pathways between them at the push of a button. More importantly, the speed with which the rope launcher lets players climb up buildings or dart between them doesn’t make the mechanic feel like much of a chore. It really is a streamlined version of the free climbing the series has been known for, but one that is wholly necessary.
Some may think that the rope launcher eliminates essential parts of the Assassin’s Creed DNA, but most of the traversal has become perfunctory at this point. Getting from point A to point B can sometimes be fun, but it can also be a chore. Now Ubisoft has given those players an option; they can choose to enjoy the parkour as is, or they can use the rope launcher as a smarter tool for traversal.
Make no mistake, though, there are still plenty of opportunities for players to enjoy the Assassin’s Creed parkour that they know and love – with the added Unity touch of free running up or down via separate buttons. The mission featured during our demo, for example, was meant to highlight the rope launcher, but once the actual stalking of the prey began, the parkour became an important component of the gameplay.
By and large the rest of the demo plays out exactly like past experiences (read our hands-on preview for more), but it’s worth calling attention to the rope launcher because of how important it could be to the Assassin’s Creed franchise moving forward. As we move closer and closer to time periods that feature faster forms of ground travel – Syndicate does feature trains and horse drawn carriages – it’s going to get harder to convince players to take to the rooftops. But with the rope launcher, Ubisoft has something that feels like a massive step forward for the franchise, and a cool assassin-y gadget to boot.
Do you think the rope launcher is a much-needed addition to Assassin’s Creed? Or do you think it will take away from one of fans’ favorite parts about the game?
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate releases October 23, 2015 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.