1. #1
    Assassin_M's Avatar AC Expert
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    My impressions from playing the demo 12 times.

    Great thread by Sixkeys but I feel like this should be its own thread, since hers took a direction i'm not really interested in. I'll probably be a lot more biased because of my views on AC as a historical open world, so hopefully everyone will take it easy on me. If the mods feel like this shouldnt be its own thread, then that's fine as well.

    So I played the Syndicate demo about 12 times. Talked to Side content director and a Game Designer. Sixkeys and I ate the side content director's ears out with questions and every time I came back, they're like "Oh, it's you again". I bored them hard, so anyways. Here're my impressions.

    - Multiple finishers are back: Those can be done after you get two opponents groggy. The next time you attack either of them, the animation will initiate.

    - Entering windows became much more streamlined than how it was in Unity. There's now a more clearly dedicated button for it and the feedback for it is perfect.

    - I thought the combat animations WERE a bit a clunky and cartoonish at first but over time, it grew on me. It's very reminiscent of the Arkham games. I couldn't pinpoint exactly what made turned me off from the animations at first but then I realized that it's the length of animation for every attack. Attacks are not just punches anymore, an attack can be a punch first then an arm twist or a gut punch and then arm twist. That's all one animation. I didn't like that, to be honest. But then I realized that incorporating tools like the revolver and throwing knives are back and you can switch between them during combat sequences. As the attack animation ensues, you can switch to throwing knife and quickly press the tool button to throw a knife at someone behind you when the animation finishes. It plays smoothly and looks very cool.

    - Unfortunately, it looks like the hood and hat are tied to sneaking and not sneaking. It's the closest thing to a hood button yet. I told the Side content director about it, the fact that people will dislike it being tied to sneaking, and he said he'll pass it on to the team and see if they can make it more open

    - Going back to the combat system, nothing felt pointless. I talked before about how AC II's system was problematic because the features did not revolve around the system (throwing dust to slow down guards when they're never really constantly attacking), there's nothing like that in Syndicate. It has more features as a system than Unity but it's a lot more compact than prior games. There's a stun button which is used on big guy archetypes, there's the tool button and there's counter attacking. It's a balance between Unity and prior games.

    - Counter attacking is back but it works differently than before. It's not a guaranteed win. The counter button is used for dodging bullets and countering punches. It works like Unity's parry system in combat.

    - You can dodge bullets as you escape

    - I talked to the game designer about the HUD intrusion in things like the GPS system, etc and he talked about it as a good thing but I disagreed and he said they have to put in mind the mainstream player....which is....understandable....I guess. He said I can turn it off anyway.

    - Rope launcher doesn't feel gimmicky or gamey. It serves an aesthetic and gameplay purpose. The animations for it are very well and realistically done. It's not like batman where you'll instantly launch to the roof, Jacob actually has animation feedback for buildings, where he uses his legs and feet as leverage when launching upwards. It also cannot be used in combat. What you saw in the CG trailer is an environmental kill.

    - Snap cover was removed because it was clunky and now it's more contextual like the last of us. There's also animation feedback for when you're close to walls in cover, which is a nice touch. Cover kills stay, though, where if you kill someone while you're positioned behind a corner, the animation will ensue as if you're snapped to cover. This was a bit problematic for a me, though as sometimes, the animation didn't work and Jacob would just stand up and do a regular standing assassination. I don't know if it was my fault because I wasn't positioned correctly or the game just sometimes does not respond. If it's the latter, I can say "well, pre-alpha", if it's the earlier, then they just replaced a problem with another problem.

    - Parkour down is improved greatly. In ACU, sometimes Arno would just zap down when there's no constriction or piece of wood below him to initiate an animation. Now there's feedback for those situations. Jacob would slide on walls with his hands and feet if the down path ONLY has walls.

    - Side jumping still sucks

    - Parkour in general has been greatly streamlined with some new animations added for Jacob. It feels a lot heavier, the gravity felt much better and each jump feels right.

    - I asked side content director about the side missions. I told him about how Witcher 3 organically integrates side missions and events into the game world by having players just run into them. They're not always on the map, as that makes it feel it was from an outside source and thus breaks immersion. He said he completely agrees with me and that he's pushing for that direction, as some side missions will indeed be introduced like that in Syndicate but others will remain the same as before. He talked again about the mainstream and that most AC players wont explore but he still agreed with me and said he's pushing for it to be more like the Witcher.

    - RANDOM EVENTS WILL BE THERE!! Hopefully it's not like Frozen Lakes. Sixkeys and I debated whether or not to ask him about frozen lakes.

    - I talked with the game designer and side content director at length about why some features from the old games were removed (such as gently shoving people aside when you walk) and he said that it's an engine issue. It's hard to carry over things from the old engine and pointed towards the Altair outfit in AC III but said that over time, as they learn more, they'll be able to bring back all the old stuff. It's worth mentioning though that there's a new animation when passing by NPCs. Jacob would side step walkers left and right. It's not the best but it looks much better than Unity.

    - There will be interiors but they wont be as plentiful as in ACU. The side content director said that they cut down on unnecessary interiors and left only the necessary ones. For use in strongholds, parkour sequences...etc. This was done because it was one of the major contributers to the FPS and stability problem in Unity.

    - You can hide in carriages but it wasn't available in the demo.

    - LOADS of new NPC stations. I saw 3 girls playing football (not hand-egg), kids playing tag (Kids are back), a rich dude shouting at a worker, mailman delivering mail...etc. It should be noted that the crowds are not COMPLETELY gone. There areas with significant numbers of crowds that should satisfy everyone's tasty social stealth needs.

    - I tried testing out NPC behavior. I pointed a gun at one guy and he got scared, kept standing there until I dropped my aim and then he started running away. Guards also react to throwing knives, you can use them as a lure device.

    - Bombs might return

    - Black Box missions and adaptive mission system will return from Unity. If I lost Bloody Nora, it turned into a track mission.

    - Graphical fidelity was lessened because of unity's frame rate problems but I was very impressed as the visuals still maintain the look of Unity. They retained the global illumination as well and used a great technique for the huge amount of smoke in the distance, which Tomb Raider also used for Lara's torch fire. I never actually thought they'd be able to render the smoke great distances but they did. The places that took a hit are textures (very low occlusion) and faces. Like SIxkeys said, it's the AC IV faces to AC III.

    - Carriage driving works like GTA. Right trigger to steer and left trigger to brake. How much you push the trigger is what constitutes speed. The carriage handling felt pretty good and the ramming system works well. It's reminiscent of sleeping dogs' ramming system. During my playthroughs, I managed to completely avoid injuring or hitting civilians.

    - Environmental kills offer a great array of options to exploit. I was able to tinker with the AI a lot. There're fire pits where guards walk by to warm themselves up, which can be used with the "hallucinogenic darts"(lel) to enhance the affection range. There was an area with the barrels AND the pit. I used the pit first to poison everyone, then one moved closer and closer under the barrels and I used a throwing knife to drop them.

    Over all....i'm positive but don't kill me. As I said, i'm pretty biased, so take what I said as will.

    Please ask any questions if you have, I might not remember things but would remember when asked.
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  2. #2
    I-Like-Pie45's Avatar Senior Member
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    are the kids demons once more, and can you kill them this time?
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  3. #3
    Assassin_M's Avatar AC Expert
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    Originally Posted by I-Like-Pie45 Go to original post
    are the kids demons once more, and can you kill them this time?
    No and no. They played games, you monster
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  4. #4
    I am glad that someone is satisfied with the demo!Some questions:
    -Did you ask about customisation?
    -Did you use the cane sword?If yes,how can you compare it to fists combat?
    -Did the side missions guy tell you what kind of side missions we can expect?
    -Did you ask anything about weather etc?
    -Anything about the narrative/MD?
    -FPS?

    Thanks
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  5. #5
    Assassin_M's Avatar AC Expert
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    Originally Posted by dimbismp Go to original post
    I am glad that someone is satisfied with the demo!
    Go to reddit. A lot of people are satisfied there too.


    -Did you ask about customisation?
    Yes, he said it'll be less than Unity but he didn't make it clear if that meant less in number or scope. After missions, you get rewards in the form of tools and gear from Henry. I'm assuming clothes will be a part of it, so. Don't take my word for it but I think you'll be able to customize specific body parts but it wont be as much as Unity. He also said that not a lot of people used all the options, I pointed out the club competitions and some of the restrictions for unlocking outfits but he said even for the simple stuff, not a lot used them.

    -Did you use the cane sword?If yes,how can you compare it to fists combat?
    Wasn't in demo unfortunately.

    -Did the side missions guy tell you what kind of side missions we can expect?
    Strongholds, some type of murder mysteries, raids on factories to save kids and random happenings in the street. He said there's more but he cannot say.

    -Did you ask anything about weather etc?
    Yes, there's fully dynamic weather but there was none in the demo.


    -Anything about the narrative/MD?
    Not a peep.

    -FPS?
    Very stable most of the time. Takes some dips during carriage chases but nothing too significant. It's not really something to measure accurately in a pre alpha demo with only a very small area to play in, though, I must point that out.

    Thanks
    Very welcome.
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  6. #6
    I-Like-Pie45's Avatar Senior Member
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    Originally Posted by Assassin_M Go to original post
    No and no. They played games, you monster
    well some of us here are still scarred from ac3's street urchins

    those kids are probably the reason why haytham became a sociopath, washington a tyrannical king, and lee became a ******bag

    and keep in mind that as a bear, i am not bound by the same restrictions in tastes that humans are
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  7. #7
    Assassin_M's Avatar AC Expert
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    Originally Posted by I-Like-Pie45 Go to original post
    well some of us here are still scarred from ac3's street urchins

    those kids are probably the reason why haytham became a sociopath, washington a tyrannical king, and lee became a ******bag
    Well, kids in Syndicate are more like RL kids.
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  8. #8
    m4r-k7's Avatar Senior Member
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    How does London compare to Paris? From the demo it looks like it is not as washed out as France looked in Unity. How are the building structures etc - are they better to free run on as free running felt very clunky in Unity. Its strange because when people think of Victorian England, fog and darkness comes to mind but it seems they are aiming for a more brighter London. Did the developers have anything to say about that?

    Thanks
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  9. #9
    Sorrosyss's Avatar Senior Member
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    Thanks M, that's a really nice writeup. The combat animations remain my main concern at present, but I suppose we have not seen much of the weapon animations thus far. Still, that's pretty positive overall. Good to see.
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  10. #10
    Assassin_M's Avatar AC Expert
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    Originally Posted by m4r-k7 Go to original post
    How does London compare to Paris? From the demo it looks like it is not as washed out as France looked in Unity. How are the building structures etc - are they better to free run on as free running felt very clunky Unity. Its strange because when people think of Victorian England, fog and darkness comes to mind but it seems they are aiming for a more brighter London. Did the developers have anything to say about that?

    Thanks
    London is larger than Paris (which is really surprising) and on average, the buildings are also much taller. There's a lot of color to buildings with some brick, some wood, some concrete, some stone and the signs on top of buildings also add to all the color. Posters line plank walls for plays, news..etc. I also ran into workers working on sewers....just some random immersion. I loved Paris, but London may top it for me. Parkour on buildings is much better, the zip lines offer great versatility. You can drop at any time as you zipline across a street. There are also better parkour animations, which makes the parkour feel much better and heavier than in Unity. There will be a lot of districts and each district will have its flavor. The game designer talked about white chapel for example and said it'll have the iconic darkness of mainstream Victorian London. Most other places will be bright and colorful because they wanted to emphasize this booming era of progress and advancement.

    You're most welcome.
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