Melee Combat Weapons
Melee range is where our assassins will be spending most of their time when in in combat and it is probably your largest single source of damage. Evie and Jacob come equipped with one of three different types of weapons that can be changed in the inventory menu at any time. Depending on the weapon equipped, there are slight bonuses applied:
Kukris - The Kukris are small, dagger-like short swords which are highly lethal. This means we can trigger finisher attacks with a higher percentage of enemy health remaining when compared to the other two available weapon types.
Cane-Swords - The cane-swords are a concealed weapon and as such are not quite as deadly as the kukris at triggering finishers, it does however have an increased chance of stunning enemies upon contact and for a longer duration than the other two weapons.
Brass Knuckles - The brass knuckles are a hybrid combination of the kukris and the cane-sword. They are less lethal than the kukris but more so than the cane-swords and can also stun enemies to good effect (although not on the same level as the cane-swords).
Ranged Combat Weapons
In addition to the melee weaponry, Evie and Jacob are also able to engage in ranged combat as well. Whilst ranged combat is not quite as common as melee combat, it can be used to disrupt or counter snipers and other ranged attackers. It is also a good technique to use when attempting to sneak into restricted areas and to eliminate enemies from a distance undetected. Depending on the weapon equipped, different techniques apply:
Firearms - The firearms in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate are revolvers which means you get up to 6 shots to fire before requiring to reload. The revolvers are not silenced so if you do fire off a round, enemies nearby will usually be alerted to your presence. As per most shooting games, headshots deal significantly more damage than body shots. The firearms can be fired during melee combat to temporarily stun/stagger enemies.
Throwing Knives - Throwing knives are perhaps the most lethal weapon in the entire game. A single headshot with a knife will kill all but the strongest of enemies and they are completely silent. This means you can potentially wipe out an entire patrol/restricted area easily and efficiently if you stay out of sight. As with the pistols headshots deal significantly more damage than body shots and knives can be thrown during melee combat to temporarily stun/stagger enemies.
Hallucinogenic Darts - These darts are similar to the Blowpipe that we had in both Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Assassin’s Creed Rogue. This time around however we only have a single effect for the darts – we can make enemies attack each other. Shooting an enemy with a dart will have them go berserk, attacking anyone nearby, friend or foe. Hitting a fire source with a dart will create a small area of effect around it effecting any enemies within range.
Smoke Bombs - Smoke bombs can be either thrown at enemies at range, or be to either disorient and stun them, so that you can follow up with some melee attacks of your own or so that you can obscure their line of sight and quickly escape from a search area or open conflict.
Voltaic Bombs - Voltaic Bombs are used in a similar way to Smoke Bombs and can either be tossed at enemies or dropped at your feet. The Voltaic Bombs release an electrical charge that will cause damage and stun nearby enemies for a short period of time.
As with the Assassin’s Creed titles that came before it, there is a little more finesse to the combat system in Syndicate than simply mashing the melee button constantly. Syndicate adopts most closely Assassin’s Creed: Unity’s style of combat. For those who overlooked Unity on the basis of its fairly rough shape at launch and mediocre reviews, this fighting system essentially means a heavier focus on combos, countering and guard breaking.
- Attack – The standard melee attack. This can be executed by tapping the X/Square buttons.
- Ranged Attack – Pressing the Y/Triangle button during combat will fire a projectile at the nearest target. The projectile used will depend on the ranged weapon that is currently equipped.
- Bombs – If you have either a Smoke Bomb or Voltaic Bomb equipped in your ranged weapon slot, hitting the Y/Triangle button in combat will have your assassin of choice drop the bomb at their feet. This will stun nearby enemies, leaving them open for attack.
- Counter – Pressing the B/Circle button when an enemy’s health bar flashes yellow will trigger a counter attack. This will stun the enemy and allow you to link in some standard melee attacks to press your advantage.
- Guard Break – If an enemy’s health bar appears as a solid white box, it means that they are blocking. Hitting the A/X button will utilize a heavy attack that will break an enemy’s defenses and stun them for a short period, giving you an opportunity to attack.
- Finishers – Reducing an enemies health to its lowest possible level whilst they are still alive will have them stand around somewhat dazed (although they can still try a half-hearted swing at you). Attacking an enemy in this state will trigger a flashy, cinematic finishing move that will kill them. It is possible to perform a finisher on up to four staggered enemies at once.
- Dodge – If you are in the sight of a ranged attacker or Sniper, a button prompt will appear over your character’s head when the enemy is about to fire. Hit the Y/Triangle button at this time to dodge the attack. Pressing it twice will have Evie/Jacob use a raged weapon back at the attacker, dealing some damage.