Assassin’s Creed: Jack The Ripper – Review
Apologies for the lateness of this review. A lot has been happening in my life between personal issues, family issues, and the works. Thankfully, the fine folks over at Ubisoft gave me a review code for the Jack The Ripper DLC for Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and I’ve finally found the time to sit down and toss out the review.
Assassin’s Creed: Jack The Ripper takes place twenty or so years after the events of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and follows the fabled and interesting tale of the infamous murderer, Jack The Ripper in the late 1800s of Whitechapel. You take on the role of one Evie Frye after discovering her brother has been kidnapped, and possibly murdered by the one and only Jack The Ripper. Don’t fret though, you’re not stuck playing Evie through the entire thing, you do get to dabble a bit in the shoes of the titular character, but more on that later.
One of the things I have to applaud the developers for this DLC is that they didn’t age the characters graciously. They aged like normal human beings, and well…they look like they’ve aged another twenty years since the events of Syndicate. I love seeing that, and I love that they didn’t age ridiculously well like some other characters in media. Jacob and Evie Frye look well worn and the stress of living life as an Assassin seems to have had its toll on the siblings.
Story-wise I can’t really say much without spoiling the plot of the game so it’s kind of depressing that I can’t talk much about it other than it’s extremely dark, and invokes a more horror feel than any of the other Assassin Creed titles and story DLCs have displayed in the past, and for that reason alone it got its hooks into me deep. I’m a sucker for horror, and the Victorian Era and I have a sort of morbid fascination with the legend surrounding Jack The Ripper.
In essence, the plot has you in the shoes of Evie Frye trying to capture Jack The Ripper during his murderous spree in Whitechapel where he slew prostitutes/ladies of the night, but in the universe of Assassin’s Creed we find out that these women have ties to the Assassin Order, and that Jack himself was once an Assassin being trained by Jacob. That’s not really a spoiler as it’s sort of revealed within the first few minutes of the game and that’s all I can say about the story, other than it feels kind of short and it does get a bit repetitive with the whole “detective” side of things, but if you’re into the whole Jack The Ripper legend and this kind of horror-ish setting then you should be satisfied.
Some new elements come into play with the DLC as well. First off, you’re not really pushed towards killing people anymore and play with a more “knock-out” style of gameplay that revolves around fear. While playing as Evie you’re no longer running around with a cane sword, or kukris but instead your weapons of choice seem to mostly slide over to the blunt-force side of things, and play on the element of fear. This being, if an enemy sees you beat the shit out of another enemy there’s a chance they’ll get scared and run-off instead of openly engaging you in a fight. It’s a nice touch, and it sort of felt way more badass then running around and stabbing people in a fight. The less lethal approach makes sense too as Evie feels more developed, and her training in India (I could be wrong about the location) taught her to fight using these fear tactics, and the spice-up in the combat side of gameplay was a welcomed touch.
Aside from the blunt-force weaponry and fear take-downs (which are super awesome when pulled off) you also get these neat little spikes that you use to pin people into the ground which again, causes anyone in the vicinity to witness it become fearful and run off, which makes clearing out large swarms of enemies extremely useful. Don’t fret though, if you prefer to take people out with lethal force you can still do that, they haven’t taken it out entirely, but there’s much less of an emphasis on killing people this time around, unless you’re in the shoes of the Ripper.
Now, during certain moments of the game you get to step into the shoes of Jack and get to run around as him and just cause chaos, and murder a bunch of people. You don’t get nullified for killing innocent people, and you can just run around butchering people. These moments are a nice touch getting to play as the main villain, and he doesn’t have the same fight style as Evie. He’s ruthless, and uses a gruesome knife for his take-downs which generally consist of stabbing the victim multiple times, more so than necessary. There’s also a really cool HUD aspect when playing as Jack where it seems to be showing his mental illness by filling the screen with his inner thoughts, and just some really unnerving shit. It’s really cool, and really puts the emphasis on how messed up mentally this character is.
The only downside is you don’t really get to play as Jack all that much, and I kind of wished the game was centered around playing as Jack as it would have been a neat change in what we’re used to playing these games having us play as some extremely evil, and ruthless being. All in all, the Jack The Ripper missions where we got to step into his boots were some of the best in the game and I just wish there were more and that they weren’t so few and far between. There was a lot of potential here and a game where you actually play as the Ripper would have been a neat thing to see, even if some people might have frowned upon the concept.
All in all, the DLC is a pretty fun experience and the horror feel of the game was a nice touch and totally drove home the tone, and setting of a Jack The Ripper inspired story and setting. Horror really works well for Assassin’s Creed and I’d love to see more of this someday down the road. Sadly, the story does feel a little short and we rarely get to play as the titular character which is a tad disappointing as it could have opened so many unique opportunities for a game like this. The approach to a ‘non-lethal’ style of combat in the hands of our protagonist was a nice touch with the emphasis on killing people in the previous entries, and shows a sort of character development in Evie Frye and how she has grown over these twenty years since the events of Syndicate.
The DLC looks, sounds and just screams eerie and if you’re a fan of Syndicate then you owe it yourself to check out the DLC. There’s some meat to if in terms of additional side-quests, but the real selling point here is the horror sort of aspect to it, and the legendary Jack The Ripper story behind it all. If you didn’t like Syndicate then the DLC is totally not for you, and if you’re not into horror, or the disturbing legend of Jack The Ripper you might want to shy away from it, unless you have some type of morbid curiosity.
Assassin’s Creed: Jack The Ripper gets a: