After Assassin's Creed Unity launched in shameful condition on the PlayStation 4 last year, there's been much discussion over how 2015's follow up, Assassin's Creed Syndicate, will run on Sony's home console. After the beating that Unity took, you'd assume that Ubisoft would do its best to ensure that Syndicate performs well on a technical level, but according to recent reports, the latest tale of Assassins versus Templars is disappointingly shoddy.
Fortunately, we've managed to get our hands on the stab-'em-up, and we can safely say that we didn't encounter any crashes or noticeable frame rate drops. In fact, the whole thing ran at a very solid 30 frames-per-second, even when we got into a big scuffle with a load of overly cockney guards.
Playing as Evie, the supposed stealth specialist, we were dropped into a mission which made full use of the series' 'black box' design; we were presented with several different routes to success, and it was interesting to see how each path played out.
Sporting new gadgets like the zip line, which allows you to traverse far greater distances between rooftops with a push of L1, there's a definite smoothness to Syndicate's gameplay that's nice to see, even if it's not particularly revolutionary. In some ways, it still feels like Unity - or, indeed, Assassin's Creed in general - but as you'd expect, aspects have been refined and honed. For example, the process of climbing up and down buildings appears to be more responsive - even if it does retain that traditional stickiness that sees the protagonist cling to bits of buildings that you're desperately trying to get away from.
There is one area where this London-based excursion seems to stumble, however, and that's with its amount of glitches. A common occurrence in almost all open world releases, small visual bugs like this are all but expected these days, but you have to consider that our demo lasted about twenty minutes, and in that short amount of time, we saw the lot. Whether it was Ms. Frye clipping into the scenery or non-playable characters locking into animations that didn't click into the correct position, it's not harsh to say that our immersion was broken a few too many times.
We obviously can't go into excessive detail without a longer look at the game, but we're quietly confident that it'll turn out better than the franchise's previous instalment if our early look is anything to go by, despite some of the aforementioned annoyances. Having said that, our demo was limited to a singular mission - whether or not the title cracks and creaks under the weight of its full sandbox setting is up for debate. As such, we're certainly not giving Syndicate the benefit of the doubt just yet - but hey, let's try to be positive for once.
Will you be taking a tour of Victorian London later this year, or is the jury still out on Ubisoft's latest? Share your best rhyming slang in the comments section below.