Assassin’s Creed Syndicate: how to level up and become a master Assassin
Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate offers some pretty tough challenges, even for skilled players. If you’re having your butt handed to you, it’s probably not your fault; you may be under-levelled, under-equipped or just under-informed on the many paths to total domination available to the Frye twins.
Whether you choose to sneak around your enemies as the shadowy Evie or send Jacob in to stomp on their faces, our expert tips will get you back on par with your enemies in no time. Just don’t go prancing into Westminster before you’re ready, eh?
Don’t hoard skill points
Sometimes you’ll have a few skill points, but you don’t especially want any of the available skills. “I’ll just save these till I level up,” you might think, “And then buy that awesome level three skill”.
No, my child, because you level up by spending skill points. Make it rain on that menu and you’ll soon have access to better skills and gear. There is no limit on how many skill points you can earn as you play, so don’t worry about overspending; you can eventually fill out the whole upgrade grid, bar character-locked skills.
On that note, let’s talk about earning skill points.
Get XP everywhere you can
You need 1,000 experience points to unlock a skill point, and luckily, it’s available everywhere. You earn XP for performing assassin actions (stabbing people), completing missions and activities, picking up collectibles and completing collections.
You can increase the amount of XP you earn from missions and activities by completing optional objectives, which is highly recommended. In a medium-difficulty area, you can easily earn over 500 XP from a single open-world activity like a Gang Stronghold including any incidental XP you earn for stabbing everyone – which means you’ll be earning skill points at least once every second activity.
The tiny bits of XP you earn from assassin actions really add up, so do stab every Blighter you meet (if you have the auto-loot skill, you’ll line your pockets quickly, too). Also: whenever you’re in a carriage, drive on the footpath. Knocking over a couple of bollards or lamp posts in rapid succession is an act of “Wanton Destruction”, which is apparently an assassin action. The more you know.
Speaking of assassin actions, each one unlocks a perk if performed repeatedly. Some of these are very easy to obtain – you’ll have a couple of hundred assassinations under your belt in a few hours, for example – while others will require a bit of determination to achieve.
Each of them can make your life easier. For example, Vanish often enough and you’ll find you become anonymous much faster after evading searchers. Others increase your general attack and defence.
You can browse the Perks menu to see what’s available and how close you are to achieving each one. Your best bet for unlocking Perks is to do this early in the game and bear them in mind as you go; take every opportunity to perform cover assassinations instead of rushing out for a backstab, for example, and remember to use inventory items you’ve been ignoring, like bombs. Who knows? You might discover a new favourite technique as you go, and that’s reward enough.
Specialise the twins
You’ll need to play as both Evie and Jacob throughout Syndicate, so make sure you’re updating their skills and gear at regular intervals. When it comes time to build them out, think about taking them down different paths.
Each twin has access to specific skills the other cannot use, meaning Evie is a much stronger stealth character, while Jacob has the advantage in open conflict. If you back this up with good gear choices, each is a powerhouse in their own field. If you’re going into a stealth mission such as Child Liberation or Gang Stronghold, take Evie; for Gang War or if you’re having trouble with stealth and want to try a direct approach, take Jacob.
That said, do plug the gaps in their skills when you’ve eventually got extra points to spare. Completing optional objectives in main missions is very difficult if Jacob can’t sneak worth a damn, for example. Buying out the boosts that lead to Evie’s capstone skills can really help him out – and vice versa.
Don’t bother crafting, buying or upgrading weapons, capes and belts
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate pulls a bit of a swifty on you by filling your inventory with exciting new weapons, belts, capes and upgrades of all kinds. “Buy these,” it hints. “Craft those. Become stronger!”
You really don’t need to. As long as you have one weapon, belt or cape appropriate to your level, you don’t need another: they’re just cosmetic sidegrades. You don’t even need one of each type of weapon; choosing between a level four cane, kukri or brass knuckles set is just a matter of deciding which one you like using more – or which one has the most synergy with your other gear. Save your money in case you get to level five and don’t have any level five weapons – although quest rewards usually leave you one step ahead in that regard.
Oh, and don’t bother upgrading low-level gear unless you’re really struggling, either; it’s better to wait for level nine stuff and pour your resources into that, unless you really dislike how they look.
Pay attention to Outfits and Tool Upgrades
Although weapons, capes and belts are easily obtained at no cost, Outfits are a bit thin on the ground and can have some great benefits. For instance, one of Jacob’s outfits provides a boost to brass knuckles;if you have a decent set and like using them, you can have a good time. Others upgrade your on-hand supplies, or provide better defence. It’s worth knowing what you’ve got, how it might work with other gear, and what you need to do to get more.
Likewise, Tool Upgrades are definitely worth investing in. Carrying four hallucinogenic darts and 30 throwing knives can mean the difference between success and failure in a tense stealth mission. Give yourself options.
You usually need to complete story missions and conquest activities to unlock new tiers of both Outfits and Tool Upgrades, by the way.
Upgrade the Rooks – and use them
Once you reach Sequence 4, visit the Gang Upgrades poster in your train or look in your menu for options to upgrade the Rooks. Although your gang can be a little annoying at times (please stop accidentally shooting my kidnap targets after you start random fights with nearby Blighters, guys), they have a great many uses.
Like the thieves, mercenaries and courtesans of past games, they provide a terrific distraction in heavily-guarded areas, allowing you to stealth on through. They can be positioned with the wait command, providing crowd cover. And of course you can bring a huge stack of them with your to tough fights, and even have them ride with you as you do highjack missions.
Although they start off very squishy, upgrading your Rooks to level nine, giving them weapons, and filling their ranks with tougher unit types makes them much more hardy – especially in conjunction with the debuffs for Blighters. Eventually you’ll even be able to summon a carriage full of Rooks to aid you at any time, and that’s super rad.
Learn to use the Rope Launcher properly
I know, I know – you think climbing is kind of the point of Assassin’s Creed. But the buildings in London are freaking enormous, and while the baddies don’t throw rocks or shoot as much as they used to, they’re nimble as heck and will climb up after you.
Used properly, the Rope Launcher makes traversing the city at rooftop level an absolute joy instead of an exercise in frustration. It makes for quick getaways when detected. You can clear out a whole Gang Stronghold with air assassinations without getting caught, by zipping away into the rafters. You can even air assassinate or leap of faith from the zipline, which is awesome as well as tactically useful.
The trick to the rope launcher is understanding how it works. It will only attach to horizontal vertices, corners or apexes of buildings and structures, and in order for it to attach you need to be either standing on an attach point yourself, or almost directly below one. That’s why you can’t attach to the middle of a blank wall and haul yourself horizontally along the ground, which would be too silly even for me to deal with.
Combat in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate has been simplified again, but it can rapidly get out of control. You can chain together attacks, counters, stuns and tool use if you press the keys calmly and precisely rather than hammering away rapidly. This is good practice as it trains you to use different attacks and leaves you enough breathing space to switch to counter, dodge or stun when necessary.
Reducing enemies to near death – very low health – will leave them reeling and attacking very infrequently. Try to get every enemy around you into this state before you kill any of them, and you’ll perform a multi-kill. This looks super cool, awards you XP, contributes towards perk attainment and if you have the right skill also auto-loots.
If you’re really struggling, try out the different weapon classes; some are more lethal than others, though they each have their uses. In any case, the animations are terrific. You’ll want to see all the contextual and multi-kills, for sure.
Cover is your friend
Stealth has been changed a little bit since Unity and the cover system is no longer such a mess. Any time you’re in stealth and position Jacob or Evie close to appropriate cover, they’ll automatically go into it. You can tell when they’re in cover because they place one hand against it. When you’re in cover, enemies can’t see you – unless they approach from your side, of course!
You can assassinate enemies from behind cover, of course, and unless other baddies are very close by, or your stealth stat is particularly low, this usually won’t alert anyone. Press down on the D-pad to whistle and attract an enemy’s attention, and they almost always approach. Snipers usually won’t come over, unfortunately. That’s where knives come in.
Knives, knives, knives
If you’ve been playing Syndicate and thinking “if only I had like a tranquiliser gun, or a silencer, or something”, well: it’s time to investigate knives. If you keep upgrading your knives and knife skills when you can and play level-appropriate missions, a headshot will kill all but Leaders, and even a quickshot will take down almost any grunt. This is great for clearing enemies from your intended stealth path.
Knives aren’t just good for stealth, either; when a melee starts, hammer the tool button a few times to emit a flurry of knives at your assassin’s nearest targets. Many of them will go down immediately, and others will lose a chunk of health. Just be careful not to do this if there are Rooks about; you’ll end up stabbing them instead.
The range on knives is almost over-powered; you can stand on a roof and clear an entire area, dashing back out of sight after each shot and waiting for the fuss to die down. This is great for quickly clearing out Blighters around Kidnap missions especially.