Ubisoft’s announcement that it would adapt the murders of Jack the Ripper into a rip-roaring epilogue for Assassin’s Creed Syndicate was a huge surprise. Was it worth it? Let’s find out.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate – Jack The Ripper DLC
Available on: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows (tested)
It was a surprise indeed, but also something Assassin’s Creed fans were waiting for since the series’ earliest entries. Syndicate’s main campaign was set in Victorian London some 20 years earlier, and Ubisoft knew it was the right time to make the move. They just decided to wait a few months for us to complete everything Syndicate had to offer.
Jack the Ripper’s story stretches over exactly 10 missions. It is not a lengthy campaign, although you can chew a little more if you decide to do the additional activities. They are not bad by any means, but the core story is just that: 10 missions that will take you between 3 and 4 hours – at most.
There is also a lack of new areas. The missions are largely situated in Whitechapel, where the Ripper’s murders took place: an already well-trod locale in the main game. Both this district and the City of London are populated with new activities and the rest of London is locked off. The DLC’s geography is almost identical if you decide the new collectibles are not worth your time.
The events of Jack’s murder spree are for the most part handled with appropriate care. The new campaign is not about blood and gore, it is about an interesting historical event –as you can expect from the series- and the story benefits from Evie’s more mature presence. Jacob is missing, something strange is going on, and is up to Evie to find out what it is. And she brings new tools to the table: the ability to inflict fear among our enemies with both Jack and Evie.
Mechanically, there’s nothing in Jack the Ripper which reinvents the Assassin’s Creed formula. Evie is fully leveled up, so she can start learning the new skills right away. She has “fear bombs” which spit it out amid sparks, spikes to impale enemies to the ground, and a new heavy takedown move where Evie shakes the hallucinogen around enemies like salt from a shaker. Enemies now have a fear meter with three levels. Fill this up and your foes will simply turn and flee. That’s it. The moves and abilities are not as violent as they sound.
Stealth is also a big part of this DLC. You will need to track down clues and figure what happened in order to progress thru the story. Sometimes you will even need to align correctly from the victim’s point of view to discover where a key item is, analyze blood spatters, find missing objects and read very interesting letters from Jack.
There are several occasions when you are forced away from Evie to play as the Ripper himself. These serve little purpose other than to show the similarities in the techniques he uses compared to Evie’s or, sometimes, to briefly see a location prior or after to Evie’s own visit. Playing as the Ripper gives you some room to brutally kill your targets. The first thing you are asked to do on loading the add-on is to walk Jack through a street to brutally and repeatedly stab an unsuspecting copper, for instance. But this does not mean you will go on a killing spree with Jack. Assassin’s Creed still clings to its traditional ‘you must not kill civilians’ mentality. If you decide to ignore this, you are told he did not kill random people to avoid messing up his plans. If you insist, you will be desynchronized.
Jack the Ripper is another well-rounded addition to the Assassin’s Creed Series. Good fun in its new locations, rather familiar otherwise, but dignified by its treatment of some difficult subject matter. The decision to put Jacob behind the scenes to prioritize Evie’s maturity in the subject goes smoothly with the required stealth and investigations.