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Video Game Review: Jack the Ripper DLC

December 30, 2015 | By Mike Chen | comment on this post
Jack the Ripper
An older Evie Frye leads the solid Jack the Ripper DLC.

While Assassin’s Creed: Unity was a pretty good game, its main story DLC, Dead Kings, was a drab and somewhat poorly designed experience. For Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, Ubisoft has brought us 20 years after the conclusion of the main game to weave England’s notorious Jack the Ripper case into the series lore.

Perhaps the best part about the experience, however, is that the bulk of the DLC (which is segmented into 10 primary missions and numerous side quests) features Evie Frye, a character who is up there with Ezio Auditore among the best in the entire franchise.

This particular DLC is a standalone experience, so your progression in the main game won’t hinder or enhance your abilities (Evie starts out at level 10 by default). The infamous Ripper murders took place in Whitechapel, so the game (and its pretty atrocious loading times) is located primarily there.

Although there are no new areas to explore, Evie does have a new combat tactic that employs fear. Through specialized weapons or unique assassination techniques, Evie instills fear in surrounding enemies, which causes some members of large groups to run away rather than fight. This allows for different strategies when dealing with large groups, as a few focused attacks can wind up dismissing half of them.

The primary missions are mostly well designed, with a few featuring some level of infiltration flexibility. Some of the DLC also has you playing as Jack himself; whether it’s a gimmick to exploit history or a psychological trick to get into the mindset of a murderer, it works effectively thanks to a slightly different GUI and visual elements. This is balanced by Evie’s side quests, which involve finding justice and safety for the prostitutes of London that were the Ripper’s targets.

All of this comes together in a nice, neat package, but perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects is how successfully it tells a solid story with great character work — all without the sprawling scope of a full Assassin’s Creed game, which often muddies the narrative in favour of a bigger-is-better philosophy.

We doubt Ubisoft would ever go with episodic releases for its biggest franchise, but perhaps the actual story structure can be reworked into smaller chunks that work as a cohesive whole.

OVERALL (4.25/5)

While still featuring the majority of pros and cons from Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, the Jack the Ripper DLC is a solid story with the fantastic Evie Frye that introduces a combat mechanic to twist up gameplay options.

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