The combat is a lot of fun, with the addition of several new toys (provided largely by Alexander Graham Bell, who is lovely and Scottish) and also combos and quick-keys to enable you to use your knives, guns, darts and bombs in combat without too much work. Arkham City's combat remains a constant influence, but here the combat often feels on par, despite some slightly wonky countering.
This is good, because you're going to be doing a lot of fighting. A red-shirted Templar-backed gang of clones - or probably clones, based on the fact there appear to be just 5 enemy models - control the city, and a key part of the Frye twins masterplan is to take it back.
This means doing a lot of different activities from assassinating templars and kidnapping key figures to rescuing kids from workhouses. An assassin's work is never done, and at the start of the game you'll run into these activities all over London. Later on, they fade away as you unite London under a new gang: your own. This isn't so bad, though - at the 30-hour mark I've reclaimed most of the city, but there's still plenty to see and do.
London is well designed too, even if this bastardised London makes little sense to those of us who live there: my beloved home of Caledonian Road has been done away with, in favour of picking up my original London home of Whitechapel from its East London location and dropping it right on top of the City of London.
It's a small annoyance, though, because the rest of London is quite simply excellent. From the workhouses to the pubs, it feels like I would expect Victorian London to feel, from my pop culture exposure.
That's what Syndicate delivers: Pop culture history. Want to do missions with Charles Darwin? How about that other famous bearded Charles, Dickens? Him too. Trade words with Florence Nightingale and a few historical figures I can't name for fear of spoilers. If tasteless abuse of history is your thing, you can even take on Jack The Ripper in paid DLC.
It's all that it's ever offered, and while the gameplay should change as we get closer to the present day, it hasn't. This is heartbreaking because it's a fun game. I've had a great time with it, but I also know that I'll never go back to it.
Will you enjoy Assassins Creed: Syndicate? I did. I was happy to spend my time on it, and I'd do it again. The game has some really excellent set pieces and some fun combat - even the hits feel like there's a bit of variety to your approach for the first time. This is the pinnacle of Assassin's Creed. It hasn't been better than this and it likely won't beat this.
However, it's still the same game I played in 2007. With Ubisoft's commitment to a yearly franchise and an Assassin's Creed movie edging towards production, we're not seeing the back of the series yet, but it feels tired.
Maybe it's time to throw the whole formula in the Thames and take a fresh approach?