Evie, who has a twin brother called Jacob, is the greatest asset Ubisoft have to retrieve lost Assassin’s Creed fans.
Upon booting up Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, there was a somewhat exciting feeling that rushed over me. Having listened to well, everyone regarding Unity and avoiding it like a ex-prisoner who broke parole avoids Javert, I was ready for my fix of jumping recklessly into stacks of leaves and miraculously surviving all over again. I had missed the thrill and the joy of a new Assassin’s Creed, something I hadn’t felt since I first booted up the joyous Black Flag way back when I had my heroic Xbox 360.
The incessant positivity I had found Syndicate drowning in was put to my own personal rigour when I played Syndicate for the first in September at EGX in Birmingham. Granted, I only had around ten minutes with the game but in that time I had played through a level and though I didn’t have time to make it through to the end, I knew in my heart that this brand new story set in the glorious Victorian days of London town was going to reignite my interest in the flagging franchise. Not a single thing seemed out of place. Eagle vision was still working as well as it always had, the game looked astonishing on their flatscreen preview televisions and tearing it up and down walls and using the brand new line launcher to get around felt freeing and exciting. There was one thing though that peaked my curiosity more than anything. That was Evie.
In the small section I played, you take control of a female assassin known as Evie Frye, twin sister of male protagonist Jacob, brought to life by a wonderful performance from Victoria Atkin. Evie felt light, nimble, fresh. She had the same abilities as any other Assassin we’ve played as, something though made her a lot more accessible. Like a cross between Lara Croft and Catwoman. Her movements felt precise and I felt like I could move her around a lot more swiftly (something which since playing the game at home I feel like it was all in my head as Jacob and Evie more or less move the same). Evie as a character was curious. Would a dual team Assassin’s game work? Can it really be pulled off? How much game time will I get with Evie in comparison to her male counterpart? All my fears were put to rest once I finally purchased Assassin’s Creed syndicate to play it for myself.
So what makes her so interesting? That you can switch between the two at any time – outside of the missions, you’re locked to playing as a certain twin for particular missions – makes you notice the difference in the missions they are assigned. Out of the two, Evie feels more like the Assassin we’re used to in the franchise. Her missions are primarily stealth, sneaking around London without being detected, cutting down fools who are dumb enough to get in her way. She’s the one who takes the business of being an Assassin a little more seriously than Jacob. Evie plays her cards closer to the order and legacy of her father, being fascinated by the artifacts collected by a certain enemy that used to belong to a certain Pirate Assassin. Her interest in the history of the Creed connects her to the earlier stories, whilst Jacob is far more gun-ho in his approach and is all about taking down the Templars that run amok in 19th Century London building up his own army, known as the Rooks.
Then there’s the fact that Evie is well, an absolute badass. It’s pretty clear she wears the trousers in this brother and sister crime-fighting duo. Whilst Jacob is running around causing all kids of hell Evie will kick ass his into place, reminding him of the mission at hand, which is always hilarious. They fight for the same cause but do it in very different ways, which makes the duo work and utilise their individual skills well. Evie’s skills are fully stealth, allowing her to even disappear whilst in sneak mode, which is delightfully handy. To aid her in her sneaky sneaky skills is the fact she can carry more throwing knives than Jacob, with her individual upgrades connected to stealth over power. She’s the Assassin’s you want on your side sneaking through Westminster Abbey picking locks and climbing Big Ben – which, FYI, gave me a serious case of vertigo the first time I ascended the famous bell. I felt like I was doing it -.
The differences between the two are more noticeable the more you further you get in the game, and benefits it as a whole having two characters you can use. If you want the genuine Assassin’s Creed experience though, you’re going to want Evie under your control.
The next point is just how likeable Evie is – and Jacob, to an extent. Evie is sweet but serious when necessary. She can liberate the poor by brutally murdering Blighters and Templars one minute, then chase down a thief and help pick up the papers someone has dropped by bumping into her the next. She’s certainly got the older head on her shoulders, despite being the same age as Jacob (because they’re TWINS), she’s bossy and deriding all the way under the mission to fulfill the oath she took when she became a part of the order. She’s overtly friendly, helpful to anyone who needs it and believes in ghosts – which is just awesome. Evie is flirty (look out for the tensions building between herself and Alexander Graham Bell. Ding dong) and is fully aware of her fantastic abilities. The instant chemistry between Evie and Jacob is vastly evident, with the banter between them being very relatable to someone who has siblings they’re stuck with but love anyway. Evie has the brains and the brawn whilst Jacob just has the brawn. Their conversations can range from angry to hysterical in equal measure and it’s a joy to watch, seemingly because it just reminds me of my relationship with my sisters. Evie would be a great sister, even if she could kill me in a split millisecond without me even noticing before it’s too late and I’ve already been looted and thrown in the Thames.
What’s so striking about this version of Assassin’s Creed is that, it’s almost as if the developers started all over again. It felt almost as if this is the first Assassin’s game I’ve played. After the public horror show that was Unity, Ubisoft had panic stations going like wildfire and almost immediately announced Syndicate right over the horrific Unity launch (which was then known as Assassin’s Creed Victory). We knew it was going to be set in London and that was almost an instantaneous improvement on what the fans were currently having to put up with through Unity. The possibilities were mind-boggling.
What we weren’t expecting was to fall for the new characters so quickly. Evie Frye should become iconic. There’s no doubt in my mind she is the most fascinating character to come from the series since Ezio Auditore. Her attitudes and bad-assery should make her a role model, well, except for all the stabby-stab-stab.
I salute you Evie Frye. I can’t wait to see where this story goes next.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is available now on PS4.
Look out for our full review coming soon.