Ubisoft has a tendency of teasing fans with intriguing concepts, yet refuses to expand its core ideas beyond trite mechanics and predictable storytelling. Assassin's Creed Syndicate: Jack the Ripper, much like Freedom Cry in AC IV, does a great job of expanding upon the base game’s characters and setting, but comes to a sudden halt just when it reaches its peak potential. Retailing at $14.99 if purchased individually (or $29.99 if bought as part of the Season Pass), the DLC comes across as overpriced considering the four hour campaign (and that includes doing all activities) and familiar structure.
As the title suggests, the plot follows Ubisoft’s twist on the Jack the Ripper legend. The story takes place twenty years after Syndicate. You play exclusively as Eve who sets out to hunt down Jack and bring an end to the mass killings around town. The link between Jack and the Assassins is interesting, and intriguing enough to scout every side-missions and collectible just to discover further details. There are ten story missions and a handful of side missions, including new activities like prostitute rescue missions or witness escort missions. Unfortunately, these are just subtle variations of the side activities found in Syndicate. It seems like a wasted opportunity, because Ubisoft could use these DLCs to test new gameplay ideas and mission structures, but instead resorts to recycling content.
"Jack the Ripper, much like Freedom Cry in AC IV, does a great job of expanding upon the base game’s characters and setting, but comes to a sudden halt just when it reaches its peak potential."
Nevertheless, the content that’s there is a lot of fun and possibly even more focused than the base game. There’s a greater sense of urgency between missions, so the pacing doesn’t feel as diluted compared to a 30+ hour adventure. The entire campaign takes place within Whitechapel, with the rest of the city being blocked off. Snow flurries and more atmospheric lighting are added for aesthetic variety, but it’s still the same place you’ve seen before. Fortunately, the major assassination missions take place in two new environments, and they beautifully compliment the overall tone. I think it’s also worth noting that the overall performance is notably smoother, which is likely due to smaller areas requiring loading and streaming.
Since you’re primarily playing as Eve, there’s a greater emphasis on stealth and mystery solving. There are minor tweaks to Eve’s arsenal, such as the inclusion of fear bombs that frighten enemies and send them running. It’s a small additional, but it definitely adds more variety to stealth when trying to break up large groups of enemies. You also get to play as Jack himself on a few occasions. Jack is a big guy, and his movement and combat reflects his size. He can sneak around and climb, but he’s somewhat clunkier and relies mostly on his fists and fear cries to get past enemies.
"In a day and age where companies like EA, WB and Ubisoft are notorious for ripping off gamers and cutting content from their main releases, Jack The Ripper isn’t doing the publishers any favors."
Gameplay-wise, there are no surprises here. That’s not a problem if you enjoyed Syndicate, but for such a brief journey, a little more variety is expected. To be honest, I enjoyed my time with Jack the Ripper thoroughly, but I completed it in one sitting, so I’m not sure whether it’s worth the full asking price.
After completing the campaign, I kept wondering why this wasn’t included as part of the main game. It just doesn't feel like something that took long to make, and it certainly doesn’t warrant the hefty price of Syndicate’s season pass. It’s a moderately enjoyable venture, no doubt, but in a day and age where companies like EA, WB and Ubisoft are notorious for ripping off gamers and cutting content from their main releases, Jack The Ripper isn’t doing the publishers any favors.
Review by: Tin Salamunic | Reviewed on: PC