Assassin's Creed Syndicate takes us to Victorian London in 1868. The historical setting mixes painstakingly accurate architectural renderings with entertainingly campy and counterfactual cameos from figures like Darwin and Dickens. Interactively and narratively Syndicate is a mixed bag. But it's also the best entry in years for a series that's seen some high profile misfires.
Thief is the long-awaited fourth entry in the storied Thief series. Its predecessors are often credited with revolutionizing if not flat-out inventing a particular genre of immersive stealth game. Unfortunately the latest release boils down to a city full of closed doors and dead ends, boxed in and lined with nothing but rough edges.
In Gunpoint you play as Richard Conway, a trenchcoated spy-for-hire who, after a job gone wrong, finds himself caught up in a paranoid, 70s-style corporate espionage plot. You'll guide him on infiltration missions as he sneaks into apartment buildings, high-security compounds, office complexes and weapons-manufacturing labs.
Gunpoint may be a stealth game, but Conway isn't some Sam Fisher-wannabe, crouching in the shadows and garroting unsuspecting guards. His methods are a bit flashier, and a hell of a lot of fun.
Hitman: Absolution is a wickedly smart, darkly enjoyable video game, one that's as generous to players as its protagonist is merciless to his victims. You'll stab, strangle and shoot your way through level after level, sometimes grimacing, sometimes scowling, sometimes laughing.
Absolution picks up the Hitman story where the last game in the series, 2006's Blood Money, left off. That's a long time between sequels, even in the relatively slow-moving video game world. But that extended time in development likely accounts for a lot of what makes Hitman such a sprawling, interesting game.