Assassin's Creed Syndicate survival guide: how to get the most out of your time in London

Good news: Assassin's Creed Syndicate is a great game. Better news: It's a deep game, full of a lot of unique systems and mechanics that fight for your attention. There's a lot to dig into here. That's why we're here to help.

We've come up with some easy tips to ensure that you'll have the run of virtual London in no time.

Don't feel like you need to do everything on the map

This one's always a struggle in Assassin's Creed and other similar open-world games, but if you're going to attempt to actually complete Syndicate, at some point you'll need to give up on trying to grab every single collectible or do every single optional side event. Thankfully, it's easier than ever to figure out what's important this time around.

In particular, you'll want to pay attention to Conquest Activities. These come in four forms: Bounty Hunt, Child Liberation, Gang Stronghold and Templar Hunt. No matter which you do, though, the result is the same: freeing up a bit of territory from Templar control. Once you've done all the Conquest Activities in a particular section of London, you can instigate a Gang War and take over the whole thing.

Taking over territory will not rid the game world of enemies altogether, but it will make them much less common, and make allied gang members who you can recruit show up more frequently. Since most of the story missions take place at least partially out in the open world, clearing territory is a great way to make things a little easier. You'll also unlock powerful gear and crafting upgrades as you progress.

Build your bank account early by opening chests

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Most of Assassin's Creed Syndicate's collectibles are just their for completionists — stuff like pressed flowers and helix glitches that you can find scattered all across the map but don't give you any short-term, important bonuses. Chests, on the other hand, provide an immediate reward: gold.

Unless you just want to be the richest assassin in the world, you won't need to hunt down every one of the hundreds of chests in London. However, we found it extremely beneficial to devote time to tracking chests in some of the game's lower-level areas early on.

By clearing Lambeth and Southwark of chests entirely in the first few sequences of the game, we built up enough gold to buy new equipment, do some early-game crafting and begin purchasing some of the gang upgrades that lead to even further gold gain. Which leads us to:

Buy the money-making gang upgrades first

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Once you've unlocked your train hideout early in the game, you'll also get the ability to purchase upgrades for your gang. These are split into three types: Ringleader upgrades, which improve the strength of your gang members; Insider upgrades, which make the police and rival gangs less of an issue; and Swindler upgrades, which are focused on giving you bonuses to the economy.

The far right column in the Swindler tree should be your first investment. This list of five perks — from Pub Investor to Shop Investor — will greatly increase both the amount of money that your gang makes and the amount of money that the safe in your train can hold.

Your train safe will get new income shipments every 30 minutes, so be sure to stop by frequently between missions to pick up your pay and (for the early game, at least) reinvest it into stuff that will get you even more money.

For other early game upgrades to consider, Shell Game and Rate of Income also increase how much money you'll be making over time. The City Takeover perk will make every other gang upgrade cost less. And if you're having trouble fighting enemies, the right-most column of Ringleader perks, such as Carriage Sabotage, Dull Blades and Bad Powder, will significantly weaken your foes.

Choose which parts of the city you hang out in carefully

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate tips 3 Image: Ubisoft Quebec/Ubisoft

This is especially important for when you're doing open-world activities. Syndicate's London is split into seven sections, and each of those sections has a "suggested level" that shows you how powerful enemies in that area will be.

In the early game, you should stick to Lambeth, Southwark and Thames, all of which are conveniently located in the southeast corner of the map. Once you hit level 5 or so, you can expand into the City of London section north of Thames. The west-most sections — The Strand and Westminster — should be avoided until you're in Sequence 7 or so and headed into the end-game.

I can't stress enough how much your level matters. It's easy enough to take on enemies who are a level or two higher than you, but a level 3 assassin trying to fight a level 8 Templar is going to have a very bad time. Speaking of which:

Spend your skill points often, and equip new gear when you level up

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This would be a no-brainer for a role-playing game, but with the constant momentum of Assassin's Creed Syndicate, it can be easy to forget to stop and spend your skill points. Syndicate has a slightly abnormal leveling system, so let me explain how it works.

First, every meaningful action in the game, from killing enemies to opening chests to finishing missions, earns you experience points. However, filling up a bar with experience does not level you up. Rather, for every 1,000 experience points earned, you gain one skill point which can be used to unlock new skills. Your level is then determined by how many skills you've unlocked.

Don't worry about needing to focus on either Jacob or Evie; though you unlock their skill points individually, experience and skill point gains are given to both equally, so they'll level up at the same rate regardless of who you prefer to play as. However, you may want to take their strengths and weaknesses into account when deciding which skills to unlock first.

Evie is slightly better at stealth and has three skills in the Stealth skill tree that are exclusive to her. This may mean you want to focus on unlocking her stealth skills first, or it may mean that you want to unlock some of her combat and defense skills early to compensate. Likewise, Jacob is better at combat with a handful of exclusive skills focused on taking less damage and dealing more. Decide your path with him accordingly.

One other thing to keep in mind: Gear in Assassin's Creed Syndicate is gated based on your level. So whenever you level up, you should also go into your inventory screen and equip new gear. You'll gain gear at a pretty regular rate from doing missions, but you can also purchase new gear if there's nothing good for your new level.

But the stat upgrades provided by shiny new blade or a fresh cape are essential to allowing your character to thrive in new and more dangerous areas, so don't forget about equipping! Also, know that Jacob and Evie can have the same weapons equipped. No need to worry about sharing!

Don't forget about side missions

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In between the plot-less territory takeover activities and the plot-heavy story missions rests a happy medium option: side missions driven by meetings with unique historical figures. As you progress through Syndicate, you'll unlock the ability to take on missions from people like Charles Dickens and Karl Marx.

It can be easy to ignore these bonus missions in the midst of everything else going on, but you absolutely shouldn't. In addition to providing some really great gear rewards, they feature some of the most interesting objectives and charming cutscenes in the game. Dickens' spooky ghost stories, in particular, are a lot of fun.Babykayak