Syndicate Review

Five years from now, the world as we know it will change. Governments will collapse and mega corporations will take over as the new leaders of our technologically-driven world. Neural-implanted chips will make electronic devices obsolete, supplying us with a vast wealth of knowledge at the tip of our fingers.

That is the world of the future, or so that’s how it goes in Syndicate. But recreating a game in an entirely new genre renders a huge amount of risk.Syndicate is nothing like its counterpart, but it sets the stage for a fun, rather interesting sci-fi of the future. It may be just another typical, “by the numbers” shooter, but its fun gameplay, unique setting and stylish co-op help set Syndicate apart from some of the other games of the genre.

In a world where corporations rule…

The game is set in 2069, in where you pertain the role of Agent Miles Kilo, a bio-engineered, chip-augmented enforcer created for the sole purpose of protecting their company; in this case, Eurocorp.

The beginning of the game simply depicts you testing out a new version of the company’s famed DART chip, going off on espionage-like missions and assassinating corporate threats. But as the game carries on, a revolution is slowly rising up around you. The world’s population split into two when the chips were first created. There is the half that have the chips inside their head, and the other half that refused to let technology take over their minds and remained un-chipped.

As time went on, the un-chipped began receiving fewer and fewer benefits, becoming second-rate to this with the knowledge-inducing chips. Now, in 2069, they’ve had enough and they’re rising up to take out the Syndicates, the ones living with the chips, and return the world back to the way it was. It’s your choice to choose which side is right.

Well, sort of.

The game will make that decision for you and follows a painfully linear path from beginning to end, instigating little player choice in the game. I enjoyed every second of it, even though I felt like I was doing little to fluctuate the plot and make my mark in the world around me. But I was sure as hell intrigued with the story the game had to tell me, and I just couldn’t let go.

You can’t beat a good sci-fi battle!

From first glance, it wouldn’t be hard to pick out Syndicate as a futuristic type of game. Bluish hues dominate the world around you–towering, brightly lit skyscrapers litter the cities, and ridiculously over lit bloom-heavy environments make you feel right at home, but the lighting effects can be a bit overwhelming at times.

The combat sequences play out like a charm. When the action kicks off, they can really get your heart racing and kick in your adrenaline reserves.  Taking aim and shooting is an easy, fluid movement that had the same weight Killzone 3 did. In fact, if I think about, the action sequences played out just like a Killzone battle would have and I couldn’t help but constantly draw up comparisons in my head as I played.

The game even deploys the same kind of cover system Killzone has, letting you seamlessly pop into cover, initiating when you aim down the sights of your weapon. But the action really picks up when you power on your chip and step into a digital world where it feels as if time itself has slowed.

Players can hack into their enemies on the fly in the middle of a firefight choose one of three options to take down their foe. Suicide, where the enemies kill themselves, blows up and damages anyone around him, Persuade, where the enemy temporarily becomes your ally and fights those trying to kill you, or Backfire, where the enemy’s weapon blows up, stunning them.

This DART chip mechanic is what I thought helped Syndicate stand apart from the other shooters on the market and made the game all the more fun when caught up in a messy fight. It’s a shame though that a heavy majority of the game locks off two of the abilities, rendering backfire as the only mechanic most commonly available to you.

More fun with your buddies online

While playing through the single player campaign is fun, you can’t help but feel a bit lonely gunning down all of your enemies by yourself. Jumping into the four-player online coop however is an exciting, refreshing look on the game that doesn’t just recycle similar game mechanics, story, or mission elements that you may have already seen in the campaign.

You’ll need to play a bit differently then you may already be used to. Though the missions may seem like the usual “norm,” escorting bots from point A to B, or going off on a treasure hunt to find an item and return it to your dropship may not sound that exciting, it’s the little gameplay changes along the way that I found enticing.

For instance, your health will need to be manually healed by another member of your team if they’re in range, which can affect the flow of a battle significantly. You and your friends can’t just run through a room guns blazing. A little strategy will need to be involved to systemically work your way up to your goal. If one of your teammates is killed, they can be revived, but that might not be the easiest thing to do when you and your team are pinned down by a horde of enemies!

A little skill and brains are what will save the day for you and your team. And incorporating a little thought into a first person shooter was a nice change over the typical firefight of any other shooter in the genre, which uses one tactic: brainlessly work your way to objective x and shoot.

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