I want to play this... For its campaign. :D I love Starbreeze because of Chronicles of Riddick; yes, that's only one game, but still, and I love cyber punk. Even if the story isn't great, I should still play this, I should have played it already.
Syndicate's cooperative play is undeniably thrilling. Too bad the single-player campaign doesn't reach the same heights.
- Fantastic, nail-biting cooperative play
- Aggressive AI keeps the pressure on
- Online progression system gives you reasons to return
- Smooth animations and dazzling visuals
- Gunplay and hacking lead to thrills.
- Weak storytelling wastes the cool setting
- Mediocre, poorly-paced campaign
- Ridiculously oversaturated lighting effects impede gameplay.
If you're a fan of 1993's beloved strategy game Syndicate, you might see the new series reboot as heresy. But if you've dismissed the new Syndicate because you think it sullies the franchise, you're doing yourself a disservice. That's because 2012's Syndicate is a really good first-person shooter with a palpable science-fiction vibe and rousing cooperative play. If you're looking for a first-class way to play an online game with three good friends, here's your destination. Just be sure you come to Syndicate for the co-op rather than the intermittently entertaining but messy single-player campaign, which prizes form over function.
But such form it is: Syndicate is slick, moody, and in total command of its near-future vision. You are a digitally enhanced agent of a megacorporation fighting for domination, and every aspect of the presentation reinforces this notion. In a rainy courtyard shoot-out under the rising skyscrapers of New York City, you're struck by the hazy blue lighting and how it contrasts with the craggy industrial pipes and pillars that surround you. Elsewhere, walls of text scroll down transparent green computer terminals, and countless objects are identified in your heads-up display. The atmosphere is both gorgeous and emotionally disconnected. This is the future, cool and indifferent, and Syndicate does an impressive job of transporting you there.
If only this attention to detail were applied to the rest of the campaign, which is characterized by momentary thrills broken up by pointless puzzle-solving and stretches of nothing that grind the pace to a halt. Consider this scenario: For narrative reasons, you find yourself strapped into a fancy machine--the kind that appears in so many science fiction games. Developer Starbreeze squeezes out as many minutes as it can out of this unskippable scene (not to mention, the ones leading up to it). You take drowsy steps into the device. You watch as straps bind your wrists in place. You look around as the machine ever-so-slowly rises into the air and then ever-so-slowly examines your innards. Every whirr and every click is belabored.
Such pace-killing moments are common. Syndicate moves forward in fits and starts, grinding to a halt just when it seems things might finally get awesome. Quiet moments can build tension in games that tell great stories or at least deliver effective payoffs, but Syndicate isn't such a game. You know that you are Miles Kilo, a EuroCorp agent with a special augmentation chip that gives you superhuman abilities. You meet comrades like Lily Drawl and Jack Denham, and you are told of EuroCorp and competing syndicates, but you are never given a reason to care. What does EuroCorp actually do? What makes it different from other corporations? What are the real stakes in this corporate war?
Syndicate does a poor job of answering such important questions. In place of true world development, it dumps thousands of words of text into an infobank, where you can read character profiles and various propaganda. The game doesn't tell a story so much as it shoves an encyclopedia at you and expects you to do the legwork. Compare this approach to last year's Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which used similar devices to expand its proper narrative, not to replace it. By the time Syndicate makes some last-ditch attempts to elicit emotion in this apathetic climate, it's too late. If a game never bothers to flesh out its characters, then you can't be expected to care about their pasts or futures.
Had Syndicate's campaign focused purely on the action, it would have made a much better impression. When things take off, they can really get your pulse pounding, though such moments don't last very long--at least, not until the final chapters. But when the shooting intensifies, the exciting single-player shooter hiding finally breaks free. Taking aim and shooting feels as satisfying as you'd like. A steady frame rate and sleek animations do their part to keep the action feeling fluid, and you feel a sense of weight when jumping or sliding into a cover spot. You might feel a bit of Killzone 3 in that feeling of heft. Perhaps not coincidentally, Syndicate employs a Killzone-esque first-person cover system. This is no cover shooter, however: persevering enemies approach from multiple angles and keep you moving. If you're used to predictable shooting galleries, in which foes enter from obvious entry points and seem content in their roles as bullet fodder, then Syndicate will represent a refreshing change.
Of course, as a future supersoldier, you don't just get guns: you get a few handy applications to keep the challenge from being overwhelming. It all starts with the suicide app. With the press of a button, your target is overcome by mental anguish before grabbing a grenade and expiring in particularly explosive fashion. Then there is the backfire app, which flings a merc to the ground, where he's temporarily vulnerable. The persuade application tops off your repertoire, turning your chosen enemy into an ally until he turns his gun on himself.
That all sounds deliciously gory, though in practice, you're not focused on the splattering of brains: you've already moved on to your next target. Some of those targets may require breaching, which is to say, hacking your target's chip. Powerful enemies require you to breach their armor before they can be harmed, which requires holding a button for several precious seconds. When such a foe is playing lone gunman, this isn't so bad. When he's accompanied by a few comrades, things get a lot more intense. If the action seems too much, you can activate your tactical overlay. Doing so slows down time and highlights every nearby enemy, even those behind walls. And with the right weapon, you can even snipe targets protected by cover.
Bosses are ridiculous hard to beat, some of them are. Looks like a japanese concept for mega man or something, with weak spots and all. Sometimes is fair but sometimes not
Seems like the campaign is *not* the reason to get this... damn...
I'll pick it up in a Steam 70% off sale.
@Labouskie, You say it's foolish to fix what isn't broken, but enough with the same old shooters. A shooter tries to change that, and you write it off before you play it based on a Gamespot review. Am I missing something?
@Bexorcist I agree wholeheartedly about BF3's campaign. I think it's as down-to-earth as a military FPS campaign can be (that is: not much), and that's why it disappointed many people, as they are used to asinine stuff as the nonsensical plot twist galore one can find in CoD post-Modern Warfare (Black Ops was particularly jarring - it just tries TOO HARD to be 'surprising').
I knew this game was going to be at best a typical fps. When will people learn its foolish to completely change something that works really well to begin with (even if there is an 18 year gap)? At least the multi player is entertaining enough. With that said, enough with the same old shooters.
@chilly-chill funny most comments are that They remake Old cool game with crappy fps and you comment that this game is crap yes it's maybe but have you played original game? :)
I'm slightly disappointed as I was a fan of the older games, but this never really had much of a push anyway. The co-op seems intriguing, but I can't say that it interests me enough to pay full price for this. I guess I am just tired of shooters taking a less creative approach. The last I played was Deus Ex, and have yet to see an FPS that really nails my interest, which I find a little sad. It just seems like it's difficult these days for developers to come up with truly creatively, narratively solid FPS's without having to resort to cloning something else. All these modern FPS's are good examples.
As a young child (8-10 years old), I spent my childhood in Germany while my dad worked on the Eurofighter Typhoon. A combination of a speech impediment and a learning condition prevented me from learning German - I was having enough difficulty speaking English at the time - left me with nothing to do but play a lot - and I mean a LOT - of old games. My tops were XCOM, Half-Life, Sonic 2, Starcraft and Syndicate. I approached this with apprehensive optimism, as from the demo and videos it actually did look and feel like a Syndicate game, although the gameplay was naturally different. I was not dissapointed, as the co-op nailed the kind of team gameplay that the first was about - four agents working on concert. Although the campaign was weaker, it was still enjoyable, and of a decent length to boot. I do think that a 4-on-4 PVP mode would have been nice, maybe a race between two teams of agents to complete a mission first, but that didnt make it into the game. All in all, I was actually pleasently surprised with how faithful Starbreeze managed to make it, even with it being an FPS.
A really competent shooter that's actually quite fun and exciting -- but should not be called Syndicate. It's better than Resistance 3, but not quite as good as Killzone 3.
@Bexorcist You're right: the main reason why people didn't like the BF3 SP campaign is they didn't get the plot ... :P
@RussellGorall Yes, actually I don't understand why they don't let somebody review this game who has a greater liking for the shooter genre: the most boring here in reality is the reviewer's score...
Just go to Giant Bomb and read the Jeff Gerstmann review. He would have been the one doing it for Gamespot.
@Monolukus: BF3's SP-campaign wasn't as bad as everyone says it to be. OK it was nothing very 'unique' but name one FPS-shooter (set in a modern time war-scenario) with an unique storyline that made u cry tears of emotion? I finished the campaigen, due to the fact I was really craving for this game & it had not been released yet in Europe, so I downloaded a cracked version. Once I received my pre-order, I kept playing the MP, which I am still playing BTW!
this game had the potential to be the action version of deus ex human revolution (with corporate warfare, sexy futuristic HUDs and hacking). it really annoys me to see the potential and then annoys me more to see how games that are released are barely ever perfect, the biggest point here is the lack of campaign depth which battlefield 3 also failed on, too busy finetuning its unrivalled multiplayer. even skyrim, with its 200 hours of gameplay had a dissappointing campaign, after which theres no incentive to play the game. I think studios need to spend time polishing their games to the poiint of perfection like VALVE and not just work in a rush to deadlines with nothing but monetary success in mind, though this being EA is hardly a surprise...
My heartfelt thanks to EA for digging up the corpse of an incredible game and proceeding to defile every orifice.
If you disregard the lackluster single player campaign, Syndicate is like Left 4 Dead with hacking. Which is a good thing!
A game that has awesome coop! Love it! And whats with all the fuss about no PvP? We have a million shooters with PvP, but we are lacking in the coop department!
great game...this game is everything Brink should have been.havent played campaign much but the co-op is awesome.the ai is good to...enemies are always changing tactics...not same thing everytime..
@chilly-chill Apples and oranges my friend. They might be in the same perspective and futuristic setting, but that's pretty much it.
If you want PvP, go play one of the many Duty games. I'm actually glad a lot of devs are starting to put the emphasis in nicely orchestrated co-op in these kinds of games. Checking this one out mainly for that reason.
I'm definitely interested to check out the coop mode. Always looking for a good coop game and this looks to be one.