In a future resonnate of a Phillip K Dick story, Syndicate is simply awesome.
You begin the game by choosing a name, flag and colour for your syndicate. You are then thrust into an isometric overhead view and put in command of a team of four cyborg operatives dawned in trench coats. You send them into various provinces, states, and countries to gain political loyalty. You team's missions range from assassinations, clean sweeps, and escorts.
Assassinations are pretty straight forward. and I think self-explanatory. As you progress throughout the game, they will get tougher as your targets become more heavily guarded, and mobile. Clean sweeps will have your team sent in to eliminate groups of operatives from other factions. In later missions, the numbers these rival groups will come out in can be overwhelming, creating some intense fun. Escort missions usually have you attempting to bring someone liked a kidnapped scientist who's loyal to your cause, back home safely. Sometimes they'll combine the escort missions with a "persuasion" mission. Persuasion is essentially brain washing to have someone devoted to your syndicate. Occasionally you may need to persuade an enemy scientist or politician, and then escort them safely out of the city. You can also persuade citizens of each city, and they'll follow you around while you complete your goals. This can be handy as you can hide in a crowd of a couple dozen citizen while they take the gun fire. They'll even pick up weapons dropped by enemies you've killed, and join in the fight. You must also be aware of the police forces in the city as they are on their own side. If they see a fire fight going down, they'll work to take out whoever is firing.
There are a huge number of missions to complete, as you'll be visiting every continent in the world. The game deals out a mix of challenges to overcome for these missions, and there's also some flexibility in the way you can complete them. Going in guns blazing is one option, some of the time. You can also exercises a little more stealth by sneaking around the city, and trying to keep out of view of the enemies for as long as possible. When there's a large group of enemies to defeat, you can also make a swift attack then retreat (if you're fast enough), let things calm down, then go in for another hit. You can even steal parked cars, or car jack people on the road, then drive around the city to access certain areas that require a vehicle, or simply to get around a little quicker, as the cities can get quite large.
When you're not out in the field, you're at headquarters, and there's more things to do there. There's research to be done for instance. You can research new types of upgrades for your teams. Cybernetic implants of various levels will improve their vision, endurance, health, speed and strength. You can also increase their abilities to use the persuade-a-tron so that you'll be able to persuade members of local police forces and other syndicates to join your side. You may need extra syndicate members to. Even though you only take four of your own out on a mission at one time, there's more waiting to go out, should one perish in the field. You'll also have the option to use drugs to enhance the performance of your team; but use them too much, and their performance will diminish.
You can also research new equipment and weapons, and there's lots of guns to choose from, including heavy artillery, automatic rifles, sniper rifles, flame throwers, and more, each with their own strengths and weaknesses; except for the mini-gun. The mini-gun is just awesome.
Of course, all of this research costs money. If you put more money into research, the research will get done faster, but your cash accounts will deplete quicker. Money is generated through taxes charges in the areas you've overtaken. You can raise taxes to generate more money, but raise them too much or leave them high for too long, and your in danger of losing control of a region to another syndicate.
There is so much going on in this game, yet it's very easy to manage. The controls are easily managed, everything is simple, and it's lets you focus on the fun of it all. And it is so much fun. In addition to the superb action and engaging team management, the sound is incredible. Subtle music, with an immersive tone that changes pace when the action starts. The voice of the characters has a nice almost human, almost robot feel to it, and the weapons sound great too. Finishing up this great package are graphics that are sharp and an overall presentation that's just perfect.
Dark, sinister, and fantastic, with bursts of action that draw you in and get your heart pumping; Syndicate is still extremely fun today, and undeniably cool.