An aging game that still plays well, Syndicate isn't much to look at, but it's got it where it counts.

User Rating: 7 | Syndicate JAG
Overview: In Syndicate by Ocean, you take control of a small crime Syndicate (what else would it be?) bent on taking control of the world. No small task to be sure, but you have help. By using your mindless, customizable Cyborg agents, you can infiltrate, assassinate and more or less go to whatever lengths necessary to ensure your Syndicate's world domination. Be forewarned though, this is not an easy game to get into, as it's PC strategy roots are easily visible. On the other hand, the Jaguar easily offers the most playable console port of the title, thanks to those wonderful keypads...

Graphics: Nothing special here. Although the environments are efficiently detailed (you'll know what everything is), the characters are very small and can easily be obscured by objects. Going into buildings is a very good example as you can not see your character, only direct them to the nearest door. There are some cool touches here and there, such as the animation when an enemy is shot and some of the weapons, but these are few and far between and barely noticeable. Overall, the graphics just come across as underwhelming; not necessarily bad, just lacking any flash & definitely not taking advantage of the hardware.

Sound: Well, you can take what I said about the graphics and apply it here. There is literally nothing that makes Syndicate stand out. The music is quite average and for the most part, the sound effects, while adequate, are nothing special (there is an exception or two, such as some of the screams made by your victims). All the bells and whistles you would expect are present, but very little else.

Gameplay: Luckily for Syndicate, gameplay is they key element and not the bells & whistles. This game is deep, with 50 mission, customizable cyborgs (they can be male or female, can be equipped with weapons and items, and enhanced with the additions of cybernetic & bionic implants) and mission objectives ranging from persuasion to assassination. Unfortunately, only the very patient need apply. The game is hard to get into and really get the hang of. The menu-heavy interface and awkward point and click controls can be a bit too tedious for the average console gamer, and this fact is what ultimately kills the game for most would-be world dominators. On the other hand, Jaguar owners are hardly 'average console gamers,' so it might be worth your time.

Theme: Start with a small band of soldiers; conquer, expand and ultimately achieve world domination. Making a game based around this concept is definitely an entertaining idea, but as Syndicate shows, perhaps its scope is a bit to wide to truly simulate (as learned in college, always narrow down a subject sufficiently). That said, theme is the game's strong point. Everything in the game reflects the dark atmosphere set in the game's back-story, resulting in a very brooding, post-apocalyptic experience. Too bad it comes up short in other major areas...

Overall: 7.0 Syndicate can be rewarding if you have patience in droves. The idea for the game is fine, the execution is what stutters a bit. Better games have come and gone, but Syndicate still manages to be a pleaser if you're one of the few patient enough to learn all of its intricacies. Of course, if you're that patient, you might do well in hunting down the PC version, or its sequel Syndicate Wars, which is a superior title all the way around.