Syndicate first began as a series of real time strategy games for the PC. Bringing back a classic like this, and then changing it's genre can be a risky move. But developer Starbreeze Studios decided to go for the risk, bringing Syndicate into today's gaming era.
Syndicate has a similar resemblance to Desus Ex. For one, it's in the near future, and second, it holds an RPG element. But Syndicate is more than just a RPG. It's a first person shooter, and it's one of the most polished FPS games I've played in a while. It's obvious that developer Starbreeze Studios have taken a long time creating a believable and futuristic world. It's visually stunning, with a slick and detailed environment surrounded by eye catching light effects. It all looks great, but there's many setbacks along the way.
Syndicate is set in the year 2069. It's the near future were giant corporations rule the world. You take the role of Miles Kilo, an agent who works for Eurocorp. He is in the middle of an ongoing struggle for power and influence. A chip known as DART 6 bio-ship technology is implanted in Miles's head. The chip was designed by Eurocorp, and it lets people access data within the digital world. Using this advanced technology, Miles must use his wits and try to unravel the truth.
The game looks very promising at first. The voice acting is good, and also are the visuals. It's when your move further in that your realised, this is nothing more than a shallow experience. There's a lot to like about Syndicate. It has an interesting setup, but it doesn't seem to make the most of it. There could have been a great story surrounding the futuristic setting, but it never seemed to be. It's not just the weak plot that ruined my overall experience with Syndicate. Bad level design and irritating Boss battles are the biggest problems here.
When Syndicate gets going, it can be very enjoyable. But soon as you get into stride, along comes a boss battle to break it up. I don't mind Boss battles occasionally, but Syndicate relies on them far to often. I found them extremely irritating. The level design isn't always on your side either. It's very restricted and can be a struggle when using the cover system.
The DART 6 bio-chip technology is what stands out most in Syndicate. This allows Miles to see through walls, detect enemies, and slowdown time. Using the hack mechanic, known as breaching, Miles can also take control of enemies. You can turn them suicidal by blowing up the chip in their head, backfire their weapons, or even pressure them into killing their own. Moments like this feel satisfying, and offers great thrills.
There's a great range of weaponry in the game. Ranging from sniper files, shotguns, miniguns, rapidfire handguns and more. They are all very enjoyable to use and it keeps the combat fresh.
Whilst the overall single-player experience feels shallow, CO-op certainly makes up for it. It feels like a totally different game. Not only is it more enjoyable, but it's put together better. Multiplayer is a four player co-op experience. There's a bunch of mission based levels, and objectives vary, depending on the location. Each level requires your team to work together. The action is much more lively, and that's when Syndicate is most thrilling. There's also lots of reasons why you would return to co-op. From a scoring system, upgrades tree, and set challenges to accomplish.
Overall, Syndicate feels like a missed opportunity when it comes to the
single-player. It's the successful CO-op mode that boosts it back up, and where your times best spent.
Review by Gareth Smith