Wednesday, 07 March 2012 11:15
Syndicate is the much anticipated reboot of the 1993 futuristic steampunk shooter of the same name. The game developers, Starbreeze, managed to replicate the original game's tense combat, stylized environments and even improve on the gameplay.
The game takes place in 2069 and megacorporations have replaced governments. The character you play is Miles Kilo, a Eurocorp agent with an implanted "dart" chip in his head. The story starts off with you testing the chip but quickly moves into the seedy world of corporate espionage and hostile takeovers.
The chip allows you to hack into any other connected device, removing force fields from drones or baddies, backfiring weapons, persuading low-level baddies to fight or you and or commit suicide with a grenade.
The dart chip also allows you to switch on an overlay that shows you the location of baddies behind walls, slows down time and reduces the amount of damage taken. These abilities are relatively simple to master but add a unique dimension to the otherwise typical first person shooter.
There are tons of baddies in the game. Fortunately, there's a wide variety of weapons to dispense them with: pistols, shotguns, assault rifles, the occasional minigun and flamethrower and heavier weapons like the rocket launcher and gauss gun (an auto lock weapon that can shoot around cover). The weapon variation compliments the dart chip abilities to create a fine balance between incredibly challenging combat scenarios and an intuitive control system.
The real strength of the game is in the online multiplayer - a series of four man co-op missions where you fend off attacks from other syndicates. These missions are well structured, with players being taken through escalating combat scenarios, punctuated with safe areas where you can rearm yourself – much like "Left 4 Dead".
At the end of each level there are boss areas, where working together as a team is essential in overcoming the last horde or boss. Combat is intense and is some of the best multiplayer co-op action available. Unfortunately, I spent most of my time in games with gung-ho players and I spent most of my time trying to resuscitate others.
Syndicate has a decent single player campaign and an awesome multiplayer experience. Combat is exciting, really easy to master but extremely challenging at the same time. Even though the combat dynamics only have minor tweaks from typical first person shooters, the game is differentiated enough to warrant attention from both Syndicate fans and those new to the franchise.
Pros: Well-balanced combat; great variety of online gameplay; decent voice acting by Rosario Dawson and Brain Cox; 4 man co-op multiplayer.
Cons: Linear maps/storyline; headache-inducing lighting in certain parts of the game; significant lag.
Achievement difficulty: 8/10 (I only ended up with 185 achievement points after my first playthrough)
Contact: Takealot - www.takealot.com
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