Does anyone out there remember the Commodore Amiga game console? If you do then you would have heard of a game called SYNDICATE, an early release by EA GAMES and BULLFROG PRODUCTIONS way back in 1993. Them days it was a fixed isometric, tactical shooter game, involving a team of cyborg agents. It did cause controversy on its release, mainly because of the ruthless violence and the use of mind controlling drugs. The game eventually went on to be released on all kinds of platforms including MS-DOS, Atari and Sega Mega Drive.
Now jump forward to February 2012 with the release of SYNDICATE by EA GAMES and STARBREEZE STUDIOS, a reboot of the original SYNDICATE genre, only this time it has developed into a FPS (first person shooter). This is of course a brand new game, it isn't a so called HD version like METAL GEAR SOLID or HALO CE it is completely new and not a bad game actually.
It all starts in 2069, the future is not orange but more a silver with red blood splatters. The world is now run by large corporations known as "syndicates" and half of the world's population has embraced the DART chip, a neural implant that allows users to access a database known as the Dataverse. The other half of the population is excluded from this little club and is left to their own devices. The world of SYNDICATE is all about corporate espionage as each syndicate battles for domination. This where you come in. As a bio-engineered, chip augmented Agent, you are the enforcer of the syndicates ideals and protector of your puppet masters interests.
As agent MILES KILO you are implanted with the new DART 6 chip and sent off on a mission to infiltrate the opposition, and eliminate a rival scientist who has developed an identical chip. This is not the whole story. As you can guess, there is the usual deception and intrigue that helps keep the interest up. The addition of BRIAN COX as one of the voice over actors gives the game some credibility.
The gameplay is pretty straight forward FPS stuff. You can carry two weapons at a time plus grenades, plus your character has the BIO CHIP DART 6 which you can use to slow down time and pinpoint enemies. The player can hack into enemies chips and either get them to commit explosive suicide, or make their weapons backfire giving them temporary vulnerability. Or there's the persuade option where the enemy starts killing his own men before topping himself.
The graphics and game play is nice, but the over bright blooming effects which obscured the game play sometimes, giving me eye strain after a while. Plenty of action keeps you on your toes. The one thing I did find frustrating is the battles with the opposition agents, these where just too long winded and drawn out. OK they are a challenge, but after restarting for the umpteenth time, I soon became bored with going over the same old fight sequence again and again. There are plenty of upgrades to be had, you pick up weapons as you go along. It is fun to play and somewhat of a challenge.
SYNDICATE does remind me of CRYSIS in some ways, the game play is quite similar but not as good. The action can be quite explicit with scenes of dismemberment and decapitation which appears to have upset our Australian cousins where it was refused a classification, all of which is bound to make it more popular over there.
The multi-player aspect is the best element to this game. It takes place in segmented sequences with promotions for completion of various tasks including kills, healing teammates and completing objectives.
If you are looking for something brand new and original, then don't look here as it is pretty formulaic in its approach. It is no different in many respects than any other FPS around at the moment. Apart from the annoying boss battles, it does have a certain sense of style which I like and is fun to play. The actual game play is around 6 hours and of course like many games these days the campaign is just the precursor to the on-line play. In this case I found SYNDICATE has an enjoyable campaign but an even better multiplayer experience. I give SYNDICATE an 8 out of 10 as it is a fun FPS but the annoying boss battles spoilt it for me.
- First Person Shooter (FPS)
- Developer: Starbreeze Studios
- Publisher: Electronic Arts
- Xbox 360®
- Playstation 3®
- Release date: 21st February 2012
- Age Rating: 18