Syndicate: The Review

Syndicate must have been one of those games that every gamer from my era remembers quite well, released in a time when we fantasized and dreamt of a dark digital world, controlled by large corporations. With such a solid path laid out in the past, you would imagine that a re-imagination of the franchise would at least hold the characteristics of its predecessors, but unfortunately this game has been influenced by this generation’s trend, completely reinventing the series from top to bottom.

Plot: In a not too distant future a mega-corporation merger results in the creation of a neuron chip which allows users to access the digital world at any time, rendering almost all electronic devices obsolete. The creation and distribution of this chip is followed by the fall of governments, and the rise of corporation developing and distributing these chips, called Syndicates. Segregation between people who do not own these neuron chips and people who have them, results in a huge difference in working classes, leaving the ‘un-chipped’ living in despair. Corporate espionage becomes a treath to these Syndicates, who tackle the problem by creating bio-engineered special agents to protect their interests. The main character, Kilo, is one of the latest addition to the team and the earliest mission is the infiltration of a rival company recreating the DART chip, doing what they can to stop them in their tracks. The story unravels into an overly complex story line which I couldn’t be arsed to keep track of, making cut scenes almost unbearable, and ruining the balance of the game.

Audio & Video: EA shoved this title’s soundtrack in everyone’s face up until it was finally launched, with artist such as Skrillex and Digitalism having a go at re-inventing the theme song. I must be honest and admit that the soundtrack was decent enough to bold well with the premise of the game, and during high adrenaline sequences the score adapts really well. The visual aspect of the game left me a little disappointed; you would think that such a title would have been developed using a better engine, but hey lets save a couple of bucks and make the game look weaker than other FPS's. The facial animations and characteristics are creepy and crappy to say the least, some level textures are pixelised as hell, and the resolution of in-game text is low. The color schemes implemented in this game resemble Mirror’s Edge design, with the costumes designs resembling some of those used in the latest Tron movie.

Gameplay: Due to the implementation of the DART chip in Kilo’s brain, the user has a head up display with all the inventory and information required to progress through the game. Every item that can be seen in your path will pop up a handle with all the reuired information, resembling the same type of style used in Heavy Rain’s crime scene sequence. Even though this data pops up you can virtually interact with nothing, and none of these item is of interest, making the screen fill up with useless data most of the time. Something which I was fond of in the gameplay mechanics, was the breach abilities, which allowed Kilo to hack into the attackers’ chips and compromise their actions, allowing him to cause further damage to them and those around them. Kilo also has the ability to slow time, improve his stamina, and see where enemies are hidden for a short time burst through the DART chip. As you progress through the levels you will get to learn more abilities and be able to upgrade your abilities as you go along after being subjected to training sequences. The training sequences to me ruined the pacing of the game, and put a dent in the credibility of the story line, especially when you are infiltrated in an enemy headquarter and being flung into a training sequence between on echapter and the other of the same mission. The weapons handle well, but the controls take some time to get used to as the design isn’t that intuitive.

Overall Experience: This review was based entirely on my experience on the single player campaign which next to the co-op mode isn’t up to scratch, and it pains me that as time goes by developers invest more time and effort on the online aspect of the game leaving little to like about the campaign mode. I might be over cynical at times, but I tend to give my honest opinion revolving around the overall experience of the title, and unlike other people I focus on the game in its entirety not just on the single good aspect in the title. I would have imagined rebooting such a series, would be handled far better, cause I personally feel that they have started a new re-invented franchise on the wrong foot. I would have rather had this new series titled under a new name rather than using the goodwill of an old franchise to generate false pretenses to original fans of the series who have expectations which are never met.

Overall Rating: 5/10

Written By Matthew Cesareo