When Starbreeze Studios announced that they are rebooting the Syndicate franchise and shifting it in the process from isometric real-time tactical game to a first person shooter, fans of the original games were skeptical. While this game won’t satisfy longtime fans who are looking forward to another isometric real-time tactical game set in the Syndicate universe, Starbreeze Studios have created one of the most unique and exciting shooters in recent memory.
The game takes place in year 2069, where people no longer governed by politicians and controlled by mega tech corporations known as syndicates. These mega corporations have revolutionized how the consumer interacts with the digital world. Via neural chip implant, people can interact with the digital world in the blink of an eye. It becomes a life style. In exchange, the syndicates gained total control over the individuals and their behavior.
The game starts with Kilo (the protagonist of the game) chained up in a dark room and getting punched by a soldier. Kilo takes down the soldier, then, breaks the chains in order to get out of this place. At the end of this brief level, you will discover that Kilo is a bio engineered and chip augmented enforcer for a syndicate company called EuroCorp and was imprisoned in a staged operation by them to evaluate if Kilo is ready to take on missions for the corp.
There is a war going on between the syndicates. You will visit New York, Los Angeles and other locations in the game to complete your missions. While the story is a predictable tale of conspiracy and revenge, the amazing art direction and the great cyberpunk atmosphere makes the game story’s more involving and exciting.
Syndicate isn’t your typical FPS. This is a tactical shooter. Being a chip augmented killing machine, Kilo can slow down time, see through walls and breach anything surrounds him including chip augmented enemies. Throughout the game, you will be able to make enemies commit suicide, persuade enemies to kill each other, disable enemies and drones shields to make them vulnerable to damage, defuse bombs before they explode, use the environments to your advantage in battles and much more.
The mixture of gunplay and breaching abilities make every encounter with enemies exciting, tactical and intense. If you don’t use your abilities properly and plan your moves, you won’t progress much in the game. Some enemies will generate a distortion field around you which makes you unable to breach them. Other type of enemy will be immune to damage unless you breach him and destroy his shield before it auto regenerate.
In order to replenish the chip applications with energy and use abilities more often, you have to kill enemies. Abilities can be upgraded by spending points which you can be obtained by extracting chips from enemies. For example, the backfire ability which can stun two enemies at the same time and make them weaker can be upgraded to stun three enemies at once. There is a total of seventeen upgrades in the game.
Syndicate looks great that due to the amazing art direction and some dazzling lighting effects. There are some sub-par textures here and there, but overall, the game looks fantastic. I have tested the game on Xbox360, and I can say without a doubt, the game has a rock solid frame-rate. I have noticed the frame-rates dipped a little once during the whole game.
The game will take you around 6-8 hours to finish on normal difficulty. It’s a little disappointing that I can’t reply the game again from the start with the upgrades I have already unlocked. I only got seven or eight upgrades from the seventeen upgrades available in the game in my play through. The game deserves a second play through just to try a different approach.
The game has a four co-op mode where you can team up with your friends to eliminate enemies through nine action-packed missions. Each mission is led by specific objectives. You will earn experience through each mission and you will be able to unlock new elements for your character such as increased health. There are Blueprints and Apps. Blueprints are specific weapons that can be unlocked in any of the missions. Apps, however, are activated abilities that can be equipped and levelled up. The co-op mode is challenging and encourages team work. But it doesn’t introduce something new to the genre.
If you want to play a different type of shooter that is tactical, challenging, intense and atmospheric, get this game. This is my favorite FPS campaign mode since Crysis 2. While the main campaign’s length is on the short side and the co-op won’t replace your favorite online shooter, Syndicate will surprise you with its tactical and intense action.