For those of us whose memories stretch back to the 1990′s, Syndicate was a tactical type affair which I remember owning for the Sega Mega Drive as part of some sort of EA Collection. I never played it. No idea why, perhaps it was too in-depth for my more simple tastes back then.
EA decided to reboot the franchise and turn it into a first person shooter instead. Now as is always the case for this type of thing people seem to either love it or hate it, thinking it’s a breath of fresh air for the series or a complete let down of the heritage of the previous games.
I personally applaud EA for having the guts to give it a shot. As it turns out the reboot of Syndicate didn’t sell much (estimates put sales at under the 200,000 mark, which is pretty poor) but that doesn’t necessarily make it a bad game. So did the switch to first person suit the series?
Set in 2069 you play as Agent Miles Kilo, one of EuroCorp’s newest members. In the world of Syndicate corporate espionage is where the great power struggles happen. The corporations are the ones running everything and information is vital.
Over the course of the game you’ll be tasked with retrieving, or indeed destroying, enemy intel. Which could mean data, files or even people.
The story of Syndicate is pretty interesting and certainly the setting is very cool. I enjoyed the style of the game and found some of the dialogue very well written – Rosario Dawson and the ever excellent Brian Cox do a great job – although I found Merit (your colleague for some of the game) to have one of the most grating voices I’ve had to play alongside for quite some time!
The fresh gameplay aspects that Syndicate brings to the table are impressive, things like forcing an enemy to commit suicide or ‘turning’ them temporarily to fight for you are inventive and fun. It also gives you a few more options in gun fights, although I’d have liked to have seen some more of these added.
The shooting itself felt nice and weighty, with player movement balanced quite well. My biggest disappointment was that the game fell into the exact same trap as Deus Ex: Human Revolution by including boss battles. These were more of an annoyance that anything else but on a couple of occasions I really had to will myself to keep playing through the frustration.
So overall Syndicate was a bold step for EA and while I didn’t think the game was amazing, it was certainly above average and brought some interesting game play ideas forward. It’s a shame the sales were low as I’d actually be up for playing a sequel that was set in that universe and was, perhaps, a bit more refined.