Cannon Fodder and Command and Conquer, two games that arguably defined the first forays into point and click real time strategy/tactical warfare games that were around in the nineties which any gamer of that generation would no doubt recall with fond memories, while one other went unnoticed in comparison, Syndicate.
Electronic Arts’ trip into the world of crime, treachery and assassination brought a new world to the gamer. Imagine a futuristic version of The Godfather and you are there, and here is where the current version continues from its predecessor. You play Agent Miles Kilo of Eurocorp, a massive syndicate who use their agents, or corporate enforcers to get what they want. This is exclusivity to their new bio chip, codenamed Dart, which has the ability to control someone through the neural implant. Only half of the population have taken to the chipped generation and the syndicates, which now run the world, are all vying for exclusivity to their products.
Now, for people who hold the original in high regard, the similarities in gameplay are limited to the manner of the syndicates and their battles for domination as well as some of the weapons, such as the Gauss Gun, a weapon of choice back in the old game. Gone is the isometric view and now we have a full on first person shooter, and it has all the usual traits of what we have come to expect from what is now a very competitive platform. Upgrades are possible as you work through the game as Kilo and learn new traits for his ‘Dart 6 Overlay’ which is best described as similar to the cryosuit in Crysis 2. In order to become less susceptible to grenade damage level up your energy resource as well as pick up bigger and better weapons. The most striking ability though is the one to force your enemies into suicide! Yes, it is as brutal as it sounds. Thanks to your Dart chip you can control the thoughts of enemies who have bio chips inserted and yes one of the options enables you to watch the gun toting adversaries spontaneously combust.
Syndicate looks very good, the lighting effects are of top quality and graphically it would stand aside some of the best looking games around and look the part. The audio in the game is also of a very high standard, with background noise or music, character acting and the weapons make a heavy thump when fired giving a sense of weight to the vast array of armoury at your disposal.
Initially the AI seems a little repetitive, but once you get past the training modes the enemies do seem more human in movement as they move from cover to cover looking to elude your attempts to hit them as well as getting in shots of their own. It’s an involving story and if you like your cut scenes, which are mainly in the game engine itself, it’s enjoyable viewing however having the option to skip them would be a welcome addition for those who just want to go and create more wanton destruction, of which there is plenty.
Overall it’s an enjoyable game with its moments of manic gun battles to go with the story based side. Going online with Syndicate you’ll see there is a missing element in what many would see as a key feature in any FPS and that is a competitive multiplayer. However there is the option for you and three of your friends to join forces in a co op mode which works very well. It adds another facet to the game which should attract players who primarily use their console for multiplayer games whilst still attracting you to the campaign.
EA has kept the base of the popular game from the nineties and given it a modern twist which works. In a time where there are a plethora of first person shooters it’s difficult to really stand out from the rest and it would be a lie to say it’s a ground breaker but if you’re tired of Modern Warfare and just want an enjoyable and rewarding experience then try Syndicate. You won’t be disappointed.