Today I engaged in some literal corporate warfare.
Syndicate takes place in the year 2069, when a mega corporation named Eurocorp has developed a chip implant that has allowed people to directly interface with technology and has largely replaced many of the world’s electronics. As a result, Eurocorp, and several other mega corporations (or syndicates) control the world having usurped governments. The result is that these corporations now fight, literally, for control and dominance; employing genetically and technologically altered super soldiers known as agents to do the bulk of their dirty work.
You play as one such agent, named Kilo who works for Eurocorp and has been implanted with the newest Dart 6 chip. Serving as a mostly mindless soldier of Eurocorp, Kilo embarks on a mission that reveals multiple layers of corporate espionage, leaves a trail of dead bodies and ultimately helps to spark a all out war between two rival corporations.
Yet most of the game is very “meh” in the details. Syndicate is well built, but at the end of the day it is a pretty generic FPS game; another in a long line of them. The game’s main “gimmick,” that is to say the single trait included to separate it from other FPS games (something pretty much all FPS games that aren’t Halo or COD make an attempt to do) is breaching. Kilo is able to hack, or breach, the implanted chips of enemies. As the game progresses what these breaches can do upgrades, but includes making a weapon backfire, convincing the enemy to commit suicide against his will or even turning them and making them fight on your side. The breaching element does help to separate Syndicate from the pack, but it fails to really come off as much more than the gimmick it is.
The game does look great though. That sort of futuristic but gritty look flourishes here. Things glow with the lights of LED screens and yet there is that unnatural glow that comes from them at the same time. Technology has advanced, but the world isn’t really prettier for it despite all attempts to make it so. If the game falters by not being very original, it certainly does manage to take something we’ve all seen before and make it look pretty damn good though.
One thing bound to catch most gamers off guard is the very old school, and mostly unwelcomed bosses sprinkled throughout the game. Most of which, as is traditional, require some combination of simplistic timing and the use of one specific ability (timed well of course) to beat. There was a time that boss battles like this were a staple in FPS games, and largely that has passed. Syndicate does not gain much from these battles, and more poignantly, it even suffers a bit.
Syndicate certainly doesn’t redefine the genre, hell it barely does much to even add a footnote. The main selling point is undoubtedly the fact that it gives us a very standard gaming experience but in a slightly altered package. The futuristic visuals and the game’s breaching/dart chip gimmick helps to make up for the generic-ness of the main game, though don’t completely compensate. It keeps it interesting enough to see through to completion, but not enough to warrant multiple visits.
Tomorrow I get a augment my reality with Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir.
Final Rating: 7.5/10
CBR Break Down:
Console Played On: 360
Time to completion: ~ 6 hours
Gamer Score Earned: 225/1000
Price Bought at: $13
Current Price: $13.71 (Amazon)
Recommend Purchase Price: $10-$15 is descent.
Why you should buy it: Descent futuristic spin on the standard FPS.
Why you shouldn’t buy it: You are looking for a more unique gaming experience.