hot  /  reviews  /  video  /  blogs  /  forum

Syndicate

Kickstarter photo
Kickstarter

Satellite Reign looks like the true Syndicate sequel


5 Lives Studios want to wash away the memories of EA's FPS sequel
Jul 01
// Alasdair Duncan
EA's decision to reboot Syndicate as a first-person shooter wasn't well received even though the final product from Starbreeze wasn't a bad game, it still felt like a misuse of the license. Now, programmer Mike Diskett, who w...
 photo

Amazon PC game sale discounts Max Payne 3, Spec Ops, more


Jul 02
// Jordan Devore
Ahead of the impending Steam summer sale, Amazon has gone ahead with a digital PC game sale of its own. The discounts will be happening throughout the rest of this month, so pace yourself. Highlights for the time being include Max Payne 3 ($29.99), Spec Ops: The Line ($24.99), Syndicate ($14.99), The Darkness II ($12.49), Crusader Kings II ($9.99), and a bunch more. I fear for my bank account.
 photo

EA: Syndicate failed, old IP still to be resurrected


Jun 14
// Jim Sterling
Electronic Arts has admitted that the attempted Syndicate reboot didn't pay off as intended, but that hasn't stopped the publisher from wanting to bring back more old game names. After all, there's still so many things that i...
 photo

Live show: Syndicate co-op on Mash Tactics


Feb 27
// Bill Zoeker
Lock and/or load for "Multiplayer Monday" today on Mash Tactics. King Foom is looking for recruits for a co-op campaign through Syndicate, and skilled hands (or absurd creations) to challenge in SoulCalibur V. As always, play...
 photo

Live show: Asura & Syndicate full runs on Mash Tactics


Feb 21
// Bill Zoeker
It's Tuesday, which means another 'New Release Showcase' on Mash Tactics. King Foom is going for a double-header with full playthroughs of both Asura's Wrath and Syndicate, all in one sitting. Tune in to get a good look at th...

Review: Syndicate

Feb 21 // Jim Sterling
Syndicate (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])Developer: Starbreeze StudiosPublisher: Electronic ArtsReleased: February 21, 2012 MSRP: $59.99 Syndicate's narrative campaign has players waking up handcuffed to a chair while a masked stooge merrily rearranges your face with his fist. The reason for being there is vague but it doesn't really matter, as it's not long before you've broken free and begun a sociopathic murder spree that may or may not extend to screaming pedestrians. This is what Syndicate's campaign is like from beginning to end -- inconsequential sequences, as vague as they are pointless. Then the killing.  This wouldn't be a bad thing, if not for the fact that Syndicate wants you to believe it's more than that. Much of the story is littered with moments of exposition in which inscrutable characters say mysterious things, hoping against hope that you'll actually believe something important is happening. The sad truth is, nothing important ever happens. Characters speak obtusely and make ambiguous allusions to more interesting horizons, not because they're hinting at some jaw-dropping revelation later (one never comes) but because they truly have nothing of value to say.  In fact, the game's six- to seven-hour narrative can be summed up in a sentence: You work as an agent for a corporation that unsurprisingly turns out to be the bad guy. Everything within that scenario is simply an attempt to copy standout moments from other games, such as Deus Ex, while the protagonist desperately attempts to mimic Andrew Ryan. By the time the game reaches its infuriatingly amorphous conclusion, one would be hard-pressed to name a single plot point that wasn't an overplayed trope.  [embed]222216:42746[/embed] Fortunately, there's plenty of violence in between the vapid story bits, and it's slightly more engaging than the writing. As a cyborg agent, players are armed with a new technological advancement, the DART 6 chip. This chip grants our silent protagonist a range of physical enhancements, as well as the ability to "breach" machinery and the human psyche. This breach mechanic is Syndicate's ace in the hole, though it also turns out to be its crutch. Breaching is performed by pressing a single button while looking at the desired object. If one looks at a computer, it can be hacked to open doors or take over automatic gun turrets. Breaching is essential for breaking the shields of various enemies, and it can even disarm grenades. As players progress, they also unlock special breach abilities to demolish an opposing force. Backfire makes opponents' weapons explode, knocking them back and dealing damage. Suicide will cause an enemy to hold a live grenade in his hand, taking himself and any bystanders out of the battle. Meanwhile, Persuade can force a foe to turn his gun on his comrades before putting a hole in his own head.  The agent also has access to DART Vision, which slows time and renders enemies in orange against black environments to make them easy targets. DART Vision can also see through walls, giving one a tactical advantage in any situation, although it needs frequent recharging so players can't DART their way through the entire game.  Possessing the ability to see through walls and cause mayhem among a rival syndicate's forces is certainly gratifying the first time one does it, but that's the problem -- it's done too many times, and the initial glee soon wears off. Not only that, but Syndicate never capitalizes on its ideas to create unique scenarios for their implementation. You cannot, for example, see through walls and find enemies before you meet them in order to soften the targets. Opponents usually only spawn after you've entered a wide-open combat zone, which totally undermines the point of DART Vision and limits the application of breach abilities. Truly empowering uses of the agent's talents are almost always scripted, not improvised on a player's behalf. The core combat is solid, but repetitive, offering old-fashioned FPS gunplay with the occasional chance to make an opponent blow himself up. The powers at an agent's disposal are the powers that a psychological predator would have, yet combat is so in-your-face and ordinary that they feel like cheap gimmicks. Simply put, the game has not been designed around any of its unique gameplay additions. It's a bog-standard shooter with some tech-magic thrown in. There are other shooters on the market that have done the whole "mess with an enemy's mind" schtick in a far more involved, satisfying way, which makes one ask -- why didn't Starbreeze steal some gameplay from those games alongside their narrative ideas?  Syndicate quickly becomes formulaic, as players trudge through a corridor, enter a combat zone, trudge through another corridor, and repeat the process. Every now and then, an interesting weapon with homing bullets or laser fire will turn up, but it's nothing that hasn't been seen before. The breaching ceases to become entertaining after a while, having been relied upon for so long with little variation, while opportunities to breach machines and turn them against the opposition are few and far between.  There is nothing wrong with Syndicate's single-player mode, but there's nothing right either. It's just okay, incapable of raising much more than indifference. It's solid, playable, and capable of chewing up a few hours, but it's not compelling in the least. It goes through the motions, marching from A to B and playing it safe the whole way, occasionally stopping to try and convince you that you should care about the elementary and highly cynical plot details.  The mediocre campaign is, however, half of the experience, and co-op makes things a little more interesting. Up to four players can join forces and take on nine missions at various difficulty levels. Not only do the environments sport more variety than the campaign, but so does the gameplay, with far more breach abilities and customization opportunities. Players can build their own agent, selecting weapon loadouts and abilities that are far more varied than in the campaign. Virus, for example, can sap health over time and ignore armor. Meanwhile, the Shield power generates armor for the entire squad. Agents can earn research points, which are invested into developing new weapon modifications and powers, essentially building their own specialized class that suits their play style. Ultimately there's just so much more to do, to the point where the campaign should've just been scrapped to add more resources to the co-op.  Teamwork is quite important, and while the first mission is fairly straightforward, things get significantly tougher fairly quickly. There are opposing generals capable of chewing into a player's health bar within seconds, requiring teams to draw fire, heal each other, and breach shields as a unified group. The contextual commands make this gameplay fairly fluid and easy to pull off successfully, although the sheer weight of opposition means things never feel too easy. Enemies are fairly adept at taking cover and flanking, while later encounters pit squads against fellow agents, capable of healing each other and dishing out breaches of their own. Once taken down, these foes can have their chips forcibly and bloodily ripped from their heads in exchange for extra research points.  Syndicate's co-op mode is a significant step up, and clearly the main draw, but that doesn't save it from falling into many of the campaign's pitfalls. For a start, the range of scenarios isn't varied at all, taking the form of a linear series of corridors to be fought through, a handful of "get item A and place it in receptacle B" fetch quests, or brief escort objectives. The new abilities, for all their variety, still fall under similar categories while the commonplace FPS combat never feels built around them. While teamwork is important, the breach mechanic is so rudimentary and repeated without deviation that it quickly becomes as mundane as everything else.  This is not to say that Syndicate is not enjoyable, because it is. It's just so very typical and ordinary that hiding behind shallow gimmickry fails to compensate. Having played through each mission, I can't say I've any great desire to go back and play more. The four hours and thirty-eight minutes it took to beat them were fun while they lasted, yet utterly dispensable and easily forgotten.  It is almost fitting that Syndicate's world revolves around cold steel cities and heartless corporations, because cold and heartless is certainly the feeling one gets after playing. Its sterile environments are clean and spartan by deliberate design, but serve the unintended purpose of personifying Starbreeze's modern reboot to its core. It's a gorgeous game, very easy on the eyes despite the overzealous use of lighting and bloom, but beyond the pretty visuals lies an empty void where its soul should be.  By all means, go out and enjoy Syndicate. You more than likely shall, because it will provide a solid dose of transient entertainment. It is a game you will never need to play, but you won't feel like you wasted your life if you do. It's a videogame about guns that pretends to be something deeper while striving for nothing more. If you keep that in mind, and you're happy to play along, you'll get what you paid for.  But you won't get anything else. 
 photo

Starbreeze Studios certainly turned heads when it unveiled its progress on a brand-new Syndicate game, although attached to many of those heads were scowling faces sporting sneers of disgust. Syndicate is yet another classic ...

 photo

Syndicate launch trailer will probably give you a fit


Feb 15
// Fraser Brown
Syndicate's launch is a mere five days away and I'm still no closer to deciding whether or not I want to actually pick it up, but I'm certainly interested. This trailer hasn't helped me make up my mind, but it was pretty coo...
 photo

Syndicate cast includes Rosario Dawson and more


Feb 10
// Jordan Devore
Electronic Arts and Starbreeze Studios have revealed some familiar names included in the voice cast of Syndicate. First up is Rosario Dawson, who is described as playing a "rising star" in the syndicate EuroCorp. "She's an in...
 photo

Syndicate's DART 6 allows you to grief your enemies


Feb 01
// Jim Sterling
A new trailer for Syndicate went up today, detailing the "DART 6" abilities that players will have at their disposal. The video details a lot of the stuff that yesterday's demo simply didn't have, making me feel much more co...
 photo

Syndicate will NOT be using an online pass


Feb 01
// Jim Sterling
While even EA's single-player games have found excuses to slip in an online pass, the co-op fueled Syndicate is confirmed to NOT use one at all. According to EA, it's all about encouraging gamers to play it ... what an innova...
 photo

DTOID Extra: Getting tactical in Syndicate


Feb 01
// Max Scoville
I dunno if you guys caught the first video Anthony Carboni (of New Challenger) and I did for a level of Syndicate, but that whole level's now available for download as a free demo. Today, we've got our impressions of two OTHER levels we've played, where we get to talk about exciting stuff like gauss rifles and cyborg agents.

Demo Jimpressions: Syndicate

Jan 31 // Jim Sterling
The action is fairly typical of the genre. It feels weighty, but rather uninspired. There's a shallow scoring system to provide a hint of competition between players, but there's really nothing you've not seen before. You just trudge forward and shoot at enemies as they wander erratically around the map, occasionally waiting in a checkpoint room to resupply, before trudging forward and shooting some more. Some players have since been saying they enjoy the tactical element of the game, but I'm not seeing it yet. So far the only "tactical" element is breaching -- one player breaches a target to weaken it, while the others provide support. This contextual command is also used for healing and reviving players. It's a cute little add-on, but it's hardly "tactical."   This is, of course, merely one co-op level, and I'm informed by those who have played more levels that it's one of the weakest. I sincerely hope there's more to it than this, because the sample gameplay isn't exciting. In fact, it reminds me very much of last year's mediocre Codemasters offering, Bodycount. If the demo is indicative of the overall experience, then Syndicate is looking very much like just another forgettable first-person shooter.  I sincerely hope the demo isn't indicative of the overall experience, and that somebody in marketing just made a very poor choice of level.
 photo

Boy, that Syndicate sure is a first-person shooter! That is my initial thought after giving Syndicate's co-op demo a spin. When I say that, I don't mean to imply I'm one of those folk who hate a game just because it's bears t...

 photo

Syndicate demo hitting XBL, PSN today


Jan 31
// Jim Sterling
A four-player co-op demo for Starbreeze's Syndicate shall be available for your downloading amusement on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network today. The demo shall showcase one of the game's nine levels.  The Xbox Live vers...
 photo

Syndicate hits Good Old Games this Thursday


Jan 17
// Maurice Tan
Good Old Games will finally let you grab the original Syndicate on January 19 for $5.99. Not to be mistaken with Starbreeze's upcoming first-person shooter, this classic 1993 game should keep you occupied while you wait to se...
 photo

Take over these new Syndicate screens and co-op trailer


Jan 17
// Wesley Ruscher
The illustrious Max Scoville and I recently had the chance to check out a few of the four-player, co-op missions in Starbreeze Studio's upcoming cyberpunk shooter Syndicate. While you can check out Max's impressions here, du...
 photo

The DTOID Show: Syndicate co-op impressions part one


Jan 17
// Max Scoville
Hey guys! Last week Anthony Carboni (host of New Challenger) and I took a little field trip over to EA's Redwood Shores compound for a bit of hands on time with a few levels of Syndicate's co-op mode. We had such a good time...
 photo

Syndicate's new co-op trailer has some heat


Jan 04
// Conrad Zimmerman
This latest trailer for Syndicate is pretty damn exciting. It's a sparse overview of the title's cooperative mode which lets you team up with three other operatives on assignments deemed to difficult for a lone agent to...
 photo

New Syndicate game banned in Australia (surprise!)


Dec 20
// Jim Sterling
In news that should shock nobody by now, Starbreeze's upcoming Syndicate reboot has been refused classification in Australia, making it illegal to sell in the country. The game's violent content has been cited as the reason, ...

Preview: A quick look at co-op in Syndicate

Nov 15 // Abel Girmay
Syndicate (Xbox 360 [previewed], PlayStation 3, PC)Developer: Starbreeze StudiosPublisher: Electronic ArtsRelease: February 21, 2012 The world of Syndicate is a dystopian future set in the year 2069. Corporations have become extremely powerful, and essentially rule as a governing body through mercenary-like gangs called Syndicates. In co-op, players are cast as a member from an up and coming syndicate with their eyes set on taking down the largest syndicate in the world, Eurocorp.  Syndicate's four-player co-op is its own campaign and runs on a mission structure similar to that of Spec-Ops mode from Call of Duty. What separates Syndicate a bit from the pack is the breach hacking mechanics. Through a chip in each person brain, humans in the world of Syndicate perform everyday tasks such as banking, making calls, and other activities without the need of any device. As a syndicate member employed by powerful corporations, you and your crew sport high end militarized chips that allow you to heal each other, whittle down enemy armor, and hack an enemy's mind to make them fight with you or kill themselves. You have different types of breaching options, all of which are specific to the different type of character classes you can use. There is the standard breach where you hold down the Left Bumper on the Xbox 360 controller to heal a teammate or sabotage an enemy. There is also a virus breach that allows you to infect enemy turrets and equipment. The final breach type I used was the force breach that acts just like the standard breach except it doesn't require you to hold down the left bumper but the success rate varies.  During missions, players will run and gun through increasingly difficult enemies as they go through each level, creating a high level of dependence on each other. Lone gunning is not a viable option. I really like cooperative modes that force teamwork through dependence, but in my time with Syndicate I often felt like the difficulty was more cheap than challenging. In the beginning of the mission we played there was a good amount of enemies, forcing us to constantly heal one another. Very quickly though, we ran into enemies with absurdly large amounts of health. To take down these heavies we needed to breach their armor to whittle it down. But getting in close enough to breach put me in dangerously close range of their shotguns, not to mention that you can't shoot back while breaching. Adding to the frustration was the painfully long breach times and the fact that you have to breach past multiple layers of armor. I'm all for a challenge, and a challenge it was, but it more often felt like an unfair handicap. Apart from breaching, there are more passive tools to help you combat the odds, specifically your Dart overlay. Like Detective mode from Rocksteady's  Batman games, Dart in Syndicate lets you see past walls and highlights enemies for you. Its usage is limited by a gauge that depletes when activated, but it does refill fairly quickly. I enjoyed some of my time with Syndicate's co-op. Cheap deaths aside, I found myself really getting into the game once I got into the swing of breaching, healing, hacking turrets and flanking enemies with the help of Dart. Syndicate doesn't stray far from the formula established by past co-op survival/mission modes, and it works well enough here. On the flip side of that coin, the design shows signs of laziness. Dependence on your allies on only exists because health is relatively finite, and enemies have vast amounts of it. Breaching a heavily armored opponent is a cool idea, but why do I have to be so close to him? Throw in the needlessly long breach times, and a rinse repeat feel to take down one enemy and its clear Syndacite needs work. Of course this demo was about half a mission and we have yet to see how the class customization comes into play. Still, my hopes are sadly curbed with how the game is shaping up so far.
 photo

Reboots are nothing new to the videogame industry. This, arguably, common place occurrence seemed to take a turn for the weird when Take-Two announced the re-imaging of the PC strategy title X-Com into a first-person shooter....

 photo

New Syndicate trailer features co-op, ladies, mohawks


Nov 02
// Josh Tolentino
It may not be a 100% faithful remake of the original game, but Starbreeze's new Syndicate remake is looking like an increasingly interesting shooter, if the new co-op trailer is to be believed. It shows, a presumably player-...
 photo

EA: Syndicate remake a possibility


Oct 24
// Fraser Brown
Starbreeze's reimagining of the classic strategy game, Syndicate, might have ruffled some feathers with its switch to a first person perspective, but EA isn't writing off a proper remake. Speaking with Eurogamer, EA executive...
 photo

EA wants to give you a history lesson about Syndicate


Oct 17
// Brett Zeidler
In this trailer for the upcoming reboot Syndicate, EA wanted to take the time to make sure we are all on the same page here by explaining what made the original Syndicate such a truly fantastic game. Defining the tactical sh...
 photo

The DTOID Show: Syndicates, Battlefields, and Bagmen!


Oct 14
// Tara Long
Good evening, little darklings. It's the last day of our Giveaway Week and we gave out a total of $900 worth of prizes! Special thanks to those of you who spent minutes painstakingly drawing and MS Painting photos for a chan...
 photo

The DTOID Show: Jim Sterling talks Battlefield 3 beta!


Sep 28
// Tara Long
Good evening, videogamers! It's Wednesday and that means another episode of The Destructoid show is on its way to your eyeballs and earholes. On tonight's menu, I discuss L.A. Noire making its way to PC and the Foo Fighters ...
 photo

Syndicate gets surprise release of February 21


Sep 28
// Jim Sterling
We've only just had solid details about Starbreeze's plans to reboot Syndicate as a first-person-shooter, but already there's a launch window on the cards -- and it's relatively soon! The game's been slated for February 21 an...
 photo

Details on Starbreeze's Syndicate leak, have some screens


Sep 11
// Maurice Tan
Some details on the long-rumored Syndicate reboot were put up on EA's Origin store in the form of a product description, and naturally NeoGAF has snatched it up before it was taken down again. It's a shooter, but we already k...

  Around the web (login to improve these)




Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -