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04-20-2018

Satellite Reign

I can still remember the first time I played Syndicate. It was after school in late 1993, and I was messing around on an office computer while waiting for my mother to finish a meeting and take me home. I remember the cool mission music, and largely fumbling through the first few missions, my nine-year-old brain not quite grasping the subtleties of controlling multiple characters, much less ones that weren't Mario or Luigi! But the experience stuck with me through the years.

I'm mentioning Syndicate now because of its place in my formative years, but the game simply hasn't held up to modern standards. It's more comforting to remember how it nailed its dystopian tone (exemplified by a glorious intro) and made players into a badass cyberpunk CEO. Revisiting Syndicate today reveals a mess of punitive mission design, rudimentary controls, and simplistic mechanics.

That discrepancy between reminiscence and reality is important, for playing Satellite Reign more than two decades later feels like how I remember playing Syndicate, which is just about the highest possible praise I can give it. 

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