Dark future, where neon lights of the billboards replaced the Sun for people, cities divided into uptown and downtown. You can find such a picture in many books about future. Huge corporations, slowly replacing governments on the political arena, secret meetings, goal of which is usually to get profit out of something and to capture the power, backstabbings, military conflicts and body modernization using implants- is a plain, old description of future, in games too.
In 2069 people don't resolve their issues in the court- if people have a problem, they resolve it with bloody shootouts. Syndicates control thousands of companies, including TV studios, warehouses that produce arms, energy resource gathering productions. Nonetheless, their main aim is to produce special chips, implanted into human brain. Silicic implant works using adrenaline and allows its carrier to immediately connect to the world wide web. But 'DART', produced by 'Eurocorp', allows not to just replace a tablet, computer or a mobile phone- it allows you to hack basically all electronic tools.
If you, unintentionally, skip a cutscene, it's not a big deal. Even though minor characters talk alot, but make no more sense than TV programmes. But the bosses couldn't be better. Each of them has got its own special ability: one can run faster than the others, the other has got an ability to become invisible, the third jumps like a monkey. However, they're not a huge challenge and are just an obstacle on your way to the final cutscene.
However constant shootouts won't leave you enough time to pay attention to that. Linear corridors of dusty warehouses, sterile clear syndicate rooms and rainy streets leave you many opportunities to find a hiding place. Finding which is actually really useful- any attempt to go start an open fire doesn't leave you much chances to stay alive. Enemies don't hesitate, always chosing the best position, spreading when there's a grenade nearby, hiding behind barricades or just outflanking.
Also, after several cutscenes in the beginning, you'll have to face different kind of enemies. Snipers, hiding after every shot; machinegunners, watering a waterfall of bullets out of every corner; but the hardest usually rush you with their heavy armor. That's when DART is really useful.
Besides hacking into enemy's armor, chip helps in other ways. It helps you look through the walls, hack defending turrets, enemy's weapon and even brain! There's nothing more effective than activated suicide, when the opponents regroup together and one of them pulls out a grenade and blow himself and the whole team up. Shame the developers didn't put some more effort into it, would've been a good comeback at Bioshock with its variety of managing combat.
All countries are the same.
Co-op doesn't have a bigger variety either- its main characters run around with an old version of DART and don't have the same abilities as Kilo. But each of them has got an ability to heal injured mates. Multiplayer mode really reminds of the one The Darkness 2 has. Before the mission players are instructed and are objected to 'eliminate', 'steal', 'gather' etc. For killing an enemy, the player gains experience and 'pimps' his weapon and skills.
But local environment is something you can look at for a long time. Downtown- terrifying place. People are starving, walls are spammed with propaganda posters and it rains the whole time. From the uptown, a mile away from the ground, the view is completely different. Between the skyscrapers lie long monorails, wherever you look it's clean, and citizen's apartments will make you jealous with their design. Despite the absence of DX11, Syndicate looks really attractive. Great textures, smoke coming out of the gun barrel, natural blood marks on your shirt. The same neon billboards shine as realistic as in Battlefield 3, if not brighter. But, unlike BF3, you cannot break them no matter how hard you try.
All in all, the game is somewhat average->good.
My ratings would be the next: