Syndicate
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7
8.6
High-Tech Guns

The year is 2069 and world population has reached 15 billion. 57% are chipped and linked to their preferred corporation with the rest left out of sight and out of mind. The player acts as one of the chosen, an agent called Miles Kilo, mobilized to protect his corporation’s interests. Implanted with a chip running the latest experimental Dart Six Meldware it is hoped you exceed expectations and indicate the chip can be used to gain advantage over the other major syndicates. Yes this is a FPS not a strategy game but one has to bear in mind the current gaming market.

 

The single player campaign is a nine hour trip through the world of 2069 ranging from the Asia-Pacific Rim, a large city-raft called La Ballena housing 152,326 people, Upper and later Lower New York. Combat is fast and fluid through the linear environments and the enemy AI is more than adequate at higher difficulty levels. Squads will work together to flush the player out of cover with grenades so snipers can finish them off or attempt to flank them, guys armed with longer ranged rifles will always attempt to create distance between themselves and the player whereas shotgunners close for the kill and finally later in the game mini bosses either stay near troops with chip blocking technology or will order one of them to follow them and then advance on the player.

 

Every weapon in the game handles differently and most have a secondary fire. Some weapons such as the sniper rifle and machine guns can be used in conjunction with the DART 6 overlay feature to enable the player to shoot through walls and objects to hit enemies hiding in cover. Changing between secondary and primary fire modes is again fluid and the player is kept informed which mode the gun is in by a helpful holographical display.

 

Main bosses take the form of enemy agents each with their own special abilities powered by the chips implanted in their heads. Once killed the player can rip the chip from the agents and use it to improve their own abilities, an additional health bonus can be acquired by unlocking adjacent upgrades. As the game progresses the DART 6’s meldware is updated eventually giving the player access to three applications, Backfire (Causes target’s weapon to backfire, dealing moderate damage and knocking enemy back), Persuade (Forces the target to become the player’s ally for a limited duration) and Suicide (Forces the target to commit suicide by grenade). These applications are recharged slowly by killing enemies.

 

The multiplayer aspect is where this game really comes alive. Players can join or create Syndicates and try to improve their ratings in a virtual stock market by reaching company goals or completing missions. They can also spend research points and blueprint tokens to unlock weapon and application research. Up to four people can play in a team and experience a few days in the life of agents spanning over nine extremely different maps.

 

Pros:

  1. Fast and fluid gunfights through a nice mixture of environments.
  2. Excellent AI.
  3. Through transferring data, picking up business cards and discovering propaganda the player learns about the environment around them.
  4. Gripping multiplayer.
  5. Player is able to interact with the environment and can overload the armour on mini bosses.

 

Cons:

  1. Using party chat to speak with people rather than game chat frequently crashes the game. The reviewer experienced this bug and can confirm switching the game chat solves these problems. Unconfirmed rumours on message boards state Starbreeze are working on a fix.
  2. Multiplayer is hard unless team members have some of their tree unlocked and can work together.

 

As a reviewer I agree with Metacritic and say this game is 7.5. As a gamer I say this game brings to life environments I have read about in SnowCrash, MindsEye and Daemon, some of the text in the game reminds me of real world groups I have knowledge of. I am Miles Kilo. I belong.

Sci-Fi blood splash. Nice!