Syndicate (2012) Review – Or: I Have Seen The Future And It’s Full Of Lens Flare!

Yell! Magazine’s review of Syndicate (2012):

The last original thought I ever had involved getting my Chihuahua drunk and having him get it on with my Great Dane. The idea, I believe, was to create a sort of Great Dane-sized Mega-Chihuahua while still retaining the ear-piercing, insanity-inducing yelp of the smaller breed intact just to confuse the holy hell out of the neighbors as they wonder why Dogzilla is barking like a squeaky toy. I may or may not have been hopped up on broiled lizard entrails at the time and my lawyer is gesturing for me to shut up at this point.

Still, you have to admit that compared to the video game industry I’m a veritable font of wisdom and original ideas. Proving once again that the gaming industry is bereft of any originality, here is the latest remake/reboot on the block: Starbreeze Studios’ Syndicate, a re-imagining of the classic 1993 Bullfrog isometric tactical role-playing game. While not as fondly remembered as some classics of the era, Syndicate was a breath of fresh air during a period that was busy falling in love with the first wave of truly great shooters.

It’s been 16 years since its sequel, 1996’s Syndicate Wars, hit store shelves. Can a brand name that was never in the same league as the Dooms, Duke Nukems, and Tomb Raiders of the era make a comeback? Or is this Syndicate about to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy? Is ditching the original’s isometric perspective and replacing it with a straight-up first-person shooter a wise idea? Can you teach a Dane-huahua to say, “Yo quiero Taco Bell!”? I don’t know but I’m sure as heck going to try!

This is Yell! Magazine’s review of Syndicate, available for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. For review purposes, the PlayStation 3 version was used. For breeding and general Mad Scientist shit, the Evil Tormenting Bosses’ intern cloning facility was used. What? Like any good Evil Bosses they like to offhandly and violently murder the occasional random employee to ensure their dominance over the remaining troops. And hey!, better some soulless genetic abomination get an arrow in the head than me.

Syndicate 2012
Weee! Quick, Shawn, clone another one!

The Story

The year is 2069, and the Eurocorp mega-corporation, which featured prominently in the original series, is in the mood for some hostile takeover. In the world of Syndicate, this doesn’t mean long, boring sessions of legal mumbo jumobo in the boardroom. Instead, genetically and cybernetically modified Agents, such as your character, infiltrate, assassinate, and defenestrate rival corporations and their employees. It’s a cutthroat world and it’s your job to sever some jugulars.

You play as Miles Kilo (because Meter Pound was taken?), the newest Agent off the assembly line. During a tutorial section in the game’s opening moments, which serve to introduce the player to the Agent’s varied tools of infiltration and destruction, you’re given access to Syndicate’s main MacGuffin: the DART chip, a morbidly expensive tool developed by Eurocorp, which you will use incessantly during your play through. You’re soon tasked with your first assignment: liquidating a rival corporation’s head scientist, who may have cracked the secret to manufacturing the DART chip. Unsurprisingly, in a game filled with more conspiracies and crackpots this side of your average Deus Ex title, things don’t go as planned and Miles is forced down a path that will lead him to question all of his loyalties and long-held beliefs.

Syndicate 2012
He’s either questioning his beliefs or trying to pass a kidney stone. Don’t worry, Miles, I’m sure Eurocorp has an App for that!

The comparison to Deus Ex is apt, since both games feature cyberpunk storylines that interconnect with vast, worldwide conspiracies and themes concerning that dehumanization of people due to the emergence of new technologies. In the end, Deus Ex is the deeper story, the triple-A title compared to Syndicate’s B-movie storyline, which isn’t to say that the framework surrounding Syndicate’s shooting isn’t solid, but, unlike Deus Ex, you won’t spend much time doing interesting things in between missions. The gameplay is the principal element of Syndicate’s package, not the story.

Read about the game, presentation, and verdict after the jump…

Syndicate (2012), PS3 Cover Large
Yell! Rating (x/5 Skulls):
Published by:
Electronic Arts
Developed by:
Starbreeze AB
Year Released:
February 21, 2012
Also Available On:
PC, Xbox 360
Action, FPS
Official URL:
Syndicate (2012) Official
Pages: 1 2

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