If I hadn’t listened to the media and had played Syndicate in 2012, it would’ve been on that top 5 list. Hell, it might’ve been number 2. It’s THAT good. It’s three of my favorite things wrapped up into a nice, gun-toting package: Halo, TRON and the Matrix. The only thing missing from Syndicate is Keanu Reeves.
Syndicate is the story of a dystopic future where businesses have more power than governments, and have private militaries to enforce their products. The majority of humans have chip-implants in their heads linked to their favorite businesses. In other words, Apple gets a lot bigger in the next few years.
The story is enough to make the gameplay believable, where you go around “breaching” (hacking and inserting viruses) into enemies’ chips and software, giving you godlike powers. You can go into a special slo-mo matrix mode called DART overlay, which makes all enemies visible and slows time to a halt. This means you can do everything from getting an enemy to kill themselves and surrounding foes to slow-mo headshotting five guards in under a second. It’s a seriously intense combo.
Syndicate doesn’t rely solely on its extremely cool gimmicks (although they are enough to support the game on their own), offering a wide variety of weapons for the player to use. Everything from rocket launchers to flame throwers are at your disposal, allowing you to shock, cut open or burn your enemies to a crisp all in the most stylish of ways. This wide variety of firearms coupled with the fantastic breaching mechanic adds up to one awesome gameplay experience, and there are even minor elements of first-person parkour to ice the cake. Overally, the gameplay is kick-ass.
The single player campaign makes full use of all the gameplay features I discussed above, and creates a really fun eight to nine hour experience. The story is relatively engrossing, the characters are memorable, and Kilo (the agent you play as) is a complete bad-ass. Unlike Splinter Cell: Conviction, it actually makes sense for this main character to be an unstoppable tank, which I absolutely love. With all of the compliments that I’ve given the campaign, I will stress that it’s nothing more than a tutorial for the amazing online co-op, which in all actuality is the real meat of Syndicate.
The co-op is the only form of multiplayer in Syndicate, but this is good for two reasons: No online pass from EA, and that all of the issues with competitive FPS multiplayer mechanics are instantly avoided. This allows you to have nonstop co-op fun, which is easy to do provided everyone who still plays Syndicate online is relatively good. Another easy way to ensure a good group for co-op is to join a syndicate, this game’s form of the clan system. It’s a REALLY cool in-game feature that allows for great leaderboard competition between syndicates and encourages you to play a lot and contribute to your syndicate’s overall score. Playing isn’t a hassle either, as the multitude of maps for co-op are all well designed and are scaled perfectly for the three difficulties the game offers. Each difficulty offers a different experience and allows for a tough as nails challenge, something a true gamer always wants.
Before we get to the part where I say “In conclusion, go out and buy multiple copies of Syndicate for yourself and everyone you know” I have to list some pros and cons so you get the idea of how much this game excels.
-Gameplay mechanics like breaching are fantastic and well-developed
-Mission structure in campaign is solid and tells a good story
-characters and premise are cool
-Co op is fantastic
-Creating the ultimate syndicate with others is addicting
-Atmosphere literally radiates the Matrix
-Soundtrack is the best of the best dubstep (Skrillex? Yep. Nero? Check.)
-Campaign may not satisfy players who only want Syndicate’s singleplayer component
-Main character Kilo may not engross some players
-Online servers have occasional hiccups
Needless to say, Syndicate is kick-ass. Rocking out to Skrillex while slow-mo shotgunning an agent in the skull while brainwashing his partner to help you is oodles of fun, and provides the best FPS experience I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. I’m extremely sad that sales of this game were so lacking and caused EA to lose any incentive in a sequel, so the best plan of action I can recommend is to go out and buy this game for anyone and everyone so that EA can see there is a community that will buy another Syndicate. This is one FPS that really deserves another installment.