Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hands On First Impressions: Syndicate

We've had a chance to sit down and have a go at a few rounds with the Syndicate demo.  How'd it go?  Read on to find out!

When the demo for Syndicate came out, we were pretty excited to get our hands on this interesting shooter.  Seeming to take the slick, futuristic setting of Deus Ex and blending it with the design aesthetic of a JRPG, Syndicate definitely drew us in.

The textures are incredible

And then we started playing it.  Syndicate starts out interestingly enough, with you choosing a class and weapon loadout, as well as a character model seemingly ripped straight out of a cliche JRPG.  The problem is that very little is explained to you before the game starts.  Does your character model matter?  The characters are all different sizes and builds, so maybe?  How is one weapon better than another?  Good luck finding out! What to any of the fucking buttons do?! More than almost any game/demo we've played, Syndicate really needed a tutorial.  A total of four of us played through multiple co-op sessions, and we were all lost.


The graphics are impressive, but pretty much everything is some variation of the color gray, and few of the enemies show much differentiation in their design.  However,  we came away very impressed with how smoothly the game ran, and some of the effects on display were quite impressive.  We were especially impressed with the Dart Vision effect, but we'll be damned if we can figure out what it's really used for.

What the fuck is this used for?!

The gunplay also left us insanely dissatisfied.  The weapons feel like shit.  Every single one of them is super underpowered, and accuracy is all over the place, seemingly without explanation.  Every enemy seems to be some sort of bullets-absorbing juggernaut, because any soldier who can take four shotgun shells aimed squarely at his head from ten paces, must be some kind of superhuman monster.  We, however, were not so fortunate.  If we spent even a few seconds out of cover, we would find ourselves incapacitated, in need of a revival.  Combat is truly the most infuriating part of this game, which is a shame because there's a lot of it.

Enemies rarely use cover.

There is one thing that gave us hope, and that came at the very end of the demo.  Our characters leveled up, and we were able to get a look at the upgrade trees.  It seems that pretty much all of the weapons can be upgraded for firepower, accuracy, etc. and there are a lot of abilities for our agents to try out.  We'll have to wait to reserve final judgment until we have a chance to try out the full game, but so far, we're only filled with a tiny bit of hope for Syndicate.


  1. This demo was balls, but the full game is getting wildly different review scores.

    1. Well, maybe they fixed some of the issues in the final release. Or it's entirely possible that we're just outliers, I don't know.

    2. I really didn't think the demo was that bad. I was just starting to get a hang of things as we quit.

    3. That's the crazy thing. I think maybe the demo just did a piss poor job. I was a lot more interested once I saw the progression potential

    4. This really does remind me a lot of Brink. A very polarizing game.