Way back in the early 90s there was a game series called Syndicate. It was an isometric tactical game that involved the player running a company and establishing total dominance with said company. You could stop internal mutinies, go on deadly missions, and much more. This included eliminating rival Syndicates. A couple of sequels would follow before EA would hit the reboot switch on the series. After getting writer Richard Morgan and developer Starbreeze, EA would be ready to proceed. After some dev-time, Syndicate was released to the masses. Unfortunately you may have missed it in the shuffle of shovel-ware that was released at the time.
Don’t get me wrong, Syndicate isn’t shovel-ware. It’s actually far from it. The one big thing Starbreeze did that may have upset people was changing the game completely from a tactical isometric shooter to a first-person shooter. Instead of running a national company you’re instead working for one as a glorified mercenary. The interesting part of this game are the Darts. Darts are implants that have rendered most-if-not all electronic devices irrelevant as everything is in your noggin. As a result of this governments have become obsolete and mega-companies rule the world, these companies are known as Syndicates. You play as “Kilo” a soldier who uses the experimental Dart 6 and carry out objectives given to you by your boss Jack Denham. Alongside him is your mentor and fellow agent Jules Merit.
One of the things Syndicate has going for it is its production value. Not only is the game beautiful, it runs well also. Not only that, but it has star power too. Brian Cox, Rosario Dawson, and the beloved Michael Wincott all lend their talents to the game. Not only does it enhance the game but it enhances the experience in this world. This could have easily been phoned in by Cox or Dawson (not Wincott though, he’s a pro) but it comes through well and is entirely believable and even the regular VO is good as well.
After a mission goes haywire you find out some things about your dear company that changes your perspective in the corporate espionage war that is going on within the game. It is a twist that I didn’t see coming and changed my view on Eurocorp (said company) and the entire syndicate war. Some people you thought were friends become enemies and some enemies become friends.
More important than the story, however, is the gameplay. This is where the Darts come into play. You have different abilities with the Darts. They can range from causing an enemy to commit suicide, or even bring someone to your side and once the effect wears off the person shoots themselves. That’s right people, BioShock Infinite didn’t do possession first, Syndicate did. This adds a different way to play the game and not just running and gunning your way through. There was a particular sequence where you get a minigun with unlimited ammo and fun was had. Wave after wave of enemies would try to come in and I would knock ‘em down. Then, the helicopter came. It was something that at first was very frustrating and once I got past it, thought nothing of it. At the same time there were certain boss fights that caused a bit of anger. The first boss fight specifically. It was a complete change in what was being done.
All that aside, Syndicate is a really fun game that should be played by more than the amount of people that played it at launch. It was a critical success but not necessarily a financial success since the market is cluttered with first person shooters. Some good (BioShock Infinite) and some really bad (Aliens: Colonial Marines) Syndicate tends to walk the line of the former. I personally wish I reviewed the game because more people need to be aware of this game and how fun, intriguing/interesting, and good it is.