Syndicate – Good, bloody fun

5/9/2012 5:25:13 PM
Business is war’ proclaims the new Syndicate.

Remember that fad a while back, where people bought up the rights to use the names of Commodore, Acorn, and such like, and started producing new computers using these brand names? That’s just what Syndicate feels like. For in the same way that the new Commodore and Acorn machines had next to nothing in common with the computers that once bore the same names, so the new Syndicate feels a long way removed from the isometric mix of strategy and action of old.

Description: Syndicate is one of the most appreciated games of 2012

Syndicate is one of the most appreciated games of 2012

Taking a non-FPS franchise and turning it into a first-person shooter isn’t new, of course. Command & Conquer even had a go once, with Renegade being the instantly forgettable result. In the case of Syndicate? Well, it’s all but instantly forgettable too, feeling like it’s been pieced together from well-established pieces, before being given a decent, modern-day polish. It’s a different genre and fell from Syndicate and Syndicate Wars of old, and has nothing like the scale and breaking of ground of either.

So what is it? Well, not a disaster, for starters. It’s a functional game, set in a future where big, nasty companies have taken control. Your role in this muddle is as one of those prototype agents that videogames like to throw out from time to time, one who is capable of being upgraded via special chips. These chips bring with them skills, most of which can be deployed by holding down the E button. In fact, by the end of a few hours in the company of Syndicate, I swear the E button on my keyboard was wearing away, such was the game’s insistence on me hitting it.

Visually interesting, and featuring an almost-obligatory female robotic voice, Syndicate is a game that ultimately stumbles when the action kicks in. It’s never dull to play, but rarely do you actually feel that you’re in the middle of something. Sure, there are some fun shootouts, it’s quite challenging in places, and the weaponry is reasonably varied. But it’s got few tangible surprises in its proverbial locker, and, even accepting the decent enemy AI, it’s a long, long way from the excitement that the original Syndicate games managed to generate. It’s almost as if similarities between old and new are coincidental, and little else.

The irony of the game, one seemingly brimming with future tech and ideas, is that it feels old-fashioned. Deus Ex: Human Revolution has certainly done it no favours, managing to incorporate a lot of the ideas at work here in a far more convincing and interesting, way. Syndicate can’t compete with it, bluntly, nor does it ever show any signs of being able to. A pity. Perhaps EA should have just released the game for a rebadged Commodore or something instead?


Price: $55

Manufacturer: electronic Arts


Required spec: 2.4GHz processor, 2GB RAM (3GB with Windows Vista), 11GB HDD space, good DirectX 9 graphics card, DVD drive

Quality: 5

Value: 6

Overall: 5


A game that trades off the name of an old one, while adding little new

  •  Summer games
  •  Alan Wake - “I am A. Wake."
  •  Audio Cleaning Lab MX - makes some sounds sound better
  •  Open Pandora - Open source gaming handled
  •  3D Printing … for people who don’t have a 3D printer
  •  Share and stream media (Part 2) - Stream away to an Android device
  •  Share and stream media (Part 1) - Windows and NAS sharing
  •  Home Cinema, April-2012 (Part 2) - Philips 7000 series Smart LED TV & Toshiba Regza 46WL863B
  •  Home Cinema, April-2012 (Part 1) - Sony Bravia KDL-46NX723
  •  Three of the best new games reviewed : Skyrim, L.A. Noire & Batman: Arkham City
  •  Nikon Coolpix AW100 - Tough love
  •  Buffalo CloudStation Duo - Your personal cloud
  •  ASUS RT-N56U
  •  ASROCK COREHT - One-box entertainment solution
  •  AC Ryan Playon! HD2 Mini
  •  Batch convert your photos using IrfanView : Step-by-step batch convert your images
  •  Access media remotely : Step-by-step access your media remotely (part 2)
  •  Access media remotely : Step-by-step access your media remotely (part 1)
  •  Get more from your music : Step-by-step take control of your music
  •  Go-rock CUBE SRS - Rocking out with a CUBE
    Top 10
    Fujifilm XF1 - The Stylish Shooter
    Nikon 1 V2 - Still Fast and Handles Better
    Asustor AS-604T 4-Bay NAS Review (Part 3)
    Asustor AS-604T 4-Bay NAS Review (Part 2)
    Asustor AS-604T 4-Bay NAS Review (Part 1)
    Toshiba Satellite U925t Review (Part 3)
    Toshiba Satellite U925t Review (Part 2)
    Toshiba Satellite U925t Review (Part 1)
    iBall Andi 4.5H - Pretty In White
    The HTC Butterfly - Full HD In 5 Inches Only
    Most View
    Windows 8 Special (Part 2)
    Visual Studio 2010 : Understanding Solutions and Projects (part 1)
    Record Onscreen Action In Windows
    Programming .NET Security : Hashing Algorithms Explained
    A brief history of transforming robots (Part 2)
    Zalman F1-Series 240GB - New star SSD
    The Small Screen Revolution (Part 1)
    Learn How Too... Work Faster Than Ever With Windows 8 (Part 1)
    The Xperia T - Remarkable In How Unremarkable It Is (Part 1)
    Caching User Controls
    Stay Safe On Public Hotspots
    LG 42LM660T - Slick, Good Looking ‘Cinema Screen’
    .NET Components : Configuring Permissions
    Programming with DirectX : View Transformations
    New Year Gift Guide 2013 (Part 2)
    Apple Macbook Pro With Retina Display
    Chord QuteHD – Digital-to-analogue Converter
    Windows Server 2003 : Extending IPSec Operations, Designing IPSec Policies to Meet Secure Communications Needs
    Toshiba Satellite L850-F31R Notebook - Books & Covers
    iphone Programming : Integrating Your Application - Application Preferences