The first person shooter genre has become one of the most popular genres in gaming. In comes Syndicate, a title that hold found memories for many old PC gamers. Originally published in 1993, this classic squad based shooter has now been remade into a modern day FPS that will look very familiar to anyone who plays shooters today. They are both the same game as in the original Tron is the same as the recent 3D blockbuster.
Syndicate, from EA and Starbreeze Studios, released a 4 player Co-Op Demo on Xbox or PS3 this week. This demo features the “Western Europe “mission, one of nine missions available in the full game. The demo is playable with up to four friends in either public matchmaker designed sessions or in a private match where you can play with one to four players.
The lobby gives you the option to customize your loadouts with different guns and chips. Each gun requires tokens and time to unlock attachments which slightly alter the characteristics of that gun. With several different firearms and attachments, this could possible create a ton of replay value. It also possible this could also become tedious and take on the feeling of grinding out XP to level up weapons. Chips can be used to unlock character ability and also alter aspects like health regeneration. Even in the demo it’s clear to see there is a very in-depth leveling and unlocking aspect to Syndicates Co-op mode.
Once you finally enter the game, the first thing you will most likely experience is an overwhelming HUB. The view is what you might imagine a cyborg vision would be with information loaded all over the screen. Everything from the remaining ammo brightly displayed on your gun to
health status of your team mates. There is information everywhere and at first is distracting. After playing through several matches it becomes essential to gameplay. You’ll notice a teammate is getting low on health while you’re both engaged in a firefight. Using one of your abilities you can actually heal your teammate while still firing on the enemy.
This begins us to the next noticeable aspect of Syndicate. Computers multitask and you will need to learn how to as well if you plan to be an effective cyborg killer. Besides shooting your enemies you will have ability to breach them to lower shields or backfire weapons. Ultimately there are several controls and abilities that will take more than one evening to get use to. However once master you will become a multitasking ultimate weapon.
The pacing was great. After battling through each staging area you will need to regroup before you can move on to the next area. It is very similar to Left 4 Dead safe rooms where you can reload on ammo and health before moving on. I think breaks like this in the action encourage communication by not sucking each individual into feeling they are on a solo mission. Players stay engaged with the team by having this moment to regroup, reflect and strategize a plan for the next level.
The guns should be comfortable for anyone who has played any recent First person Shooter. The recoil is heavy on many of the guns but hip fire seems to be more forgiving. Overall the guns were easy enough to be useful and do not take long to become proficient with. Since updating guns takes time you’ll most likely need to wait for the full version to enjoy attachments that reduce recoil and increase firepower.
Difficulty we almost spot on for a Demo with either Normal or Hard modes available in the demo (Expert is available in the full version). Normal was great for getting use to the mechanics and gameplay of the game. Once you become accustomed to the controls you can try Hard more for a real challenge. The hard mode will require greater communication and teamwork to progress through. It seemed Hard mode offered some surprises with stronger enemies popping up a new location than the previous run through. This was exciting in that even though you are playing the same level on the same mode, the enemies are not always where you suspect.
Every gamer who enjoys playing first person shooters with their friends should try this demo. It offers a fun team based experience that is unique and yet familiar to this genre’s massive audience. The demo is not without its issues. I experienced a number of games freezing where rebooting the console was my only option. Also you can easily run into random players set on sabotaging the experience by not letting you progress to the next stage. However once moving past these glaring uses you are presenting with a genuinely enjoyable co-op experience. Ultimately Syndicate will most likely add to a quality gaming option to the genre as opposed to revolutionizing it.