When the new Syndicate was announced we advised people to give it the benefit of the doubt. It was a game with a history beloved by video gamers and fans of RTS the world over. It was one of the better parts of video game history and as such Starbreeze Studios has some rather big shoes to fill. As the trailers and screenshots and gameplay tailers came out we began to get a little worried that some of the elements that made Syndicate so great were being left out in favor of other, more modern, elements. With this trailer many of these fears have been put to rest:
I don’t know what it is about a team of 4 Syndicate agents in long coats that makes me shudder with delight, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t do it every time. While this doesn’t clue us into every gameplay element in the 4-player co-op in Syndicate it does let us know a few things.
For starters we know that they are maintaining the integrity of 4 member teams in Syndicate. This is good because it will allow you to plan and strategize without simply just trying to overwhelm. In this light it won’t be a standard online FPS. Additionally they’ve carried over the “trench coat” style from the original Syndicate. While this isn’t something that will make or break the game it’s still nice to see it carried through. There’s a thematic styling that should be maintained and Starbreeze seems to be attempting to do just that.
Around 0:37 into the clip we see an agent pick up a package. This lets us know that the there will be more than deathmatch style gameplay in this FPS co-op. Not every mission in Syndicate was about killing other agents. There were assassinations, recon, and personnel acquisition. Each of these elements could play an interesting role in the online multiplayer. We suspect (or at least hope) that what we witnessed was a piece of intelligence gathering or reconnaissance.
While we catch a glimpse of my personal favorite weapon from Syndicate (the minigun) we still don’t see any use of a Persuadetron. However we have yet to see any real use for it. The other thing we notice is that this seems to be directed at direct combat in some form of corridor. The nice thing about Syndicate was that it was open, there was life, people, and random things to blow up. The “only us vs. them” approach is not what Syndicate was about.
Open the map up and throw some civilians in it. Allow agents to blend in, persuade people to be human shields, and wreak untold havoc. Agents didn’t always notice you and that’s what made it fun. When you’re the only thing on the board moving around you pretty much know you’re going to get shot. Think more Assassins Creed: Brotherhood less CoD.
In fact that lack of true tactics was not all we didn’t see. Vehicles were nice in Syndicate because they allowed you to blend in. They also allowed you to drive around 150 of your closest persuaded friends. We see them littering the landscape but nothing interactive or engaging. It’s this element that helped make the original Syndicate so much fun.
However just because we didn’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there, it just means that it wasn’t in this 1:43 gameplay trailer. Starbreeze Stuidios have themselves a very interesting video game on their hands. If done properly their online co-op could create a whole new style of online play for first person shooters. Or they could just shoot for average run of the mill co-op. Only time will tell what they have in store for us, but we’re waiting with our hopes held high.