Category: PC Previews

Syndicate 4-player co-op

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.

Syndicate Staples

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.

Syndicate Changes

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.

Syndicate 4 player co-op trailer

There has to be people somewhere that aren't shooting at us

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.

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The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim

As if Skyrim wasn’t awesome enough they went and upped the antee a bit this time. It’s one thing to offer screen, after screen, after gorgeous screen to help entice a user to want to play. It’s something else entirely to say “Let’s pay actual actors to act this out.” Over at Bethesda that did just that. As always we won’t prattle on about the trailer until you take a gander:

The first thought that comes to mind is a resounding “Yes please. Now please. Thank you.” The second thought was “what the hell was in that bucket?” No I mean it, look at what happens 25 seconds in to the live action trailer. I assumed it was water but a bucket of water spilled onto a fire doesn’t cause that kind of a flame up. Apparently in Skyrim people drink nothing but alcohol. But it makes sense really, to properly fight dragons you’re going to need something to take the edge off. Alcohol from the ground might be just what the doctor ordered.

I think at this stage it’s safe to say that those of us who are excited about this could just about spear a dragon with our “excitement” while giggling like a toddler while doing it. While this trailer offers us nothing in the way of new information it does serve to provide additional excitement. It more or less throws “Skyrim water” on the fire.

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Mass Effect 3 demo release in January

Demo’s are a great way to give video gamers a way to get to know the game before they commit to buying it. They help people make up their mind on big question of “Do I really want to buy this new video game? Is it really worth my hard earned money?” Video game demos give us a way to experience a glimpse of the world to come and experience. They also let fanboys like us at PtC go absolutely crazy over games we already know we are going to buy. This is why when we learned of the upcoming Mass Effect 3 Demo we pretty much hyperventilated. When we woke up the following Sunday we gathered our thoughts together and knew we had to write something, anything, about it and this something had to a little more than “Can I camp out in front of my console to download it first?”

Releasing in January of 2012 BioWare will bestow upon us the Mass Effect 3 demo full of Shepard goodness. Please begin your “I’m Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite demo on the Citadel” jokes. This demo will feature a taste of the single player campaign and put you back in Commander Shepard’s armor. However this isn’t all of the good news.

Mass Effect 3 Demo

Finally we get some ginger representation in video games. Wait, that's not hair?

We recently discussed the upcoming Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer campaign that is also present in the video game. The Mass Effect 3 demo also includes a taste of the multiplayer missions as well. Yes we’re quite excited. The best news is that you won’t have to wait until January. You can always get yourself some easy early access through another EA game coming out soon, Battlefield 3. According to the BioWare Forums:

  • Owners of Battlefield 3, on any platform, who activate their Online Pass will automatically be granted early access to the multiplayer portion of the Mass Effect 3 demo. There is no need to enter any other codes, the early access will be applied to the EA Account associated with the Online Pass. Note: BF3 Origin Customers automatically have the BF3 Online Pass.
  • This applies to all regions where the demo is released (to be announced)
  • The exact date of the demo launch will be announced in late November
  • There will be another program whereby players and fans of the Mass Effect franchise can unlock this early access (with no purchase necessary) – this will also be announced in late November or early December.
  • There will also be a tool posted on www.masseffect.com allowing players to check if their EA account has been granted the early access.
  • The length of the early access period is TBA.
  • The single-player section of the demo will be available to all players on day one of the demo launch.

It should be noted that Battlefield 3 is not the ONLY way to get access to the Mass Effect 3 Demo. They will be releasing more information in November/December on how to gain access and get a taste of what’s to come.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic - Signs of War

As we approach the impending end of year deluge of phenomenal games there are few that I am this excited for. I mean yes, Skyrim is a must and with Batman Arkham City having been released earlier in the week and Dark Souls two weeks ago video gamers have already begun their descent into a long season of epic gaming. But one stands out to me as more than just a video game.

I grew up a Star Wars fan. Watching the original trilogy reminds me of growing up and hanging out with my older sister. For me this MMORPG allows me to live in the world I always wanted to when I was younger. But as this trailer shows us, it’s not going to be an easy life. Before I give you the SWTOR trailer feel I should warn you that you may feel a sudden urge to start fist pumping, cheering, and punching Sith.

We appear to be at the onset of an online RPG that will redefine all those that come after it. At least I’m sure that is their aim. Their goals are lofty and all we can do is hope they hit them and then some. BioWare has definitely pushed on with a potentially genre defining offering with SWTOR. It is either going to be a resounding success or sputter out into an overwhelming display of average. But with the fan base and hope behind it I think what will ultimately make or break Star Wars: The Old Republic is how many users pick it up and start playing.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

I wonder if that condition is contagious

This gameplay trailer is, in a word, passionate. War is breaking out all across the galaxy and not all of it takes place right out in the open. There is subversion, political intrigue, and all out raging battles. Nothing appears to be as it seams and, in true Star Wars fashion, I think we can assume that there is going to be some losses. The Star Wars Universe has never been about “kicking back, take it easy, and relax”. It’s about uncovering plots, tactics, gaining the upper hand, and (when the need arises) kickin’ up a little dust. SWTOR is showing us that the universe is at a point of great unrest and it can not be won by one or two lone heroes. It is going to take a team effort to ultimately win the war.

This will not be a war won by men in suits alone. There are fights taking place behind the scenes. From Twi’lek dancers shooting soldiers in bars, to shady deals with politicians in Coruscant this war is going to go far beyond the pull of a blaster trigger or hum of a lightsaber. This will be a war on many fronts.

And now…I have goosebumps. Damn you Old Republic.

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Syndicate Agent

I very rarely find myself at a loss for words but when those moments come it typically means one of two things. I’m either in love or I’m very nervous. This was the case with the latest trailer for Syndicate released earlier this week. With a video game that I spent most of my early teen years playing Syndicate by Bullfrog Productions holds a very special place in my heart. Maybe it was the trench coats, maybe it was the flamethrower, maybe it was the ability to amass an army or walking, talking bullet shields.

The trailer that was recently released met with some mixed reviews from many people. Some people loved it, some hated it, however the majority of people saw it with more hope than anything else. In case you haven’t seen it yet go ahead and check it out below.

Now what we see is a typical trailer. They aren’t going to skimp on the action. They want you to buy this game. They want you to fall head over heels in love with it. They want you to watch the Syndicate gameplay trailer and say “You are gorram right I’m going to buy the crap outta this. SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!” But did you say this? If you’re like me you overanalyzed the heck out of it and you’ve arrived at a few conclusions.

Syndicate Announcement Trailer Pros

A Syndicate is nothing without good agents; they are what make the really nasty stuff possible. So when the trailer starts off saying that you’re taking the role of this agent we can chalk this us as a big plus. The nice aspect of this is that agents are upgradable however the extent to which you’ll be able to play is (as of yet) being kept under wraps, but this does give us some hope.

Still has the mission clock and more importantly we get a much better voice than the one in the first Syndicate game. This is a vast imrpovement over the overly mechanical voice from the original Syndicate. However I can’t help but shake the feeling that it sounds like an attempt at a seductive GLaDOS. It is for this very reason that I will refuse to trust that it is not ultimately going to turn on me and test me in some way.

Sydnicate Announce Trailer Ocean Scene

Just look how outside I am!

It is also very apparent that we are fighting rival syndicates. Now this is not really news since that’s really the entire point of the video game. However we do know that they still aren’t getting along. Ultimately this is what leads us to hope that in some way we will have some form of territory management akin to the original video game. This is something that will, again, remain to be seen.

Now 40 seconds into the Syndicate Announcement Trailer you see someone lose control and do the agents bidding by killing the other person in the room and then turn the gun on their own head. This leads us to one logical conclusion. This can only be the work of the persuadetron? What else could allow a Syndicate Agent to gain access to someone and force them to do their bidding. While the ultimate capability of the persuadetron has yet to be released, knowing that it’s in there makes us happy.

Face stomp at 1:03. That’s all we really need to say about that.

The scale of Syndicate looks rather large. Now it’s not large on the scale of Fallout 3 or New Vegas but it does look like the missions may be slightly more grandiose than Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Now before people get angry with me allow me to explain what I meant by that line. I am not saying DE:HR was small. I’m not saying it wasn’t amazing. What I’m saying was that the missions held a certain claustrophobic feel to them. While it was perfect for Deus Ex: Human Revolution it’s nice to see Syndicate stepping up and saying “Here’s a minigun on the side of a vehicle. Have at it. See that window you’re dangling in front of in the open sky? Yeah just whoop that window’s ass.”

Syndicate Announcement Trailer Cons

syndicate-shotgun

Aaaallll byyyy MYseeeeeelllfff

Only one agent. Part of the fun I had with Syndicate and trying to set up traps. Lining up multiple agents with a brutal mix of flamethrowers and miniguns was a simple pleasure to a thirteen year old boy. With only one agent the trapping and luring aspect won’t seem quite as possible. Okay it won’t be at all possible. But I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that what they lack in agent quantity they make up for in agent quality.

While I stated above that the world seems more grandiose it doesn’t (from what we’ve been shown) look to be as open. We see no hint of the aforementioned territorry management that we are hoping it keeps up, nor do we see anything as remotely open world as Deus Ex: Human Revolution. While we’re not looking for them to lay out the entire story in a quick 2 minute trailer it would be nice for a tad more information on what we can expect when we’re not stomping on people’s faces while making others shoot people for us.

While it looks like a very fast paced FPS, it still looks like a fairly standard FPS. There is not much in here that really blows our skirts up. It’s still early though, but since Syndicate is scheduled for release on February 21st, 2012 they should be showing us something to get us excited. However a great game is not always great because it brings something new to the game. Sometimes they do something great by taking pieces of what’s worked before and combining them in a way that is simply mind blowing.

Additional Syndicate Information

syndicate fight

Does his thumbs up mean go for the gold?

Now what good is a video game announcement without a little pre-order information to go with it. If you were so inclined to preorder Syndicate you would get The Executive Package bundled right with it. What is the Executive Package you may be asking yourself? Well let me shed a little light on it for you. It’s enough co-op gold to make Trump jealous. You get solid gold version of all loadout weapons, something called “golden dart vision” and gold Syndicate logos during co-op missions.  They seem to be touting the gold angle.

While “fancy pants gold weapons” are interesting I am more intrigued by these missions themselves. Will they be more akin to the old school Syndicate game where a team of agents work to achieve a goal? That would certainly be an interesting angle to the multiplayer.  Looks like we’ll have to wait to find out a little more though.

What we do know from the trailer is that Syndicate looks like it should be fun to play. We’re pretty anxious to find out more about it on our end. But we’ve given you our take on the the trailer, what about all of you?

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