Category: Syndicate

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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Syndicate Announced

In what we can easily call “yesterday’s news” EA announced that they were working to bring us another game from a long while ago. In 1993 PC gamers everywhere were introduced to Bullfrog’s critically acclaimed Syndicate. Syndicate was an RTS where you took control of a group of agents to complete missions however necessary, usually a shootout. What made it so phenomenal was the video games ability to let you do almost anything from take vehicles, use a weapon called a “Persuadetron” to amass an army of people (who would somehow all fit into the vehicle you’ve taken) and then after enough people you could begin to persuade opposing agents. What would ensue would be a firefight of epic proportions with a ridiculously high body count. Once you had control of a territory you decided taxes and ultimately had to fight to maintain control of your territory.

Old Syndicate

Now I'm going to have to reload this game and play it again.

It was, in a word, amazing. This is why when people first saw the announcement from EA heralding a new Syndicate people got very excited. Shortly thereafter upon learning that this next installment was to be a first person shooter people got…let’s just say somewhat grouchy. While yes, a FPS is in fact a wild departure from an RTS it’s certainly not a game ender. I mean hey, it worked for Fallout, right?

What made Syndicate so much fun wasn’t based on the fact that it was an RTS it was because it was an AWESOME video game to play. Sure the vantage point in the upcoming version is going to be different but Starbreeze Studios isn’t coming into this blind.

In an interview with the Official Xbox Magazine they said:

We’re big fans of the original Syndicate, and we’re definitely paying as much homage to it as we can – bringing across the essence of the world, the core essence of what it is to be an Agent. That sounds wanky but it’s true – we’re taking the Persuadatron and evolving it in different ways, the weapons and brutality. On both facets of the game, the co-op and the single player, it’s very key to stay true to it.

Simply put, we haven’t seen any true gameplay footage yet, just a few screens. We don’t know the specifics of the game, just that it’s planned on coming to the PC, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360. But there are some things that we do hope that we see.

1.) Persuadetron – The Syndicate’s Lil’ Helper

Seriously, this was the most amazingly fantastic part of Syndicate. There was something phenomenal about being able to wander around walking past people and suddenly having them follow you and operate as a human shield. Some of them would even pick up weapons and fight for you. This simple tool has to be a mainstay of the game. If we see a person we should be able to turn them into a movable bullet catcher.

2.) Strategy – Without it, Syndicate is just another FPS

While the persuading was fun that wasn’t the only aspect that made the game interesting. Keeping territories in line while constantly expanding your reach was the fundamental point of the video game. However Starbreeze can work it in I’m sure they will do just fine. What I would love to see is a Deus Ex: Human Revolution style “There is more than one way to get this done” method to territory capturing. While this is most likely a very lofty hope, it would be nice to find other tactics other than “brute force capture.”

I would enjoy working a small drug ring into a territory and growing it to a full blown cartel that has every politician and important figure under it’s thumb. There is something to be said for subversion. However there will always be a time when a simple flame thrower will work nicer.

3.) Upgrade – Seriously, Syndicate agents need help

Upgrading and modifying characters are nothing new to video games. But with Syndicate we have so much more potential. Take a lesson from every great modern RPG and let the users develop characters the way they want to. Instead of three super upgraded and unstoppable soldiers being able to create a specialized team to work through various challenges and missions together to accomplish a goal.

4.) Team – It’s what keeps a Syndicate together

Syndicate Main Character

He doesn't look like a team of 4 people...

The team of 4 cyborgs was part of the fun. Working on correct positioning and weapon loadouts before the mission became something my young mind of 13 would obsess over. “Do I want to bring the mini gun or the flame thrower? Do I have a backup Persuadetron just in case my number 1 guy falls?” We know they have stated that there will be multiplayer and one can assume that this would be the simplest integration of the team aspect, but what about during a single player campaign? It’s finding a good way to not only make the team present in a way that makes sense and has them provide value but also finds a way to maintain a seamless transition between team members.

5.) Keep the immersion – I was a Syndicate exec after all

If there is one thing Syndicate did exceptionally well was the level of immersion. They didn’t provide you with a “game book”. They gave you an executive manual. You weren’t a player. You were a Syndicate Executive in charge of a team of agents. While in the original Syndicate you monitored them via a blimp in this version it looks like it may shape up to be something different. While in this new version you are more of a mercenary for the Eurocorp syndicate than an exec we can hope that they find a way to make us feel like we are in fact that hired gun.

Whatever Starbreeze does they are entering into a potentially volatile area. Success could push them into heights that were previously unheard of for them, failure could be ultimately destructive. One certainty is that we are all watching with high expectations and heavy interest.

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