Posts Tagged ‘Ea’

Syndicate Announced – Get the Persuadetrons Ready

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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Star Wars: The Old Republic Pre-Order Information

star wars the old republic sith

Oh how I love to wake up to new information on Star Wars: The Old Republic. It’s like a bright shiny present waiting for me in my email inbox. Even though we have yet to see a release date we have officially released pre-order information for Star Wars: The Old Republic. So here’s what you’re getting:

Star Wars: The Old Republic Standard Edition

  • Early access based on when you pre-order. The order in which you purchase and redeem your pre-order code is the order in which you will gain early access.
  • Color stone to change your weapon effect.

So if you go the standard edition route you get in early and you get a pre-order only weapon upgrade. Not a bad deal. Any time a game says “if you buy now you get to play sooner” you tend to have my interests piqued. However there are still two more versions of the game to pre-order that may appeal more to you.

Star Wars: The Old Republic Digital Deluxe Edition

On top of the bonuses listed in the standard edition of Star Wars: The Old Republic you also recieve

Star Wars: The Old Republic Holo Dancer

Yeah I think this is about all this does.

  • A flare gun – yes this is exactly what it sounds like
  • A Training droid – combat assistance (think Bao-Dur)
  • A HoloDancer – awwww yeah
  • A HoloCam – To record your adventures
  • STAP – Which is a vehicle you can use on-world while in game.

So they aren’t skimping on the version upgrade. It’s nice to see that they are willing to throw some more in game items your way, even if most of them are so-so. The STAP, however, seems like it could help alleviate any tedious walking that may be present. I mean if there’s one thing we hate it’s walking. Sarcasm aside we have all been at that point in an RPG where we just didn’t want to have to travel from one place to another. So this is actually not a bad.

However if you want to pre-order Star Wars: The Old Republic Digital Deluxe Edition you can (as of right now) only do this through Origin.

But wait…there’s more

Star Wars: The Old Republic Collectors Edition

When you pre-order Star Wars: The Old Republic Collectors Edition you get everything listed above and then they just kinda kept throwing more stuff at you. I guess they decided that if you were pre-ordering a game without a release date they better load you up with SWAG to make even a Jedi say “DO WANT”. In addition to everything above you also get:

  • A mouse droid – that comes with you on your adventures
  • Collectors Edition Store – that has more in game items to buy
  • Gentle Giant Darth Malgus statue
  • Collectible metal case for game disks
  • The Journal of Master Gnost-Dural as annotated by Satele Shan
  • The Old Republic galaxy map
  • Custom Security Authentication Key
  • Music of Star Wars: The Old Republic CD
  • High-quality Collector’s Edition box

Did you catch that? They’re giving you a special box. A SPECIAL BOX!! Everyone else get’s theirs in a sack full of sand and assorted giblets. Okay this last one they are just trying to add a little more on to make it seem like they are throwing everything they can at you, but you have to admit they are really throwing a decent amount of goodies at you for pre-ordering.

However this is all done with no actual release date. So while they say “Early Access” in everything listed above since they have no “everyone access” date set this could mean “whenever the hell we feel like letting you in.” I think of it like buying a house. Star Wars: The Old Republic is asking you to buy based on the assumption that it will be ready “eventually”. That doesn’t exactly give me the warm fuzzies but how much more time could it take to complete?

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