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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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In a move the resulted in ChuckLez and I coming very close to holding hands and jumping up and down like school children shrieking with unbridled joy and glee. The news that it would be coming to consoles as well as PC’s was exciting enough, but now the news that it will feature cross platform play has everyone at Polish the Console excited and talking a little pregame smack. That’s right ChuckLez, you’re gonna get yer ass kicked in an FPS by a console jokey. HOW’S IT FEEL?!?! Before we go more into it check out the trailer below.
Now it should be pointed out that you’re not going to be getting an all new offering. They are going to be beefing up the visuals to some of the old maps as well as including a few new ones as well as some new game modes. So those of you who haven’t played in a while may want to fire it back up and get ready for carnage.
However the inclusion of cross platform play is something we have been wanting out of a video game for years. Let’s face it when we can all play together we all win. Counter Strike: Global Offensive can help to bridge the gap of fanboys, platform debates, and elitism by just saying “now you can all play together”. It’s somewhat fitting that Counter Strike is the game that helps grow the cross platform play given the impact that it had on multiplayer FPS in general. But now the question that you’re undoubtedly asking yourself is “What is new in Counter Strike: Global Offensive? What’s the Same?”
Bomb/Diffuse mode is making a comeback which excites me because that was the only one I was ever good at. Don’t know why I just never got the hang of anything else. Hostage mode is also making a comeback in Counter Strike: Global Offensive.
However they are also bringing in a Casual game mode which will appeal to the new comers. This is a mode where you can buy whatever weapons you want each round and not worry about the cost. In this mode voice chat is open to all teams and spectators. ChuckLez heard this and began salivating. It was a little awkward.
Dust, Inferno, Aztek, Nuke and Train are all making a comeback in Counter Strike: Global Offensive and they are saying that there are changes ranging from minor to major. What these changes are this stage are up in the air but we do know that the overall layouts are being left untouched. Perhaps a level of interactivity will be added in addition to a visual overhaul of them. Once we know more and can get ChuckLez to stop polishing his mouse and muttering while glaring at everyone we’ll keep you in the loop.
What interested me most about the new weapons and equipment was that armor was no longer purchased but given at the start of every round. I mean, I understand, this is a way to help level the playing field and I’m totally okay with it. I was just quite surprised by it. With this we’re also getting some new weapons like a heavy machine gun, new pistols and a new shotgun. But that doesn’t mean the current standards are going unchanged. Submachine guns are getting a damage increase while pistols’ damage is getting taken down a peg or two.
But then there is the equipment. We get a decoy grenade, molotov cocktails, and taser and some interesting Bomb Diffusal Kit changes. This is no longer a buyable item. It is given at the start of the match and is dropped on death and has to be picked up by another teammate. This will surely add a more interesting dynamic to the match.
They aren’t just stopping at making the visuals get an improvement. The biggest complaint of PC gamers is that FPS console’s don’t allow for the control and precision of a PC keyboard and mouse. Well it seems that Counter Strike: GO will. Since the PS3 supports USB keyboard and mouse use Valve is looking to capitalize on this to help make things even between platforms. While few games in the PS3 lineup actually cater to this capability it’s nice to see Valve taking advantage of it.
However they aren’t just stopping there. They are going to offer numerous variations on the standard controller setup for the PS3 as well ass offer Playstation Move support for Counter Strike: GO. This adds a whole new element of precision and speed to the gameplay as well as making it more accessible to a broader range of users. Well played Valve, well played.
In any event Counter Strike: Global Offensive will be out on PC, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3 in early 2012.
Perhaps I’m jaded or perhaps I’m negative but with all the hype surrounding Bulletstorm I never bought into it. It was a little too talked up. I thought to myself “It’s all marketing. It is not possible for this game to live up to what everyone is saying about it. No kidding, the people that make the game think it’s great.” Then the demo was released so I thought I would give it a shot and I downloaded it. I played it once, I deleted it, and I moved on. Bulletstorm was absolutely all hype.
"Don't let my patchwork exterior I'm really quite the singer."
Finally the release day came and I got my copy of Bulletstorm. While I waited in the morning and early afternoon for my copy to arrive I checked what others had to say and it was doing well. Very very well. So well that I started to feel a small twinge of excitement for its arrival. When I started playing I realized that my initial assessment was spot on. Bulletstorm did not meet the hype. It took the hype kicked it with a shining golden boot and then proceeded to dance on it while singing a jaunty tune. It so flat out beat all of the hype about it that the hype is currently in critical condition and Bulletstorm faces a lengthy sentence for “effing awesome FPS”. Odds are that it is not remorseful and will not get time off for good behavior.
The controls for Bulletstorm are about as tight as tight could be. There is nothing that feels out of place, nothing that feels like it needed to be tweaked. Bulletstorm came out of the gate kickin’ for the balls and landed solid blows each and every time. The controls are precise, common sense, and make the game wonderfully fun to play. Whether you are using the leash to bring a person in, kicking them onto a cactus, or adjusting the flight path of your bullet from a sniper rifle, Bulletstorm’s controls leave nothing to be desired.
Bulletstorm’s controls get a 5 out of 5.
THIS is how you play Bulletstorm
There are two ways to play Bulletstorm, the right way and the wrong way. If you play it the wrong way you will hate it. You will find it tedious and boring on all levels. When you play it the right way then you will see why Bulletstorm is outstanding. The game isn’t built on the premise of run, shoot, run, shoot, run, shoot some more, duck, cover, shoot, repeat. This breaks the formula for first person shooters with use of their Skillshots. The more Skillshots you perform, the more points you rack up. The more points you rack up, the more upgrades you get.
But you can’t keep using the same one over and over. You have to unlock them for higher point values. You have to use them smartly because if you chain them together you get more points. More points, more upgrades, more fun. Bulletstorm is not a video game where you can merely run into a room and clear it and move on. You have to quickly evaluate the situation and move swiftly to find the best way to clear the area. While some of the enemies might be somewhat formulaic in how you take them down, the game itself never is.
Bulletsorm’s Gameplay gets a 5 out of 5
In a word, gorgeous. Every level has clearly been designed to provide as much beauty or filth as possible. This is an overrun vacation resort planet you are on, after all. It should damn well better be picturesque. Bulletstorm does this perfectly. From the scenic views, to the cityscapes, to the flowing rivers, to the absolutely gorgeous way that the water sprays up Bulletstorm delivers in every possible way.
But the views aren’t all there is. The characters and weapons are exquisitely thought out and designed as well. When you wrap someone up with a flail you can see them struggle to get free. If you aim for the arms or legs you can see the damage being inflicted on the arms or the legs. When you overload your weapon it glows a very angry hot glow and as you watch it cool down you watch the weapon slowly work itself down from its fury.
Bulletstorm’s graphics get a 5 out of 5
The story takes a break from the “space marine’ trend and puts you in the boots of a space pirate who was formerly a space marine. The reasons for this are something you will have to discover for you own. The story for Bulletstorm could very easily have been its downfall. However they didn’t leave the story in its own world breaking from the action to explain to you why you are doing what you are doing. They fully integrated it into the gameplay itself. When you’re in a firefight you can hear the interactions of all the characters. The people you surround yourself with engage one another while you’re working your way through the world in a way that is both downright hysterical and believable.
It’s these interaction that really help keep you motivated, interested, and ultimately laughing your ass off with the colorful expletives and outstandingly crude metaphors.
Bulletstorm’s Story gets a 5 out of 5
The scores don’t lie. Bulletstorm isn’t your run of the mill first person shooter. It so surpasses everything that’s been done before we just have to shoot the wad on it. Bulletstorm gets a 5 out of 5 for not only being absolutely mind blowingly amazing but for also restoring our faith in hype.