The year was 1993. Bullfrog Productions, the group that brought you Populous, delivered a game called Syndicate, an isometric RTS with a great sci-fi flair. Now, Starbreeze Studios (The Darkness) and EA are teaming up to bring you the reboot, which adopts the format of a traditional FPS while tossing in plenty of strategic and role-playing elements. In this way, it should probably remind you of the stellar Deus Ex franchise, another futuristic blend of shooting and RPG that critics and gamers have loved for years.
In the year 2069, “business is war.” …not sure how that’s any different from now, but whatever. Three mega-global corporations seek to monopolize the entire planet, but there’s one final piece of the puzzle: the North American market. Whoever ends up with this final lucrative region might have ultimate control, so corporate espionage hits a fever pitch and stealthy assassinations are the norm. Also, the sanctity of civilian life is considered old-fashioned. We step into the shoes of Miles Kilo, Eurocorp’s newest prototype agent, who is perfectly willing to do whatever’s necessary to accomplish his company’s goal.
Miles can obtain upgrades – there are 17 character upgrades in total – that will let him be more effective in the field; this involves everything from weapon enhancement to breach abilities, which is similar to mind hacking. This results in some serious Jedi-esque capabilities that are destined to turn the tide in your favor: as a couple examples, there’s Persuade, which forces a foe to betray his side and join your cause (for only a short time), and Suicide, which is exactly what it sounds like. Such skills should really add some spice to the adventure.
We will earn adrenaline by taking out enemies, and that adrenaline is used in our breaching; the more we kill, the more we can breach. We can also breach machines, but we don’t have to use adrenaline; the cost is free. So if you breach a turret, it’s just going to turn and fire on your opponents and it won’t revert to normal status. The weapons look completely bad-ass, too, as we’ll receive everything from pistols to assault rifles, as well as some fancy, fictional guns that reminds me of “Wanted.” Curving bullets, remember?
Yeah, you’ll be able to do that with a certain weapon in Syndicate. Other action features: sprinting, sliding, jumping, and shin-kicking, which sounds like it hurts. For the most part, the screenshots and early media for this game are awfully promising, and I loved Deus Ex: Human Revolution. If it’s like that, only darker, more brutal, and more action-oriented (which I don’t really mind), I’ll be happy. Also, Starbreeze already proved itself with The Darkness, as far as I’m concerned. That game was great.
Look for Syndicate to arrive on February 21 in North America for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC, and three days later in Europe.
10/20/2011 Ben Dutka