More than a shooter

What has us excited: Although the hacking element of Syndicate’s combat seems limited on our first impression, the developers have devised plenty of other ways for your brain chip to alter the game world: environmental puzzles. Nothing on the level of Portal or anything, but small change-of-pace moments when you reach a dead end and must inspect and interact with your surroundings to proceed. During the demo, we had to hack an air conditioning system to freeze and shatter a bulletproof window because the door in front of us was locked. At a different point, a tough room of enemies was made much easier by hacking cryogenic pods to slide into the middle of the floor, where we could then use them for cover. And near the end, while racing to escape a research facility, we hacked away the armor of the flying drones attempting to stop us.

What has us worried: Everything described above was accomplished by simply locating the correct part of the environment and then holding down the hack button for a few seconds. Finding that part isn’t always easy, of course, but we’d still welcome more complex obstacles… ones that require the player to choose where, how and which power is needed. If time dilation is in the game, for example, take a cue from Singularity’s puzzles.

Release date: February 2012

What has us excited: So soon! How often is a major, high-profile game announced and released in the span of five months? No long years of anticipation and unbearable waiting – by the time you’re done with all of 2011’s heavy hitters, Syndicate will be mere weeks away.

 What has us worried: So soon! How often is a major, high-profile game announced and released in the span of five months… unless the publisher doesn’t have enough faith in the product? Rumors have circulated for a while that Syndicate was in the works, but also that it was close to cancellation on multiple occasions. 

Thus far, however, we legitimately like what we’ve played, and the fact that Syndicate is developed by Starbreeze Studios – responsible for the excellent Chronicles of Riddick and The Darkness – is reason enough to continue to be excited. Check back for more coverage soon, including impressions of the game’s four-player co-op.

Sep 29, 2011


  • InFeRnOg - September 30, 2011 11:21 a.m.

    "This is 2011, not 1993, and while we’re still disappointed that EA couldn’t bring back the original series’ gameplay along with its title, we understand – the industry has evolved and Syndicate must evolve with it." Plenty of gamers still love and enjoy strategy games, and pretending that they don't exist or that they're "not contemporary" is really annoying. There is definitely a place for strategy games and there always will be (particularly with the PC crowd). Turning every game into an FPS is NOT the answer, and adopting this view is frankly disturbing and makes me worry for the future of gaming.
  • GamesRadarCharlieBarratt - September 30, 2011 2:49 p.m.

    "We're still disappointed." I didn't say we agreed with the choice to make Syndicate a shooter, just that we understand it from EA's point of view. I loved strategy games in 1993, continue to love them today, and wish the new Syndicate could be more like the old Syndicate. But it's not, and rather than continue to lament that fact in preview after preview, I decided it'd be more productive to analyze the game on its own merits, as what it actually is instead of what it could have been.
  • HankVenture - September 30, 2011 5:30 a.m.

    looks like a Deus Ex setting with crysis gameplay style
  • Redeater - September 30, 2011 4:34 a.m.

    I loved the original and I would be a little more worried had Deus Ex not been such a fantastic game. This game looks like they are taking a lot of points from it. That being said if they mess this up I will be very upset.
  • pin316 - September 29, 2011 11:29 p.m.

    only one of these that I'd be worried about from your description is the brutality - the contrast in the orig between hardcore/humour was excellent, and something that i would like to see in the reboot to ensure it has personality. as for the others - you already said you know there are other hacks of different types; the devs came out and basically said "bladerunner is one of our biggest influences"; i hope they get the balance right too but it's not really a cause for concern; and it's been touted for long enough that it's not really 'so soon'.

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