REVIEW: Syndicate [X360]

Lets be honest for a moment, the FPS has needed a tune up for a while. Between the endless waves of simple AI and storylines with no real depth, we have all come to expect very little of the single player component. Consumers continue to spend whatever it takes to keep the Call of Duty experience going, and players throw sixty hours into a single achievement in Battlefield. Meanwhile, the art of the single-player FPS falls to the side with little to no thought on its evolution or opportunities. Well, Starbreeze Studios believes it still has its place, and the developer has returned to show the world how to make FPS relevant yet again.

For those that don’t know Starbreeze, shame on you. They made both of the Chronicles of Riddick games and the original Darkness comic book adaptation. Each one was amazing, and the company has kept itself fresh and different with every step they have made – of course Syndicate is no different.

Players jump into the shoes of Miles Kilo, an super advanced security officer for global super company, Eurocorp . These security “Agents” have the brutal job of maintaining the standing of their companies in a future where the world of technology is god and the words “Hostile Takeover” will usually involve explosives. Digital technology is now connected straight into the brain and Agents are gifted with the power to hack into the network around them and use chips in lower level users and computers to carry out their dirty work. The story is supported by good performances from its voice cast including Brian Cox, Michael Wincott and Rosario Dawson. Each adding a little more weight to the experience and create the feeling of working for a cutthroat company.

Apart from the statement about technology and industry giants, the setup allows players to feel like a badass from the moment the game starts. Everything is super streamlined and levels don’t feel like they have a start or an end but are more like a day in the life of an agent. Gamers will be treated to hours of heart-pumping shoot outs, super tough boss fights and an array of tools and weapons along the way to dispose of enemies.

Story aside, the main attraction for this game is the return to skill based FPS combat. Players will be scored on accuracy, skill and speed, giving plenty of room for replayability to gamers who are into perfecting their craft.

[img_big]center,8443,2011-11-01/syndicate_screenshots_coop_final03-watermarked.jpg,Syndicate[/img_big]

Syndicate truly is a challenge, and will force even the hardcore players to put their A-game into the most basic fights. AI is intelligent and will team up, move from cover to cover, flank and corner you if your guard is down even for a second. Plus, the use of mini-bosses with shields and multiple health bars leaves players cowering behind cover waiting for breaks in gun fire.

Overall, the game delivers an almost flawless experience. For some, the story will fade behind the heart-pumping action, but the environments are well designed and it offers an interesting look into the idea of a world run by business and not governments. Syndicate is the game to remind us all that FPS still has a lot of room for growth. With the industry at its most generic, Syndicate gives players an FPS that puts skill and story first and give enough gameplay through single player and co-op to stand up without clich├ęd online multiplayer. Syndicate is a must buy for an fans of Hardcore gaming and worth every dollar of your hard earned cash.

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