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Joyrex-J9

New Syndicate/Project Redlime (PC, PS3, X360)

422 posts in this topic

http://www.edge-onli...yndicate-review

A review of 2 halves.

First, put your nostalgia aside and accept the fact that while this may bear the Syndicate name, it has nothing to do with Bullfrog’s early-’90s tactical cult classic. The story elements are there: this is a future of mega-corporations, not nation states; a time of widespread human enhancement; a society with haves and have-nots. But in 2012, this storyline feels more like a hand-me-down from Deus Ex: Human Revolution than a defining feature of this series. Tactical elements, meanwhile, are almost entirely absent. Strategy in Syndicate boils down to one simple question: in which order are you going to shoot the bad guys?

In terms of its structure and mechanics, this FPS is generic as they come. You have two weapons (plus grenades), recharging health and there’s a rudimentary cover mechanic. You will fight your way through linear levels that are punctuated by boss encounters. You will pull switches and reroute power lines. You will kill heavily armoured, minigun-lugging brutes before turning their firearm on a pack of unfortunates who happen to be lagging a minute or so behind. You will secure objectives before heading for extraction. In other words, you’ll do nothing that you haven’t done before.

You’re unlikely to have done it in this much style, though. Despite a trickle of staff heading off to work at Machinegames during development, there’s still an unmistakably Starbreeze quality to Syndicate. It’s a quality defined by the bobbing head of your corporate agent, Miles Kilo, when he breaks into a run; by the jerkily physical way he hauls himself up ladders at speed; and by the ear-splitting sound of shotgun blasts. No studio captures sheer physical presence in a firstperson avatar like Starbreeze, and in that specific respect Syndicate outclasses everything but Starbreeze’s own Chronicles Of Riddick titles. If you have even a passing interest in shooters, then you may well have stood on the back of a moving train while shooting at a buzzing gunship before, but it hasn’t felt like this.

And unlike the Riddick games, there’s an extra layer of fizzling, crackling technology that’s layered over Kilo’s physical presence. The nano-chips that drive the plot of Syndicate also power its action, providing one of the most elegantly overlaid HUDs since Dead Space, while also offering players a range of ‘breaching applications’ that allow them to temporarily stun or incapacitate foes. Of these, using Backfire will see up to three enemies’ guns explode in their hands, Persuade will turn one enemy to your side before he turns his gun on himself, while Suicide will cause a foe to whip out a grenade and detonate it. But the problem with these apps is that their ultimate ends are too alike – all offer a quickfire way to distract or damage multiple foes, all recharge relatively quickly (albeit at varying speeds) and the occasion will simply never arise where it’s worth choosing between them. The result is that the one element of the game that draws most on the series’ tactical heritage is little more than an extra attack button. Yes, later enemies turn up encased in armour that must be breached and take a little longer to kill, but they’re no more interesting to fight.

It’s left to Kilo’s ability to simultaneously slow down time and see through walls – activated with a tap of the right bumper – to enliven the shooting. And it does, despite the obvious debt to FEAR. Starbreeze wisely throws enough enemies at you that being able to see them coming is a necessity, not a luxury, and dipping in and out of your heightened reflexes gives a genuinely satisfying rhythm to combat. Weapons themselves are punchy, but mostly familiar, although a wall-penetrating assault rifle can be combined with Kilo’s in-built X-ray vision to devastating effect.

Combat aside, there’s little else to hold your interest. The setting is third-hand Blade Runner, and the story is confused. Brian Cox – of Killzone, Bourne and X-Men fame – turns in a typically charismatic performance as your syndicate head, but the plot revels too much and too early on in the moral dubiousness of Kilo’s work, sucking dry the empathy needed to respond to later twists with anything other than a vague sense of curiosity. And while the world has been grittily realised, your route through it is haphazard, with level design frequently steering you into dead ends and locked doors as you try to find your next encounter.

This is less of an issue in the co-op mode, where smaller, tighter levels tend to ensure your four-man team all know where they’re going. Missions are simple fetch quests for the most part, seeing you push into the bases of rival syndicates before emerging, five minutes later, clutching hard drives packed with valuable data. But despite the simple objectives, the metagame provides a genuinely strategic element that’s absent in the campaign, since class choices and wide-ranging upgrade paths give you the scope to craft an agent whose skillset will balance those of your friends. Bulk up the amount of time you can stay in visor mode, for instance, and you’ll become an even more effective sniper. The mission design fails to make allowances for when you bring less than three comrades along, though, necessitating a return trip to bag any remaining drives.

There are times when Syndicate threatens to become a less typical game. Some missions begin as noirish stakeouts, or see you exploring an enemy base while disguised, and it seems for a moment that Starbreeze’s ability to embody players within an avatar might be turned to a more ambitious cause than merely making for extra-thrilling gunplay. But it’s never long before the shooting begins. It’s good shooting, of course, pulled off with the studio’s signature style, but it’s come at the cost of Syndicate’s imagination and ambition. [6]

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It's like the reviewer wrote the beginning and end together, but then thought 'hmmm it is quite fun though' so added the shooting in style paragraph.

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I sincerely don't get why people moan about field of views and that. I remember messing with the field of view in quake and it was like that bit in hot shots with Wall-eye.

Because I don't like being made to feel sick while I play. You had fish eye view because your either doing it wrong or a filthy cheating whore.

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Has the demo disapeared off PSN anyone? I cant seem to find it.

I sincerely don't get why people moan about field of views and that. I remember messing with the field of view in quake and it was like that bit in hot shots with Wall-eye.

You wouldnt sit with your face an inch from your screen? Well its a bit like that.

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I sit about 3 feet from my 46" 3D TV while playing console games. What does this mean for my FOV?

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It affects some people more than others. If, like me, you don't notice it then you don't notice it, but the effect is horrible for those who do. Also, I mostly play on a 20 inch monitor or my laptop screen, and while this means I am close to the screen, it's not a problem on small screens as I understand it.

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I'm playing this on PC hooked up to a huge tv, and it's excellent so far. Bad port? Nonsense.

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Well if you're playing it on a big tv with a controller then a straight unaltered port of the xbox version is exactly what you'd want. The fov will be perfect, the controlls will be perfect, everything folk are complaining about will be a complete none issue for you, surely?

Most pc gamers don't use their pc as a console, though i'd imagine those that just give in and do so have far less headaches :D

I haven't played it myself so i don't know how bad everything really is but they all sound like legitimate complaints.

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The FOV on Skryim was silly as well. It makes it feel like a console game, rather than a pc game. You up it to a comfortable level, you can suddenly see about 20% more of the environment around you.

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ibikni6eoz7aacg2emk.jpg

KABLOOM!

There's a bit early on (when you're heading for the train) where the bloom completely whited out the entire screen for me, a significant distance from the nearest wall.

I am enjoying this. Theme aside, it's more like a slightly naff, faster paced Crysis 2 than any Deus Ex game. With typically bullshit Starbreeze boss fights. It's a completely average guns and superpowers FPS, but the sort of average that I like to spend a weekend playing once or twice a year.

Can we have a dedicated FOV topic, rather than having every single topic derailed by tedious PC guff?

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We pc gamers don't find it exciting either you know, we find it tedious and fucking annoying that we have to keep trying to fix these broken games.

You've just made a post complaining about the overdone bloom there.

If someone who had the game was to come in here and make a post offering a way for pc gamers to turn off the bloom effect via config files or whatever, no doubt you'd be going "gah, bloody hell man, start a bloom thread for your tedious pc guff"

Just ignore it if it doesn't concern or interest you. So long as it's related to the game and concerns some of the people playing it then it's worthy of discussion.

It'd be silly if we had separate threads for all the different console and pc related issues. Separate threads for each game makes a lot more sense.

Eventually, there'll just be a post saying "warning, pc spods, this uns got shitty fov, wait for a fix" and that'll be that, we won't have to spend a page or so debating it and explaining the concept every time.

or maybe developers will remember that the correct horizontal field of view for a pc game at 16:9 aspect ratio is 90-100 degrees and NOT 60 like it is on consoles, whichever comes first :D

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Eventually, there'll just be a post saying "warning, pc spods, this uns got shitty fov, wait for a fix" and that'll be that, we won't have to spend a page or so debating it and explaining the concept every time.

How about we pretend that's already the case?

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After being less than impressed with the demo, I really enjoyed the single-player. It really gives you the feeling of being a cyber-engineered badass, especially the moments when you get the heavy weapons and start carving through hapless goons like a Terminator. This was rental though, don;t know if my feelings would be different if I paid 40 quid for such a short campaign.

Now to try the co-op.

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I can't play this any more. The bloom is too much. It's actually gave me a headache on two separate occasions that I played this. It has to be a bug surely? If it's a design choice then it's one of the stupidest I've seen in recent years.

Jesus Christ! -

s01zakyh6ukls.jpg

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Bit of a curate's egg this. Love the look and the setting, but the gameplay between the shooting sections (which are enjoyably tactical and, dare I say it - even on normal - pretty tough at times) is so funnelled that it reminds me a lot of Mirror's Edge.

Feels like I'm near the end of the campaign, and if I can get it licked tomorrow I'll probably trade it in on Monday rather than bothering with the co-op stuff.

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I give up, they've definently taken it off PSN or I'm blind. I was going to try it then see about buying it. Not anymore!

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Yeah, finished it. Definitely on the short side, but not ridiculously so. Honestly not sure I've got the energy to give the co-op a go.

The game is in a really rough state though. Had three or four hard lockups at various points, and a load of weird scripting glitches - things like the screen going black and audio muting instead of doing the "death" animation. The best one of all was a bit spoiler-ey :

After I defeated Merit at the end, my character flew through the walls into a side room, and started punching thin air until a pool of blood appeared on the floor.  I looked remorsefully at my fists, and at this point I had no idea what was going on - I thought maybe it was some kind of weird Fight Club style ending.  But no, after the animation finished, I wandered outside and found Merit lying there dead.  I think one of his grenades had sent me flying at the same moment as I killed him.  Weird.

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I give up, they've definently taken it off PSN or I'm blind. I was going to try it then see about buying it. Not anymore!

It was a time-limited demo of the online co-op and it has gone from both XBox and PS stores. My brief time with the demo has made me wait for the inevitable £15 price tag it will fall to in a couple of weeks time.

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Coop is the saving grace of this game, been playing it quite a bit, and ignoring the campaign and loving it so far.

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Tried to connect to co-op last night but it wasn't having it. Traded it back to Gamestation for £36, so not too upset about that.

Got me thinking / fantasising - an Avalanche-developed (thinking about the viewpoint of Renegade Ops) XBLA/PSN Syndicate game, much more in the style of the original games. I can dream.

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The Edge review makes this sound like a cross between Mirror's Edge, FEAR 2, and Chronicles of Riddick, i.e. fuck-awesome. It's not going to be that good, obviously, but it sounds like a pretty good egg 'n chips shooter.

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Rented this last night as a mate of mine was fancying coop and I didnt have any spare cash to buy. I must say, without having played the single player at all yet, the coop is quite wonderful indeed. The thing I love and which makes the game for me, is just how fantastic the guns are. The feel of them, the sound of them, the way they rip people apart. It just makes the act of firing the gun a joy. They are loud, they cause a lot of damage and you really feel like a badass mother fucker tearing people down. I don't really care about the mission objectives but just leading me through a level and letting me shoot them guns is great. Love the small submachine gun (UMK I think it's called), reminds me an awful lot of Killzones Helghast SMG.

Anyway if you're a bit of a lover of FPS guns and don't really mind lack of story in coop the games great fun. I'll try the single player in the next few days.

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a way for pc gamers to turn off the bloom effect via config files or whatever

http://donotargue.co...hanced-quality/

BLOOM FIX:

  1. press ctrl+alt+~
  2. enter xr_effectmodels 0

ENHANCED QUALITY:

  1. pressctrl+alt+~
  2. enter xr_adaptivequalitymode 3
  3. enter xr_fxaa 3
  4. enter xr_postaa 3
  5. enter xr_ssao 2
  6. enter xr_ssaogain 0.5

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Holy shit this is some stale and boring crap! I uninstalled the fucker right after I reaching the trainstation and had to endure more of the same mind numbing corridor combat that had proved no challenge whatsoever. It's just so stupid when all you have to do is press the win buttons and not feel engaged in any way. All I literally did during the Horde™ section was running up to baddies and killing them Ninjutsu. That's all I did and all I had to do in order to complete that part of the game. Oh yeah sure I had to squeeze the trigger every now and then but mostly it was just Ninjutsu and the good ol' chip inside yer head that makes you suicide folks left and right. Oh and what about the part before that with the 'puzzle' involving lfts eh? I wonder who came up with that piece of utter brilliance. So instead of just taking, you know a lift to the desired level, why not have you have to painstakingly navigate a shitty vertical corridor and move the lifts from a distance in order to open up new corridors as to not make sense in the slightest?

Also, the graphics suck because bloom.

I see no reason why this game should even at all exist.

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Blimey, that doesn't sound good at all. Have you tried the supposedly saving grace that is the co-op?

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I got this for my birthday (ie. didn't pay for it) and just started (and finished) the single-player over the weekend. It's pretty good assuming:

1) You don't mind that it has nothing at all to do with Syndicate apart from a level in the middle of the Atlantic and a level with a flame-thrower.

2) You don't mind that it is entirely linear.

3) You don't mind that it does nothing original at all.

4) You don't mind bloom.

5) You don't mind slightly rubbish games.

6) You don't mind putting up with that bit detailed above, which is very rubbish.

It's a fun distraction, basically. I'll probably not play it again, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it. Bit of a shame they didn't either create a fresh IP for it, or make it more like Syndicate though.

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I thought this was a very strange game. On the one hand, it seemed incredibly glossy with some beautifully modelled environments, distinctive production design, name cast (Rosatio Dawson and Brian Cox as actors, Richard K Morgan on scriptwriting duties), and lots of nice little touches like the overload spike mechanic, which takes the active reloading mechanic from Gears of War and turns it into an offensive weapon. On the other, you get some incredibly small and shoddy locations, some egregiously repetitive sections, RPG elements that go nowhere, and piss-poor circle-strafe boss fights that go on forever.

It’s a weird mix of intense love and can’t-be-arsed. You get well-written, lovingly detailed background lore coming out of your ears, and then you get a level where you have to fight off rubbish jetbikes from the top of a monorail for an hour. The good ideas are interesting, but I really expected the final game to be a lot more polished, especially given that it’s by Starbreeze – I gather the game was developed in a real hurry, which explains the variable quality, but it seems really self-defeating to put out such a half-arsed product.

Presumably the idea was to do a cheap game quickly, get lots of press from middle-aged editors who remember the original, and then rake in some quick cash.

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