We Don’t Work For Sarif – Syndicate

As previously discussed, evolution is a necessary thing.  Both the original Syndicate and its sequel were objective-based point-and-click affairs managed from an isometric view.  Such a game, unless handled very carefully, will not translate well to the console environment.  Numerous RTS titles have failed in spectacular fashion to illustrate this point, so Starbreeze adapted the IP order to allow it to survive.  It has been reinvented in order to not only meet the wants of the gaming masses, but also to approach a beloved IP from a new direction.

And boy, are people pissed about it.

The venom seems to be drawn from two distinct wells.  The first (and loudest) being the purists who are throwing a pitchfork-and-torch party for reinventing Syndicate as an FPS.  Which is surprising when you stop to think, because, y’know, no game has ever been moved from a tactical isometric to first person perspective successfully…  Anyways, Left 4 Dead and Borderlands have both shown four-player co-op in an FPS to be a very viable style of gameplay.  So, why all the hate?  The simple truth is that by moving to an FPS layout, Starbreeze will garner more attention for this reboot than it ever would have, had it kept the original interface and layout.  Immersion is the name of the game, and let’s face facts, you’re not going to get any more immersive than by playing the game from the viewpoint of the character.  FPS is the poison of choice amongst gamers, as well as being familiar ground for the developer.  The logic driving this decision is pretty bulletproof and I, for one, am quite looking forward to the results.

The second issue seems to stem from Syndicate daring to hail from the same cyberpunk genre which spawned Deus Ex.  My take on this is simple – if I wanted to play Deus Ex, I would play Deus ExSyndicate is not Deus Ex, nor should it be considered in the same light.  I submit to you, dear Reader, the fact that Deus Ex was not an FPS; It was an action/adventure game in the vein of Thief or Metal Gear SolidSyndicate is looking to be a tactical run-and-gun FPS with some interesting elements provided via the weapon upgrade system, Dart-6 chip breaching technology (who doesn’t like the idea of making an enemy blow themselves up with a grenade?), and the tasty, tasty frosting (from my perspective), what appears to be a robust multiplayer co-op campaign.  I’m sure there’s more, but Starbreeze and EA have been a bit tight-lipped about specifics.

Now, I empathize with the crowd looking back on the days of Syndicate and Syndicate Wars – I loved those games, too.  The fun to be had in both games with a gun-toting brigade of civilians, the slamming report of the LR Rifle in Wars, the sickly amusing way enemies would scramble about when set ablaze in the original – I could go on at length with the fond memories.  However, times (and markets) change, and Starbreeze is no slouch.  I’m comfortable the IP which provided so much gaming fun is in good hands, and come February many gamers are going to do the same thing I was wont to do nigh on 20 years ago.

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