Fishing For Chips: Syndicate’s Tech Wars

By Adam Smith on December 16th, 2011 at 9:53 am.

He is on the verge of exploding himself for your pleasure.

Last time out, Syndicate was showing off its guns and I don’t remember seeing a single flamethrower, which made me grumble in a manner befitting a madman denied the ability to burn the flesh off his enemies. The latest piece of video advertainment is all about the power of technology, which allows agents to persuade their opponents to commit suicide and attack their allies, among other ethically questionable activities. It’s certainly far more interesting than the guns. The removal of chips from peoples’ skulls to gain experience is described as a “critical mission objective”, which is something the same mad part of me that wants a flamethrower approves of heartily. Watch between the tiny gaps in your cybernetically augmented HUD below.

There’s a lot crammed into those two minutes, including some footage that’s familiar from other videos and has been repurposed to illustrate different points. My thought at the moment is that having all these powers is fine and dandy, but whether planting a virus, a suicidal impulse or a bullet in the brain, it all seems to come down to popping peoples’ heads as quickly as possible. Nothing directly wrong with that but let’s have some nuance in our head-popping, if you please.

, , .

32 Comments »

  1. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    But will it blend?

  2. jellydonut says:

    Exactly. The video is all ‘oooh kill’, ‘oooh DAMAGE bonus, oooh’ without any kind of purpose behind it which makes it seem quite dull.

  3. Ruffian says:

    I am going to have to agree. So far it seems to have a cool setting and style and all but all the glitz and cyberpunk neatness in the world are for naught without interesting motivation. we’ll see though, it’s early yet to be passing judgement.

    • Kollega says:

      “Cyberpunk neatness” is a bit of a misnomer, don’t you think? I know people have different tastes, but i personally think that “cyberpunk neatness” dosen’t and can’t exist. Because there’s no way grim-and-gritty cyberpunk can be truly neat in any meaningful way.

      /pedantry

    • BrendanJB says:

      @Kollega: Yeah… except neat doesn’t just mean “tidy/organized”. It can be used as a description for something being good/excellent/pleasant.

  4. CaspianRoach says:

    But why would I want to wait for progressbar to fill to kill a person if I can just shoot him in the head with a gun? Seems overly complicated.

    Especially since I need to point my crosshair onto a person to have him “hacked”. If i’m already targeting him why not go the extra meter and just press the left mouse button?

    So far it looks like a situation similar to AssCreed 2+. You have a ton of different weapons to use but a single hidden blade will do you just fine for the course of practically the whole game. If the tool is not needed is there even a point for it to be included?

    • jellydonut says:

      The hacking can be used for stronger enemies, turrets, etc, in which case it’s more useful. they’ve shown that in earlier clips.

    • bill says:

      Yeah. You have to wait for the progress bar to fill up. THEN shoot them. It’s much more fun.

    • DocSeuss says:

      Er, it looks like you can shoot people whenever you want…

  5. cafe says:

    Is this “grey everything out and hightlight the enemies in orange” some kind of new “feature” in video games… I mean giant scopes, one hit kills, this orange mode… jeez, every normal shooter seems hardcore compared to this!
    I mean there had to be some research or something showing that making everything super easy equals in the most fun.. or why are developers doing this?

  6. Bostec says:

    This don’t look to good. Whats up with the guns taking up half of the screen? Utterly ridiculous.

  7. Unaco says:

    “I don’t remember seeing a single flamethrower, which made me grumble in a manner befitting a madman denied the ability to burn the flesh off his enemies.”

    Quit the f*ckin grumbling, and watch this then…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSUifTko0cQ

    1:20 in there’s a Flamethrower. 19 Weapons, 87 Attachments and 25 Upgrades.

    • Blackcompany says:

      So…131 options, 128 of which will be completely unnecessary in order to finish the game.
      .
      Got it.

    • sneetch says:

      You can complete most shooters with a single weapon these days so I’m not seeing that as a huge drawback. Anyway, surely variety is the spice of life?

      This looks no worse than most other shooters these days and a lot more interesting than some. I don’t understand why some people seem to believe that this should be the game to reinvent the FPS wheel and then bash it for adding unneccessary features.

      We shall see, if the game can provide an interesting story/mission structure I’ll give it a shot.

    • DocSeuss says:

      You sound like Bioware. “Well, since very few people actually finished non-human noble origins in Dragon Age, we’re going to cut out that feature completely.”

      Look, I could beat STALKER with just my first pistol. Does that mean I have to? Does it mean that GSC should have cut ALL of the game’s guns? No. That’s silly.

      What about Battlefield? Why don’t we just remove all the weapons so everyone has a pistol. After all, they can kill each other with just pistols, right? Surely we don’t need all these classes and extra equipment and weapons and things!

      I think I can reasonably assume that you would not demand STALKER cut all but one of its guns or Dragon Age cut all but one of its origins in order to… well, I’m not actually sure why you seem to think Syndicate doesn’t need its other guns.

      What if I’m a player who likes up close combat? Give me a shotgun. What if I prefer range? Sniper. Maybe I like to provide cover from a medium range while pounding people with grenades? Assault rifle w/grenade attachment.

      These things might not be NECESSARY to completing the game, but I can list very few games where, aside from arbitrary rules (“oh, don’t step on the sand, because it will summon instakill monsters, so we are forcing you to use this gravity gun!”), more than one or two weapons were necessary to complete it.

      Making that argument is… well, fucking stupid.

  8. Monkey says:

    How remarkably average

  9. Julhelm says:

    It certainly looks more like a 2002-era shooter than MW3 or BF3.

  10. MrThingy says:

    I’m immensely excited at the prospect of not playing this.

  11. Optimaximal says:

    Despite this looking like a very technically accomplished but increasingly boring game, I don’t think it’s fair to call it out for being all about the shooting. Syndicate was always *all* about the shooting, even though the context is horribly different, in a bad way.

  12. Premium User Badge The Sombrero Kid says:

    sigh

  13. Blackcompany says:

    Was it a good video? I couldn’t see the game for the gun getting in the way.

  14. deadly.by.design says:

    All this does is make the enemies look dumber, video by video.

  15. roryok says:

    oh you guys are all so negative. give it a chance already

  16. Synesthesia says:

    what in god’s name is up with that hud? I can barely see my generic weapon.

    • Shooop says:

      More importantly what is that thing in the very center and why isn’t my gun covering at least 80% of it? Outrageous.

  17. Rider on the Storm says:

    Sigh, this isn’t Syndicate. It’s only Syndicate by name. It’s a fucking FPS, a genre that is ten a penny these days.

  18. Navagon says:

    The fact that they’re using these videos to sell the game is pretty damning. It’s one thing to see user youtubes illustrating various bugs. But these things are supposed to be selling the game. They’re supposed to be on the game’s side. All it seems to amount to is combat and the combat sucks.

    Don’t get me wrong, even as a fan of the originals I’d be quite happy to have a first person Syndicate. Even something like a cyberpunk Rainbow Six would do me fine. But this is more like DNF in that it doesn’t have any of the advantages of its old predecessors or any of the new tricks exhibited in more recent titles. It occupies a deservedly neglected middle ground known as mediocrity.

  19. DocSeuss says:

    It looks cool, it looks fast, and it looks like it might be fun. It looks like it’s offering more than the average run and gun shooter experience. It’s Starbreeze, so that’s a great thing.

    …but…

    Do I feel like paying $60 for it? Not so sure–Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the other cyberpunk shooty game that people bitched about (but then it ended up being amazing other than the boss battles), was worth $60 because I spent a good 30some hours on it, and the final level reminded me of System Shock 2. I’ll probably replay it, even. It had a lot of ways to do things, tons of great content, and one of the most satisfying shotguns (they need to tweak the refire rate by a few milliseconds, though) I’ve used in years.

    Do I feel like paying $60 for this on Origin? Pretty much a definite no.

    It seems to have a lot going for it, but I can’t shake this feeling of unease…

    Also, they haven’t said whether or not it’s smart in the way the original Syndicate games apparently were. Does it offer that level of depth? I haven’t heard one way or the other.

    For the people bitching about the game just being a FPS (and FPSes aren’t as common as people seem to think, they’re just higher profile due to the greater demand; as an FPS fan, I’ve felt STARVED for good FPSes since 2007) and somehow equating that with stupidity (congratulations, elitist Adventure gamers from 1993, you are still alive and kicking!)… I’d encourage you to pick up a copy of Syndicate, FRAPS some footage, and cut together an exciting trailer.

    Oh, right, you can’t, because the gameplay actually LOOKS really boring, just like X-Com.

    When someone’s trying to market a game, they have to make it look exciting, which means they have to use footage of all the bits that definitely look exciting. If I was making, say, a STALKER trailer, I’d show a bunch of gunplay and anomalies eating people, not trudging around trading, talking to guys at campfires, and throwing bolts ahead of you while you hope to pick up an artifact.

    While all of that is integral to the STALKER experience, the shooty bits make for better trailers. Please stop ridiculing games based on the amount of action in their trailers and try to do some reading about the games themselves.