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  1. #1
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    Explain Syndicate for me

    What with Satellite Rain news today (which looks lovely and I have no bad comments about), and clearly being a spiritual sequel to Syndicate makes me ask one question - Wasn't Syndicate a bit rubbish?

    Now it may have been that I was about 8 at the time, and I was playing it on a Megadrive so that's clearly not ideal, but I remember the whole game being pretty obtuse and, well, dull.

    The mission breifings were vauge and unhelpful, and the in-game objective marker was pretty opaque and not that accurate. Walking inside buildings was a royal pain since you couldn't see the hidden internal walls, which meant navigating up internal stairs you couldn't see to get to the next area. The tight field of view meant that most enemies would shoot and kill you before you had even seen them. When you did see someone usually you were out-gunned, and your accuracy was terrible leading to lots and lots of spray-and-pray. Combat had no thought or skill, just lots of luck.

    Cars were death traps. You'd almost certainly run yourself over getting either in or out.

    The whole out-game person managing and weapons research was a neat idea, but again horribly obtuse and utterly opaque as to what any of it actually did. Most of the time you're just doing tedious inventory management making sure your squad doesn't try and attempt a mission without guns.

    Trying to get your men to pick up items from the ground or bodies was an exercise in pure frustration. Occasionally you'd get a rare drop like a flamethrower, then promptly set your entire crew on fire.

    Yeah, it had a nice atmosphere and looked stylish at the time. And gathering a huge mob of civilians via the Persuadatron was an amusing distraction, but it didn't really feel like a proper, finished game to me.

    What am I missing? Explain to me where the fun was that I missed out on. :)

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrangyTang View Post
    What with Satellite Rain news today (which looks lovely and I have no bad comments about), and clearly being a spiritual sequel to Syndicate makes me ask one question - Wasn't Syndicate a bit rubbish?
    Syndicate was a Sim, sandbox game.

    They had a lot of emergent behaviours. It was possible to level the whole citie with satellite attacks, or do some truly weird shit, like persuade half the town then use that horde to kill a scientist.

    Syndicate planted on me the desire to own a "gauss canon" ( game version of a rocketlauncher ) so strongly that I hope I don't die without firing one in real life :D

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by OrangyTang View Post
    Wasn't Syndicate a bit rubbish?
    No, for it's time it was beautiful, inventive and bloody amazing. It's still great today.

    Quote Originally Posted by OrangyTang View Post
    The mission breifings were vauge and unhelpful, and the in-game objective marker was pretty opaque and not that accurate. Walking inside buildings was a royal pain since you couldn't see the hidden internal walls, which meant navigating up internal stairs you couldn't see to get to the next area. The tight field of view meant that most enemies would shoot and kill you before you had even seen them. When you did see someone usually you were out-gunned, and your accuracy was terrible leading to lots and lots of spray-and-pray. Combat had no thought or skill, just lots of luck.
    I can answer this whole mass of text by answering the last sentence. No, that wasn't it, a game doesn't suck because you don't get it... ;)
    The combat is very tactical and you have to really plan your moves before and during missions. And if you haven't planned out your agent upgrades and weapons well before a missions, and if you don't manage their stims during the mission it'll probably seem like this to you. But if you have the apropriate upgrades, the right weapons and manage their stims well, no enemy can shoot your agents before your agents can shoot them.

    Quote Originally Posted by OrangyTang View Post
    The whole out-game person managing and weapons research was a neat idea, but again horribly obtuse and utterly opaque as to what any of it actually did. Most of the time you're just doing tedious inventory management making sure your squad doesn't try and attempt a mission without guns.
    You do realize the game came with a manual right?

    Quote Originally Posted by OrangyTang View Post
    Trying to get your men to pick up items from the ground or bodies was an exercise in pure frustration.
    Yeah you... click... on the item and the agents... pick it up. It's such a retro design decision it seems frankly archaic these days :p

    Basically you admit you played a very deep and complex tactical PC game, on a console, at a young age, without reading the manual. And somehow you think the game was rubbish. Buy the GoG version, play with a mouse, STUDY the manual, LEARN the game, then tell me it's rubbish :)

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrangyTang View Post
    Now it may have been that I was about 8 at the time, and I was playing it on a Megadrive so that's clearly not ideal, but I remember the whole game being pretty obtuse and, well, dull.
    Folks, OrangyTang is talking about the Megadrive(Genesis) Version. The console versions were significantly worse than the PC Version to be honest. It was their attempt to translate an action strategy game into something controlled by a gamepad. The controls were bad and you'd spend most of the mission trying to actually aim at the right target, wrestling that auto-aim, all while constantly taking hits. Want to take out that rocket launcher guy? Better hope your auto-aim targets him and not one of the dozen civvies nearby...
    The view was also incredibly zoomed in and led to a lack of vision and battlefield control.

    So if you've got trouble understanding Syndicate, consider playing the PC Version. It's basically a completely different game.

  5. #5
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    Cheers guys, from this and poking around the internet it seems the 16-bit versions were *really* gimped. theForged's description pretty much mirrors my experience. I also remember the manual being next to useless.

    Gog has both the original game (+expansion) and Syndicate Wars, which I gather is a 3d sequel. Which one would be better to pick up?

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Smashbox's Avatar
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    I like the first one better, personally.

  7. #7
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    SYNDICATE:

    + =

    Just do it.
    Last edited by Spacewalk; 15-03-2014 at 09:37 AM.

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus coldvvvave's Avatar
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    To be honest I didn't even know Syndicate was as popular or even known before the announcement of the FPS game. Suddenly outrage more vocal then when XCOMFPS was announced. From what I remember of Syndicate it wasn't a hidden gem, it wasn't some kind of underground masterpice. It was another early 90's game that didn't know what to do with itself. I was totally shocked when people started to refer to it as an "open world tactical strategy". Yeah, maybe if it worked properly it could have been. But minigun trains worked and camping in some corner worked, while splitting the agents and doing something "tactical" was IIRC pointless. Music was cool and made lasting impression. Actually, I think I still listen to EBM because Syndicate had some EBM-like soundtrack.

    Du-du-du-du-dun... dun-du-du-du.
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  9. #9
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    Personally, I wouldn't call it "open world tactical strategy". I've always played it like a bit of an objective based action game, that allowed a multitude of approaches to a situation. The strategy element is a bit thin in Syndicate and I remember it being quite screwed up in the sequel. I think time was completely detached from actual mission duration or something like that in Syndicate Wars? Been some time. But it basically meant you had no way to properly plan ahead. Anyways, concerning Minigun Trains and similar, that didn't work for long in Syndicate due to the escalating conflict. The sequel escalated even quicker.

  10. #10
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    I loved Syndicate and Syndicate Wars, but they aren't some eternal gems or anything. They had excellent music, atmosphere as well as wonderful maps and I enjoyed them immensely. But generally, there were your cyborg dudes, lots of enemy cyborg dudes and awesome guns to massacre them. It was a simple, polished and fun, but it did not cure cancer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tei View Post
    Syndicate was a Sim, sandbox game.

    They had a lot of emergent behaviours. It was possible to level the whole citie with satellite attacks, or do some truly weird shit, like persuade half the town then use that horde to kill a scientist.
    First, you are talking about Syndicate Wars. Second, it wasn't a sim and there weren't a lot of emergent behaviors. You could destroy everything, sure, and brainwash people, maybe shoot some paramedics but it was all it was to it. It was excellent for what it was, but let us not pretend it was something else.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BadManiac View Post
    The combat is very tactical and you have to really plan your moves before and during missions.
    That's how everybody remembers it, but have you played the original lately? Gear up agents, stand in corner, wait for everybody to come at you, gun them down. It sure was entertaining, but Syndicate being very tactical is one of the great myths of PC gaming culture.

    Give me four agents carrying miniguns and gauss throwers and I'm a happy camper, though.
    - If the sound of Samuel Barber's "Adagio For Strings" makes you think of Kharak burning instead of the Vietnamese jungle, most of your youth happened during the 90s. -

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by c-Row View Post
    That's how everybody remembers it, but have you played the original lately? Gear up agents, stand in corner, wait for everybody to come at you, gun them down. It sure was entertaining, but Syndicate being very tactical is one of the great myths of PC gaming culture.
    I always remembered it like that. Fun massacre, not a chess match. In the first syndicate the best tactic was to never split your fellows, you just walk around like some eight-legged cyber-spider made of miniguns.

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    I wouldn't claim it was tactical. Once spotted, the AI would just run directly at you. Get some height and they'd pretty much mill around underneath like ants. Still a game I enjoyed immensely at the time though.

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    Now it may have been that I was about 8 at the time, and I was playing it on a Megadrive so that's clearly not ideal, but I remember the whole game being pretty obtuse and, well, dull.
    The older me (or there abouts) totally disagrees with you. But then again, it is a much more mature game, and I started with the sequel on the Playstation.
    It is a technical difference, but's there none the less.

  15. #15
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    The megadrive was my introduction to the game - totally disappointed after completing it, but then saw what it should have been on the PC and forgave it

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by c-Row View Post
    That's how everybody remembers it, but have you played the original lately?
    Iäm playing it right now actually, play a mission here and there since a few weeks back when I got it on GoG. So yeah... I have played the original lately. And when I say it's tactical, I mean it's tactical.

    I never said you couldn't break it, like what you described, but you can play it very tactical as well.

  17. #17
    Wasn't at all tactical.
    I finished it (on Amiga 1200) by wandering around in a tight group flame throwing everything that moved.
    I loved it just like that though. Burn! Mwahahahahaaa.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by BadManiac View Post
    Iäm playing it right now actually, play a mission here and there since a few weeks back when I got it on GoG. So yeah... I have played the original lately. And when I say it's tactical, I mean it's tactical.

    I never said you couldn't break it, like what you described, but you can play it very tactical as well.
    I have it in a DOS box I can play in DOS box, which I might play... NM. What I mean is, I should fire up my copy some day soon and see how it plays. :)
    It is a technical difference, but's there none the less.

  19. #19
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    Have to agree. I quite liked Syndicate Wars, though it was hard as hell unlike the first game or even it's expansion (which was much harder). SW felt even more cyberpunk than the first which goes in it's favor somewhat, and there are some really damn good tense moments in it. Where it suffers is that whilst there are 2 campaigns, the game still ends in the same last level, so ultimately the same result occurs no matter which you go. Unlike the 1st game, I couldn't for the life of me beat SW`s final level without cheats either. So annoying.

    But for me it will always be the first game. 4 agents all augmented up, filled up on adrenalin and waiting for the enemy syndicate agents to start pouring in with that awesome music playing. Man I love that music.
    Last edited by icemann; 20-03-2014 at 08:42 AM.

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