As an author of over 80 video game strategy guides during the past 16 years, I often get asked about what it is like to write these guides and if all jobs are the same. I always tell gamers that while some titles are similar, most are unique and offer a challenging experience. That's why I was very excited to write the Syndicate Prima Official Game Guide, because Syndicate is one such title.
Syndicate is based on a 1993 game which featured real time tactical combat. However the latest incarnation of the series takes the form of a first person shooter where players take control of an Agent for one of the major syndicates—EuroCorp. While I have played and written about lots of first person shooters, I always am looking for something different with a new twist or challenge. Syndicate fits that bill. Not only do you have access to lots of cool weapons, you also can use “breaches”. Since most people in 2069 have chips implanted in their brains, you can use your chip to affect their chips. Known as breaching, you can cause enemies to commit suicide or to turn to your side and start killing other enemies for you. There is also a breach that allows you to cause enemy weapons to malfunction temporarily.
While writing the strategy guide for Syndicate, I discovered that these breaches and other chip-enhanced abilities allow players to use completely new tactics when fighting against enemies. In fact, as I progressed through the game, the more I used these abilities, the more I appreciated the options they provided for players to experiment. For example, I learned that when using the Persuade breach to turn an enemy to my side, it is best to select the enemy with the biggest weapon so you get more bang for your buck. On the other hand, when facing a few enemies hiding behind cover, a quick use of the Backfire breach causes their weapons to malfunction which inflicts some damage to the enemies and forces them to move away from behind cover—giving me a chance to take them out. If that were not enough, activating a tactical overlay provided by your chip lets you see enemies behind cover and also seems to slow down time as all of your reactions are sped up.
Lots of games have collectibles which players must find to earn achievements or trophies. Syndicate has two different types—holographic business cards and subliminal propaganda which can only be seen when using the tactical overlay mode. As I searched for all of these collectibles, I realized that not only were these a challenge to the game, they were a vital part of the storyline as they helped flesh out the world of 2069 where global corporations have become quasi-governments with the power and ability to conduct war against one another. So while playing the game, be sure to look for all the collectibles and take the time to read the bios and reports.
Unlike other first person shooters, Syndicate does not offer competitive multiplayer. Instead, you can play through a nine-mission cooperative campaign with up to four players. When the briefing for each coop mission states four players are recommended, it is telling the truth. I first tried one of the missions solo, which you can do if you want, and it lasted all of 30 seconds before I was dead. The cooperative missions are literally cooperative. You can heal and revive (reboot) other players when they take damage or go down. Plus, it is important to create a team with different types of weapons. While a team needs some players with submachine guns or assault rifles to get in close, it is also important in most missions to take along a sniper or heavy weapon agent for support. As players progress through the campaign, they earn upgrades to their chips providing new abilities and types of breaching. This ability to customize your agent makes coop games even more addictive. While writing the strategies for these nine missions, I played with a team and we all had a great time trying new tactics and abilities as we defeated some bosses that require a team working together effectively in order to take down.
Since I have played lots and lots of first person shooters, I always enjoy something new that offers unique challenges and opportunities—plus the need to develop and write about new tactics. That is one of the reasons writing the strategy guide for Syndicate was a lot of fun. Plus the coop missions provided some great experiences with a team of other players.
Be sure to check out Syndicate and get the Syndicate Official Game Guide to enhance your experience and help you get the most out of the game.