In case any of that was confusing; it's an FPS set in a Dystopian future. You, a gamer of some taste and discernment, must get the idea by now? Surely?
The twist is that Chip that Tim Tucker referred to back in his original review and which is still with us in the new game. It enables your character – called in a Cyberpunk style “Miles Kilo” - to jack-in to the worldwide net.
This global network is – for some reason, probably down to unfettered free market capitalism which has been fettered and then shoehorned in - shared by the three different mega corps (sort of like 1984
written in 1948, think Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia). This means that sometimes you have to hack into an enemy corporation’s bit of it.
That could be tricky and call for some upper brain function. Don't worry about this, it isn't Bioshock
where some thinking is actually required. All the tedious hacking crap is done for you. This gives you some special mind-altering powers (called up with the d-Pad). Yes, once charged up, your special powers can make someone's gun backfire. Or you can make them commit suicide. Or you can make them follow you until death. So, yes, you get a tiny number of the kind of powers that you'd get in Bioshock
only in Syndicate 2012
they take an age to charge up and are next to pointless in the heat of battle.
When I say it's “dull” I don't mean that it looks dull. It doesn't. It looks forgettable. There is seriously not a single environment that, in ten months time, you will be reminiscing to a friend about.
Despite travelling through the environments in the most incredibly linear fashion, and finding yourself bogged down in them as yet another wave of non-descript enemies flings itself at you – it's unmemorable. I mean, surely, spending time in a space with a boss that bifurcates when you shoot him... again... and again... for what feels like hours on end with very little to look at would burn the sight of the place inside your head whether you want it to or not. But nope. It's just a bit dull.
I say that, but I also gave the game to some younger colleagues to have a pop at.
Unburdened by history they went at it firing guns, looking for cover, not really finding cover, realising that you didn't really need to find cover. Standing up and shooting. Then moving on. Then handing me back the controller, smiling a little and returning to their desks to dream of Call of Duty
– someone even mentioned Deus Ex
Old Skool Ending
Basically, what we have here is a run-of-the-mill shooter. It's not offensive but nor is it groundbreaking. In parts it's engaging – some of the bosses are shooty. But for the most part it is deeply, deeply forgettable.
That, to me, is a huge shame. I think it's a shame for Starbreeze who, I like to think, sat down in a bar and discussed delivering a genuine follow-up to what they – as human folks and not simply cyborgs of the mighty Electronic Arts – thought of as a classic game.
Instead what we've got is a game that, while not being awful, is not great. You're not going to be miffed to be given it as a present, put it that way. But nor are you going to be missing out if you never play it.
Plenty of action.
Nothing too buggy.
AI isn't thick as a brick.
Pedestrian narrative style.
Very, very linear.
Dull and predictable.
SPOnG Score: 5/10