back to article Syndicate

Cyberpunk's lasting appeal is often attributed to its familiar tropes: dystopian near-future settings, rapid technological advancements, massive societal upheaval and, of course, alienated loners living off-the-grid. But it's not the conventions that sustain the genre, but its allegories. Syndicate Rooftop rampage They …


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  1. jai


    I was really looking forward to a reboot or modernisation of Syndicate. the original was endless fun, back in the day, and surely with today's graphics and techniques it would be a no brainer to produce a modern day classic

    but when i heard they were moving it to FPS, I lost interest as I just knew it''d end up the way this review describes it. such a shame, was really looking forward to a squad based rts

    1. Stewart Cunningham

      Re: predictable

      Totally agree; I would have preferred a basic tarting up of the original, rather than this 'me too' title.

      The gameplay was quite advanced, and apart from the graphics it dates quite well (I complete the amiga version again about a year ago)

      There is plenty of scope for enhancing the original, but staying true to it's nature, even for the console mob.

      1. Audrey S. Thackeray

        Re: Re: predictable

        Yes, another vote for that - just give me the original with up-to-date graphics at a budget price and I'll be happy.

        While they are at it they can do the same with


        UFO: Enemy Unknown

        Master of Magic

        System Shock

        Fallout 1&2

        All the Baldur's Gate and Ultima games


        Frankly some of them barely even need a graphics update, just a tweak to cope with a modern PCs screen resolution and an update to the interface so it is happy on a recent OS.


        1. Dotter


          At least some of those are on with support for recent OS'.

        2. snowlight

          Re: Re: Re: predictable

          A new and improved Carmageddon is in the works and involves the original team so that at least is promising :D.

          1. Thomas 4

            It was intended to be a reboot

            But ended up as a savage kick in the teeth.

    2. miknik

      Re: predictable

      Such a shame, I loved this game back in the day...

      "selected" followed by dispensing mini gun wrath everywhere, happy days.

  2. Richard Rae

    How to ....

    ..... kill a legendary game

    Dosbox for me with my old CD please, thank you!

  3. Eddie Edwards

    I doubt this game owes anything to Deus Ex: Human Revolution. It takes a long time to make a game, and the plot elements of this would have been fleshed out way before DX:HR was released. The games industry, sadly, cannot turn on a dime.

    Perhaps more accurate to say it owes a lot to Deus Ex, which in turn owes a lot to System Shock, which in turn, yada yada yada ...

  4. Z-Eden

    What a pity. Though with that EA logo on the front, it is to be expected. They seem to follow the same formula: rip the soul out of what made the wonderful original and slightly wobbly sequel excellent, add a dash of greed and Et Voila. Another of EA's contributions to modern gaming.

  5. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    Summary: Save your money. Buy the original ( sell a pre-DOSBox'd version, without the American Revolt expansion, unfortunately). Spit on those who spat on Syndicate's grave.

    The sad thing is that I've seen LOTS of good team-based real-time strategies, usually in free mods and indie games, that with a graphical change would be ideal. Seriously, how hard was it to keep the formula the same? Hell, even Space Hulk form back-in-the-day would have made a closer Syndicate-like game today - see through all your squad's eyes and control which ones are in trouble.

    1. Thomas 4

      This is great news!

      I didn't know you could get Syndicate on GoG! =D

      As for this, it looks like it's going to be the prequel trilogy all over again. *rocks back and forward muttering "it never existed" over and over again*

    2. Darryl

      Good Summary

      Even worth taking a look at Syndicate Wars for the PS2. It was true to the original, not just "Yet another FPS clone".

      1. AdamWill

        Re: Good Summary

        Wars came out for PC too, I think it was PC first. I have a copy that I bought in one of those amazing second-hand game stores that are all over Berlin.

  6. Dotter


    I never asked for this.

  7. hexx

    what a shame!! used to play Syndicate a lot. could they just stop releasing shit games and giving them names of proper good old classics? (fallout for example - what a shit game in comparison with good old fallout games)

  8. Sooty

    I loved the video from the start of the original (or was it wars), the 'citizen' seeing the nice happy cheerful world, that starts to fail and shows what it's really like.

    That concept could have been worked into it at least, it would work quite well in an FPS setting

    1. TeraTelnet

      It was from Syndicate Wars - and was indeed very good.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    60% is very generous.

    Got to say, this game is a huge let down.

    As it originates from an Amiga game, it seems appropriate to award a mark on the scale Amiga Power used to use. i.e. 50% indicates an "average" game rather than the screwed up scoring system we seem to use these days of 75% indicating an "average" game.

    So on that basis, I reckon the new Syndicate is worth no more than 25%.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 60% is very generous.


      Whilst the game technically started out being devloped on the Amiga, the Amiga version was scrapped and the project was restarted on PC, which was the first release. The Amiga release was a PC port.

      Though with a name of C Hill, I'm wondering if you already knew that fact already, unless it's pure coincidence?

  10. Andrew James

    Oh well, i suppose i will just have to get my old Amiga 600 down from the loft again, and insert disk 1 of 6 (or 4, i cant remember) to play the original again.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As a former 'frogger I'm uttery biased and think this 'reboot' is an abomination!

    With UFO: Enemy Unknown *finally* getting a proper turn based 'reboot' (I really hope it's good, please, Great Maker, let it be good), if that does well critically and financially it may encourage publishers to do more squad based games again, whether turn based like XCOM or real-time like Syndicate.

  12. Chris King

    I still haven't forgiven them for butchering Origin...

    ...then recycling the name for use on their "portal".

    Given what they've done to Syndicate, how long before they fish out some crappy side-scrolling shoot-em-up from the bargain bin and declare it the next installment of Wing Commander ? Ugh.

    1. AdamWill

      Re: I still haven't forgiven them for butchering Origin...

      hey, if we're talking Wing Commander, that would be an _improvement_.

      (why yes, I *am* an X-Wing fan. how did you know?)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Eugh! I feel icky.

    I think I need a shower after reading that article.

  14. Lord Midas

    I ought to be both styles...

    .. what I mean is....

    Like with Xcom and it's FPS reimagining, Firaxis are also making an up to date Xcom Enemy Unknown update. Which is a isometric turn based game, which plays like the original (though fixing issues with controls), and looks lush in spangly HD.

    All we need is the same treatment to Syndicate. A isometric HD update of the original. There is space in this world for both. What about it EA?

  15. Deebster

    Sod the reboot

    I clicked into this thinking it was from the Antique Code Show series.

    How about it?

    1. stucs201

      Re: Sod the reboot

      Already done...

      1. Z-Eden
        Thumb Up

        Re: Re: Sod the reboot

        Nice - now do a Syndicate Wars antique code show replete with cataclysm nuclear grenades!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Cannon Fodder

    The day they do a remake of Cannon Fodder as a FPS we really will know that the games industry has vanished up its own backside.

  17. Haku

    They turned a unique game into yet-another-FPS-shooter?

    Damn them!

    Syndicate, the original, was, sorry, is ace, there wasn't another game like it, part point'n'click strategy and part shoot-em-up, and completely great, I can't believe they wrote off the original gameplay to jump on the FPS bandwagon.

  18. Filippo Silver badge

    Enough with the FPSes, dammit!

  19. RetroTom


    Echoing the thoughts of others, this is taking the P I double S.

    Syndicate, the original summed up a generation, it was a complex RTS game combined with business management elements. The game complex but well tuned beast which rewarded the player for thinking, had a great number of original aspects and merged everything into a thrilling, timeless experience which is still fun to this day.

    Syndicate, this version sums up this generation. A generic FPS with nothing to offer which nobody will remember.

    Creating something of the scale, complexity and balance found in the games of old seems beyond the developers of today.

    20-25% is the highest rating I'd give this, it's worse than DNF which was at least true to it's roots.

    1. AdamWill

      Re: Urgh

      "Creating something of the scale, complexity and balance found in the games of old seems beyond the developers of today."

      That's funny, cos I remember people saying exactly the same thing at the time Syndicate came out, getting all nostalgic for the 1980s.

      It's like the old 'pop music is worse than it was in MY day' saw - it's rarely true. There are always good games and good music around; but you don't remember the crap that existed in the past, you only remember the good stuff, and soon you start thinking the good stuff is _all there was_.

      If you need a correction, though, go dig out any back issue of PC Zone, and you'll rapidly be reminded there were plenty of dull, derivative, crappy games to go around in the 1990s, just as there were in the 80s, just as there are now. And there are just as many top-quality games now as there were in the 90s or 80s. Just...this ain't one of 'em.

  20. OrientalHero
    Thumb Up

    I'm a fan of the original so I downloaded the PS3 multiplayer demo of Syndicate.

    In the original Syndicate, you watch as a bystander is snatched off the street and efficiently converted into little more than a corporate cyber enhanced meat puppet. Who were these dastardly fiends I thought to myself and as the view point changed to the controller of the 4 man team of agents I thought "who's going to stop this creep" only to have my viewpoint become the controller!

    Well the controller has been lost but in multi player you do get 4 autonomous agents with customised cyber augmentation. The missions are supposedly remakes of the original Syndicate missions (u only get the one in the demo) but of course, you don't get the airship view but a much more personal and up close take. It is helped by a "see the enemy" view point courtesy of your advanced hardware. The enemy is various corp soldiers with officer types more proficiently equipped. They take cover and throw grenades enough to give you a run for the money. The mini bosses (turrets, officers etc) tend to have shielding or some armour that requires some by passing requiring breaching. The boss in the demo mission is reinforced with waves of underlings that need to be "managed" whilst other objectives are cleared to allow the boss to be finally taken down.

    I'd say it does it's job of giving a dystopian corporate future with teams of agents doing wetwork with lots of "hacking" in a very much script kiddy "Breach" (but to be honest, would the military allow field hacking in any other way?) . The free ones like Dystopia or NeoTokyo take different avenues to applied Miltech/cybertech but I think the new Syndicate borrows enough from it's namesake to be a justified FPS variant.

  21. iCode86

    "It's a serviceable enough shooter, but it's also highly formulaic and linear, shifting you from one duck shoot to the next with no variation in pace....."

    You mean like Call of Duty? The FPS equivalent of FIFA or countless other year in year out games? Funny though that each new iteration of the CoD series seems to get consistently high scores, despite just being a rehash of the previous games rehash of ..etc, etc.

    The problem doesn't lie with the developers, more with the fickle and braindead gaming community. Create a game that's original with unique ideas and gameplay style (which is what gamers keep asking for apparently), and you're sure to get a massive backlash of people moaning that it's too different and "needs to be more like CoD".

    It's a shame, because most big studios are now too scared to be adventurous and invest the millions needed to make a truly original game, but instead have to shoehorn ideas into neat little boxes ideal for the gaming masses.

    1. david wilkes

      Sadly critics have little choice but to award these games top scores as otherwise the studios won't provide preview copies for other titles.

  22. Turtle

    "Whose" not "who's".

    "Breaching always feels ancillary to combat, offering no true novelty and feeling little more than a mildly interesting grenade type, one **who's** scripted consequences soon become repetitive."

    Should be "whose" not "who's".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Whose" not "who's".

      Thanks for the catch, Turtle - I note you walked over the "send corrections" button to post on the site.

      So happens that I stumbled upon your post. But we'd be obliged if you and others use this facility - The Register and Reg Hardware are auto-modding trusted commenters - this means we are unlikely to pick up contributions such as this in a timely fashion.

      1. Turtle

        Re: Re: "Whose" not "who's".

        Ooops! Sorry, I completely overlooked the "correction" button! That's new, isn't it? If I recall, I might have read the announcement about its existence and then, clearly, forgotten about it completely. I'll remember it now, though!

  23. NozeDive

    Haters gonna hate...

    I've not played the original. I don't have any intrest in playing an RTS. I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with an RTS, I simply don't enjoy them.

    That being said, I *am* a fan of the first person shooter. And before you ask, yes, I'm a typical gun-toting 'Murikan.

    More than a fan of the FPS, I am a fan of cyberpunk. To me, this is the closest thing to a Ghost in The Shell game that's been released in recent times (excluing the latest *Deus Ex* installment, of course)

    So for people who like sci-fi cyberpunk shoot-em-ups, it's a great game. If you dislike playing an FPS or dislike cyberpunk for whatever reason (and I'm sure you think it's a good reason) then obviously this is not the game for you.

    What I find funny is how many are complaining that this is not a rehash of the original, because when Halo3 came out, every one complained that it was hardly any different than Halo2.

    1. OrientalHero

      Re: Haters gonna hate...

      heh, if I was you, I'd find the free mod Dystopia.

      As I said above, the hacking side of Syndicate is militaristically simplified (honestly don't think Military Command would keep it very complex at all!). Breach most things (grenades, turrets etc) and some side skills like Heal, Damage Amp and Shield. All select and press L1 to apply.

      Dystopia is more like Ghost in the Shell in that you drop into a cyberverse with cyber specific skills to hack the system (opening doors, shutting down turrets etc) whilst the nme team counter hacks with offensive and defensive cyber skills. The objectives for one mission for instance involve physically assaulting a firewall node, that then allows your Crackers to compromise the physical security of a nme fortress, to then lowering the reactor shields which are then physically destroyed to allow cyber access to the turrets which protect the data stores. Whilst there are no Tachikomas (the AI mini tanks) the armour and weapons plus the switches between defending cyberverse and physical is pretty evocative of GITS. Oh, and getting defeated in Cyberspace is no fun but sure beats being outflanked in meatspace when a devious nme makes it to the cyber nodes and takes out the entire cyber team...

  24. frenchy128

    Petition, I want my classic syndicate..

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