Released three years after its classic cyberpunk predecessor, Syndicate Wars continues its story with significant improvements all round. From the ashes of the syndicates destroyed in the first game emerged the ultimate victor, EuroCorp. The world is now firmly nestled in EuroCorp's grasp – but a technologically superior religious sect hopes to undermine their authority through a powerful computer virus. You will assume the role of either a EuroCorp Executive, or a Church of the New Epoch High Disciple, and once again lead a team of cyborgs to victory. |
Syndicate Wars plays not unlike the original real-time action strategy game, in that you command a team of four heavily armed cyborg enforcers in an isometric cityscape to perform any number of violent assignments. Gameplay, however, is much more action-oriented and disorienting this time around. Your aerial vantage point can be rotated smoothly at will, an attractive feature that may quickly become frustrating. Enemy agents have a habit of attacking from where you cannot see them, and before you can swivel the map to get a good look at the assailants you'll find your minions heavily wounded or worse. The Deep Radar option helps a great deal by making any visually obstructive foreground architecture semi-transparent. Since ammunition is no longer scarce (each weapon is energy-based and requires mere moments to recharge itself), Syndicate Wars allows for a generous use of fatal force, in contrast to the original's more conservative approach to the killing.
Overall, Syndicate Wars succeeds in recapturing the dark, deadly emotion of the original, and adding to it a huge variety of weapons and scenarios, and refurbishing it with a gorgeous new coat of paint. Over five dozen missions and multiplayer support ensure Syndicate Wars has high replay value. However, it plays closer to an action game than the action/strategy mix of the original, a fact which will likely disappoint some. Overall, it's still a Top Dog, and a must-play for all fans of action games, but strategy fans won't find much to like in this follow-up... which is why the game is classified as an "Action" game here. A great game, though not the classic that its predecessor was.
Reviewed by: Underdogs