It’s obvious the missions were designed around co-op just because of how difficult they are. You’ll be attack from multiple sides and tasked with drawing fire away from each other to progress forward almost around every turn. Everyone is capable of healing another player from a distance using a breach ability and it’s absolutely crucial. More so, it’s probably a good idea to have one player act as a support character equipping both a group heal and shield ability along with some ranged weapons. You see - in co-op there are several new breaches that are only available here - and almost everyone affects the team somehow.
The missions themselves will earn you chips and other objects that are used to upgrade your weapons and agent. You’ll be plugging in new breaches and enhancing current ones as well as unlocking modifications on weapons. But simply unlocking the mods doesn’t give access, you must use the weapon then and earn experience towards mastering the modification until you see the benefit. It’s a vicious cycle of rinse and repeat to get to the badass character you want, but if you plan it out and stick with a defined role it won’t take too long.
I can’t say enough just how satisfying the gun play is in both single player and co-op. My last session in co-op was also one of the most rewarding I had. There were only three of us, despite the missions obviously being designed for four players, but we still managed to prove victorious thanks to careful tactics and defined roles. We had a sniper support from afar to cover us while I acted as our healer providing both teammates with shield and group heals. Our other character was our tank, dealing front line damage and running to disable turrets while shielded. When we finally reached the boss battle we used an MMO tactic of pulling enemies away from the group, isolating them, and taking them out. Everyone one of us marvelled at just how satisfying that was.
All of this being said I have to mention some of the problems with the game. The biggest is some serious stability issues which include complete system lock ups on the 360. I’ve already pointed out an issue with party chat and mid-mission lockups when restarting. If Starbreeze can fix these, the entire experience should be that much smoother. I would have liked to see a little more variety in the co-op story missions, as well as - you know - an actual story.
While Syndicate may not be the game the nostalgic gamer in me wanted, it is a game the current me really enjoyed. Starbreeze really understands what makes a first person shooter so satisfying, it’s something you can’t really describe in words, but when you play it you know it has that intangible quality. With a solid single player campaign and a deep co-op mode Syndicate is an easy recommendation from me this year.
The Co-Optimus review of Syndicate is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game which was provided by the publisher.
The Co-Op Experience: Each player can control an agent.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.