Three demos, one connection error, several quick-time events, TOTAL WAR!
Except there wasn’t Total War.
Don’t worry, this will be short.
Gotham City Impostors (Trial Mode)
First we get a very compelling and amusing intro movie where the game’s general theme is revealed. Unsurprisingly, it appears lots of people are showing up as Gotham City characters after the disappearance of the genuine article. Unlike their real counterparts, their outfits are cheap, and their equipment substandard and involving more weapons and explosives than they probably should. All the little screens are arty and cute. Two pages of legal agreements later, it asks me to create an ID. Yes, another one, your EA / Origin one won’t work. It allows you to skip for the demo. Then asks if you are really, really sure. Then warns you about an autosave. Play Now, Team Deathmatch. Asks if I want to play the tutorial first. I said no, it made me do a tutorial. With two screens of text centered and small in the middle of the screen. Searching for group.
Then it couldn’t connect.
Went through it all again, connected, now have to wait 30 seconds. Then another 10. Then a loading screen. Then a loadout select screen. Have you noticed a pattern forming yet? Finally, after agreeing to a two-page contract and getting a tutorial after asking for no tutorial, we’re finally, finally in the game!
It’s a shooter.
Turned off in disgust. Might be a perfectly good shooter, but sometimes, things aren’t worth it.
Both of the older Syndicate games were very good, the idea being a tactical management of your agents whom you can upgrade and buy new weaponry for wander around cities doing stuff to enemy corporations, or the enemy faction in the sequel Syndicate Wars. The games were wonderfully dystopian cyberpunk affairs back before everything became steampunk instead. Gameplay was divided into two main screens where you’d either play your game, or do upgrade stuff and get new missions. It had an interesting system where you’d direct up to four agents at once from a top-down perspective, and still managed to make the transition into 3D well.
Syndicate (2012) on the other hand …
… is a shooter.
I didn’t have to go through a dozen screens to get to it though, that’s something, right? The sad thing is that it still has more to do with Syndicate than the XCOM shooter has to do with X-COM.
You may have noticed that at this stage in my gaming, I have developed a general malaise.
I have a certain reputation for defending the use of quick-time events in games, so long as they’re done right. For example, you should get a little warning, failing a few should neither be the end of the world, or an excuse to make you do the entire sequence again – especially for long sequences. I have jumped to many a game’s defence over accusations that the game is nothing other than a sequence of quick-time events. Many arguments spring to mind. That Rock Band is one huge quick-time event, that most games have quick-time events, but they simply pretend they aren’t, and that most games have events that can be described as quick-time events anyway, (push left stick left to go left!).
Asura’s Wrath isn’t just one long sequence of quick-time events. It’s also a bit Dragon Ball Z, awkward to control, shooty, and, ugh, you know, I couldn’t be bothered to finish this one either.