976th played so far

Genre: Strategy
Platform: PC/Playstation 1
Year of Release: 1996
Developer: Bullfrog Productions
Publisher: Electronic Arts

For my final Bullfrog game – I’d forgotten I had one left – we return to the cyberpunk setting of Syndicate with Syndicate Wars, a sequel that leaps ahead to an even more corporate focused era. We end up with another isometric strategy game.

Our Thoughts

With a few years more of context, I look at the game differently. The game definitely improves on the first game, looking better, possibly being a bit more readable and easier to get into. In fact, real time play aside, there was a lot here to compare to X-Com as well – you’re spending your time between missions dealing with research and keeping various factions happy while picking that up during gameplay as well. On the other hand, the fact that you can pick multiple sides, of corporations, to get different missions and outcomes makes for a different feel to it. You’re not wondering why people would work against you while you’re saving the world, instead you’re just being opportunistic.

Even so, the game stays impenetrable in places. I managed to finish a bunch of missions, but the game’s own AI clearly did some of the work for me and I missed out on how things were fitting together several times that I didn’t do things properly. It’s, as we set with the first game, a consequence of its ago, but it’s also one of those things where a remake in this world would do incredibly well.

Final Thoughts

I think Syndicate Wars is a game I’d have more to say about twenty years ago. As time has moved on, however, this game hasn’t worked as well, and pushed it to a point where, although I can see the value of it, I also know that there are other games that now do this better. It was one of the pioneers in that sense, I suppose, but the sequel to it doesn’t feel as impressive now even though the 3D environments of the time would have been more amazing. Now, though, it’s fine enough, perhaps little more than that.