SHORT REVIEW: PC VERSION
Chocolate Reign, Chocolate Reign, riding through the glen, Chocolate Reign, Chocolate Reign, with its tiny men.
The spiritual sequel to Syndicate and Syndicate Wars… wait lets start that again.
The spiritual sequel to two of my favourite games of all time had been kickstarted to the tune of £461,333. Not the greatest sum of money ever raised. I hope they acquired additional funding. I mention this merely to expose what a triumph Satellite Reign is.
Anyone familiar with Syndicate will know the routine. 4 armed agents set loose in a city, causing whatever chaos you feel inclined to do. Wait, your not familiar with seminal game Syndicate? Ok, its just what I said. 4 agents, like in the above picture. Go on mini adventures around the city, holding heavy weaponry with an objective to steal technology, to make even bigger weaponry or augmentations. Yessir. you can research technology and steal from banks. Doesn’t sound bad does it. Its fun being an evil conglomerate like (REDACTED). Unlike the games of yesteryear, this time round the agents have different skills, for example a hacker can open a door… the thief can cut someone down with their neon samurai sword, sneaky-style. “Samurai sword sneaky-style” is fun to say. I urge you to say it out loud.
In practice agents with character gives you choices and that can only be a good thing. Any mental sod hankering for the good ol’ days, whining about how its not the same probably hasn’t played Syndicate for a while. Now I still love the original, but if you want similar agents and that ol’ fashioned gameplay, good news. Its still there. You can still play Syndicate and enjoy it without this shiny new game ruining your beloved past. Now…
Lets get the obvious out the way, it looks fine, its not the greatest looking game and its a tad glitchy and buggy at times. Also due to the diddy budget, the games clearly been scaled back. Like most early access games, the audience got the sweet-sweet taste of ever expending concepts, which is oh-so tasty. Eventually this progress came to a halt, as I suspect they needed to release the thing to make some actual money. Understandable.
I wonder, would someone coming into the game fresh. Without the early access process would it feel like the games been scaled back?
Regardless, you still get huge zones and enemy compounds to infiltrate. You get a whole living breathing city with citizens, police, rival corporations and evildoers getting into scraps independently, with a working power grid and security systems. How many games try to recreate an entire city with gangs and individuals that react to each other, little less the players machinations. In a futuristic cyberpunk Blade Runner city no less! When the systems click, Satellite Reign is sublime. You setup a sniper on the roof, your thief sneaks into the compound, as the soldier and support agents get to blowing shit up as a distraction, and as luck would have it, a gang fight happens off screen giving you an opening to the vault. Hazzah!
The plot is paper thin, which is exactly how I like it. I don’t need any additional motivation other then taking over the city in my own nefarious way. There is story and data story thingy things to read, but c’mon… you can throw grenades and bribe officials. The stories happening on the screen all around the city. Criticisms could be directed at the interface, as sometimes it’s not so clear what you’re up to. Picking your next mission/target could be considered fiddly, but I’m being very picky here.
Certain games are tailor made for their audience which is hard to grade. You the reader will know full well if this is the game for you. Satellite Reign will, at times, demand patience, as sneaking is a pain in the arse, but this is your choice. At times it will tear your heart out as your lose your team of agents, even though there aren’t any real significant penalties for doing so. This truly is the perfect game for setting your own goals and failing at them.
The city is a giant toolbox, which is both wonderful and problematic. Problematic as the individual magic and flair is missing. What I mean by that is you take over the city but never feel you own it. Owning a HQ on the map would have helped. Watching hovercars zip by without being able to join in the fun and tear around the streets, mildly upsetting. Yes, I want to run down the good citizens in a hovercar, now that’s good wholesome family fun. Hovercars, were a
broken option a few updates before release. The amazing detailed world on screen doesn’t need much more added to it, but it does need something.
Satellite Reign is the true spiritual successor to Syndicate improving on the classic in every conceivable way. It’s like playing your memory of Syndicate. If a sequel or expansion comes our way, with that little bit of magic, it wouldn’t just be an amazing follow-up. It would be one of the very best games of its type. Whatever genre this is… erm… Corporate strategy murder sim. Yes that.
I loved every minute with Satellite Reign and I wish there was more. Wouldn’t it be great to level buildings with mini-nukes, ride those spider robots like Dune, or even open a shop called “Ploppys” to watch the money flood in.
Keep your eyes peeled for the next steam sale.