In today’s gaming culture, everywhere you look someone’s trying to shoot you in the face. Whether it’s Gears of War 3, Battlefield 3, Uncharted 3, or the Halo Anniversary/Reach/ODST triumvirate; everybody has a gun. After playing the Syndicate demo, I’m happy to report that someone made a co-op game requiring teamwork via communication and rewarding players through incentives.

In Syndicate, the world we knew–run by impetuous politicians–is gone. Megacorporations now run certain regions of the globe called syndicates. Syndicates revolutionized the world by installing neural chips into consumers, so they can access anything they want, anytime. Because of this freedom, abuse is bound to occur. This is when the Syndicates call in their agents.

You and your team assume the personalities of an elite agent squad from one of the game’s many corporations. Your goal is to take down these neurally-enhanced nimrods to keep the balance in order. Any and all tools you need are provided for you.

We began the demo riding in a caravan. Each player’s selected character model, class, and loadout is nicely represented on-screen. After busting out the back of said caravan, we launch into a flurry of fire in what appears to be a warehouse district. Enemies tend to attack in paired waves, keeping us off-balance. We die, right out of the gate.

Next run, we realize how Syndicate is meant to be played. We attack in pairs. One partner advances and fires while the other breaches their partner’s chip and heals them. During reloading times, we swap responsibilities. Enemies fall like fat flan from forty-feet up.

Breaching is the act of utilizing the superior neural implant in your head to interact with the world around you. You can heal teammates, cause enemy firearms to backfire, or generate additional protective shielding for yourself. These little skills are carrots on Syndicate’s RPG-lite leveling stick. Breaching allowed me to disable invulnerable turrets, open gates, and defuse live grenades.

We finish off the demo going up against shotgun-wielding armies of enemies that require you break their shield before they become vulnerable to damage. It really forced us to work together, heal each other, and operate like a group. Very few games today forces cooperation like Syndicate; for me, it has jumped onto my very small radar. Hopefully, you’ll catch the fever.

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