Where To Buy: Steam
Syndrome is a science fiction, first-person, survival horror video game developed by Camel 101 and Bigmoon Entertainment. You will find yourself in the shoes of Chief Technician Galen, who has just awoken from Cryo-Sleep aboard the spaceship “Valkenburg.” Galen begins to discover that something is seriously wrong aboard his craft with almost all of the crew either dead or missing. You must navigate a maze of corridors over several crew decks, to find out just what happened to the crew and how to escape that same fate.
After first watching the trailer for Syndrome, I felt the game was going to be more of a faced paced space shooter similar to Doom. However, you will find that this is not your run and gun survival horror. Sometimes, the best course of action is to distract and evade. I would liken it somewhat to Alien: Isolation. When it comes to playing Syndrome, I think the game does a number of things very well early on. The directional sound and environments created here I think are magnificent. I let my younger son try the game just starting out. About ten minutes in I heard him yell “Dad, this is a little scary for me. Can I play wrestling instead?” Syndrome does a great job at creating suspense in the player as they try to discover just what happened on the ship.
When it comes to horror, environments, lighting, and sound are key elements that need to be top notch to make it work. Syndrome achieved that here. When discovering a particularly gruesome scene early on, I noticed my character Galen, began to breath heavier. Much like someone would do in such an intense situation. For me, little details like that go a long way. As I crept closer to the scene I could hear scurrying go overhead from my left to right making me look around frantically. Some areas felt overly dark but that is eventually corrected not too far into the game with the discovery of a flashlight.
For those that have played the survival genre before, you will notice the story in Syndrome seems very similar to that of Dead Space. An artifact is found, it’s brought aboard a ship and people go crazy. This may bother some more than other but you will get the feeling that you’ve been in this situation before. What bothered me the most about Syndrome was the repetitiveness. I eventually found myself at the point where I found my tasks tedious. You’ll constantly find yourself going back and forth between decks completing mundane tasks. Granted the story does have an interesting twist at the end, it can take a long time to get there to the point where it feels like a chore. As I progressed further, instead of sitting down with excitement to progress, I groaned thinking “Oh, this section again?”
The combat in Syndrome was another area in which I would have liked to see more polish. Ammo is scarce for weapons but you do have a go-to melee weapon if needed. For the life of me(literally), I could not figure out the blocking mechanism. Occasionally it felt like I blocked a hit but I still seemed to take damage the same as I would if I didn’t block. The enemies don’t seem to stagger at all when getting hit so I found myself often trying to run in, hit and then back away fast. Despite the amazing sound in other areas of the game, the pistol felt like a dull ray gun. Again, I was often unsure if I was actually doing damage to my enemy. Even though I had some issues with the game, overall I enjoyed this title.
One thing to keep in mind during a playthrough is the “save” areas. I am typically used to the autosave feature but you won’t find that here. If you forget to save, you may find yourself like I did at one point. Going back 30 minutes of game time after you die. Other small issues I came across were getting stuck in a locker at one point. I figured, like Outlast I could hide from the enemy. However, I just found myself clipping through the top and having to restart from a save point. You also have to seemingly be very close to objects like bodies and pick ups to be able to interact with them. So, look around closely.
Syndrome, for the most part, has been done before. That being said, it might still be worth your time. If you’re someone who needs to meticulously tear apart a title when it’s released, then perhaps you should look elsewhere. If you can appreciate survival horror and some tediousness to get to the end, Syndrome is worth your time. Also be sure to check out our Gears of War 4 review if monsters are your thing.
- Gameplay: A first person survival horror where evading can be more important than combat
- Graphics: Gorgeous environments and lighting
- Sound: Amazing directional sound
- Presentation: A familiar story but a solid survival horror title
- Directional sound
- Gorgeous Environment
- Suspenseful Horror
- Tedious tasks
- Bland combat
- Familiar story