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Syndrome Review


The horror genre in video games has seen a large number of evolutions over the years, transporting in our favorite medium all those sensations already known to fans of horror literature and cinema. If it is true that the two arts just mentioned are constantly evolving as regards their genres, there is no doubt that a similar process can also be applied to the video games we love so much: from Alone in the Dark onwards, survival horror has gone from classic zombies to particularly inspired creatures, passing - in some lucky cases - even through deep space (Alien Isolation). And it is precisely from this last, very recent trend that Syndrome draws its roots, drawing inspiration a little from all the successes of the genre to build a solid and effective story and gameplay formula. Or, at least, to try.



 


To learn more:
Call Of Ludus: HP Lovecraft's Influence on the Video Game

 

Developed and published by Camel 101 su SteamSyndrome is presented as a sci-fi survival-horror in which the player plays the role of a man who suddenly wakes up from cryosleep, inside a mysterious spaceship. And if these premises already seem very familiar to you, know that you are not wrong at all.

Syndrome is currently available on Steam priced at € 22,99, with a 15% discount for the first week of launch.

 

 

No, Mom, five more minutes
Syndrome relies heavily on the oppressive atmosphere of deep space

From the very first moments of the game, it is clear how Syndrome you try to focus heavily on the frightening and oppressive atmosphere of deep space. Already from his awakening, our protagonist will find himself completely isolated inside a deserted ship (at least, apparently), with nothing but himself and his own abilities to adapt to the terrible conditions of psychological stress to which he will be subjected.



After regaining consciousness and reactivating the first auxiliary systems, our hero will have to follow the tracks left by the missing crew, in an attempt to unravel the mystery that seems to surround the entire ship. He will discover (very trivially, to tell the truth) that the discovery of a strange artifact has brought the ruin on the entire crew, causing hallucinations and awakening primordial feral instincts that the protagonist will be forced to face. Here, then, is the narrative sector of Syndrome he already proves to be quite weak and "already seen" right from the start; so much so that, if by chance you had come up with the saga of Dead Space, you would certainly have identified what (at least, on the surface) seems to be one of the major influences of the title of Camel 101.

 

 

"I'm afraid of the Crouch with the C"
A good atmosphere ...

However, one could easily turn a blind eye to the narrative sector of the game, as long as it is supported by a solid technical-artistic sector and by effective and fun gameplay. Unfortunately, even in the first case alone, Syndrome certainly has particularly worthy rivals in the field of science fiction survival horror; the same Alien: isolation already mentioned at the beginning, for example, it would be enough - alone - to get out Syndrome defeated by the clash by licking his wounds: although the overall atmosphere is rendered rather well in the corridors of the ship, in fact, the concept of the game is supported by a rather sparse and poorly inspired level-design, made even more elementary by the total absence of a any relevant physics engine.


… But many, great shortcomings

Although the soundtrack and the long, claustrophobic passages of the ship undoubtedly contribute to adding value to the final product, in fact, there are moments in which one has the impression that Syndrome was packaged and completed in a hurry: witness, for example, the absence of the most basic configuration options on the PC (such as the ability to re-map the keyboard keys), the absence of advanced graphic options and the evident drops in framerate recorded in the passage from one area of ​​the map to another, so frequent that they compromise part of the experience even on medium-low range machines.


But the technical side, unfortunately, is still not the worst problem Syndrome, although it is still one of the most serious defects of the title of Camel 101.

 

We didn't know that cutting off a hand reduced your forearm to a sheet of tissue paper

 

I knew I should have been a delivery boy

Even on the gameplay front, in fact, the developers of Syndrome they still seem to have a lot to learn from the competition, sometimes even for decidedly banal and simple elements.

Sometimes, Syndrome seems to make fun of the player

In some situations, it almost seems like that Syndrome it's just making fun of whoever is on the other side of the screen, and not necessarily in a good way. Not infrequently, our character will be required to cover embarrassing distances from one side of the ship to the other to find this object or that magnetic key, activate this or that switch, find this or that crew member. This is an aspect that undoubtedly contributes to the immersion of the player, and that tickles his exploratory taste by pushing him to move even in the most remote ravines of the ship; pity that, as far as we can explore, 90% of the rooms will be devoid of any interest, and the few lockers that can be looted will often be completely empty.


As if this were not enough, it may happen that the player is forced to travel at least two or three times in a row the entire horizontal length of the ship, literally back and forth through the same rooms with a dash bar that wears out too much. hurry and that is too slow to recharge. All these aspects, however, could also be appreciable for the purposes of a gameplay formula suitable for survival; were it not for one of the last, big problems of Syndrome and its overall game formula.


The only way to save progress is to find the terminals scattered around the ship

There are no checkpoints in Syndrome. The only way to record your progress is to find the rescue terminal within each individual floor (terminal that is not described to us in any way and which, in principle, blends perfectly with the environment), save the game and hope not to die before reaching the next terminal. Otherwise, the game will automatically load the last save, forcing us to wait for quite long loads to be able to resume our adventure inside the ship.

What if the last terminal was in the previous deck compared to the one we died in? We will be forced to endure two rather long uploads, first to wait for the game to load the game and then to wait for the game to process the next floor once you reach the elevator.

 

 

Aliens with chicken brains

Again, the absence of checkpoints would be a problem to easily turn a blind eye to, if all other flaws of Syndrome have not already been listed above. Even wanting to find a positive side beyond the atmosphere and the great vastness of the ship, the enemies (with a rather inspired character-design, to be honest) often prove to be excessively stupid, with a too small field of view and, at times , completely insensitive to the noises made by the player as he moves around the game environment.

The AI ​​of some enemies is really embarrassing

During one of our sessions, for example, we happened to have to go through a mess hall distracting an enemy simply by throwing a glass bottle. After having pushed the monster to look away, our character slipped sideways towards the other exit of the room, throwing tables and chairs into the air with a great noise; the enemy, however, remained motionless staring at the wall against which the bottle had crashed, and there it remained even when we entered its visual cone, apparently with a rather narrow field of perception.

In essence, therefore, despite a successful atmosphere and a series of small advantages, Syndrome is configured as a title full of problems, a "draft" of a series of survival-horror already on the market and much more cared for. Its repetitiveness, technical problems, its shortcomings and its basic banality, in the long run, already make it a title definitely to be avoided at full price, but that some real fans of the genre could appreciate if purchased for a much smaller sum. .

 

Syndrome it does not have an overly elaborate graphics engine, but it is certainly very demanding in terms of resources. The drops in framerate have not been uncommon at all, and it is therefore recommended to play it at medium-low resolutions on machines that do not meet the recommended requirements. In a game like this, a simple drop in frames can mean the difference between winning and losing.

MINIMUM:

  • Operating system: Windows Vista 64-bit
  • Processor: Core i3 / AMD A6 2.4Ghz
  • Memory: 4 GB of RAM
  • Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 / AMD Radeon HD 5750. OpenGL 3.3
  • Memory: 9 GB of available space
  • Additional notes: If you are using a controller, you will need to plug it in before launching the game. Only Xbox One controllers are supported. All other controllers may not work.

RECOMMENDED:

  • Operating system: 7 64-bit Windows
  • Processor: Core i5 / AMD FX 2.4Ghz
  • Memory: 8 GB of RAM
  • Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 / AMD Radeon HD 5970. OpenGL 3.3
  • Memory: 9 GB of available space
  • Additional notes: If you are using a controller, you will need to plug it in before launching the game. Only Xbox One controllers are supported. All other controllers may not work.

 

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Verdict 5.5 / 10 Do you want to see my artifact? Comment Syndrome is a title with a dark atmosphere and at times successful, with an occasionally inspired character design and certainly with a good foundation for a quality title. However, these foundations did not materialize once the time came to show the final product to the public: undermined by too many problems, Syndrome will hardly be appreciated by those who have played much more "prominent" titles in the sci-fi horror scenario, even if we are sure that some real enthusiast will be able to enjoy its (unfortunately few) positive sides. Pros and cons Well rendered atmosphere
Very large ship
Appealing character design x Absence of checkpoints
x Obvious technical and AI problems
x Tedious and repetitive
x Not too original plot

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