Synced, when the enemy is your best ally | Tried

Synced, when the enemy is your best ally | Tried


Synced tries to make its way into the crowded landscape of shooters based on increasingly rich loots by adopting a formula that the developers of NExT Studios have defined "rogue-looter shooter". Success in battle will depend on how you tactically exploit permanent equipment and volatile random rewards, which are only valid for the duration of a raid.

After several hours in the company of the title, I was positively impressed from the customization options of your build and the synergies you can get. I have no elements to say how deep the system will be in the more advanced stages of the game, but it certainly has potential. On the other hand, I cannot be satisfied with the pace of play, the design of the enemies and the structure of the raids which seemed a bit repetitive and anonymous to me, at least as regards the first hostile sector that my team managed to complete.

Anatomy of a Raid

The raid was structured around a series of objectives that you had to complete in sequence until you reached the location of the final boss. Completing the first sector unlocks the second and so on. The areas are quite large and connected to each other, but since it is not an open world that can be freely explored, each area is an instance in its own right that can be reached via teleportation. Between one round and the next you can choose which upgrade to get based on the position obtained with respect to your companions. Whoever fared better gets to choose first.

The first raid consisted of two zones and an arena to fight the boss. I found it repetitive that for two consecutive zones the missions were both of the same type: clean up the "corrupted" areas from the flux storm; an energy from which the enemy techno-creatures called Nanos emerge, and then scan and defeat the flux formations, similar to rocky pinnacles, but alive and able to attack and generate new monstrosities.

However, there is a mechanic that made it more interesting to approach the mission. To mark the time spent in a level there is a flow indicator, a percentage that increases the more the difficulty rises. This means that you also need to hurry up to clean up the various flux sources in order not to raise the concentration level in the area, but there are those who might also see it as a greater challenge and decide to fight with the maximum flux concentration. Once you reach 100% your health is attacked directly and is consumed over time making it very difficult to fight.

Visually the first region visited was a bit bare and monothematic: an extensive green area with scattered here and there structures of various sizes, bridges and connecting roads. However, each Raid will be in a specific region so the environment should change as you continue. Although there was already a good number of enemies of different types already in the initial stages, their design did not convince me, at times they seemed to recall the Archaeos of Rainbow Six Extraction.

At a glance, especially when there are many of them, it is difficult to immediately distinguish the smallest Dwarfs because they are very similar to each other. What characterizes them are above all the luminous weak points they have on the body which also indicate their danger. For example, the “Lama” Dwarf has both arms extended like two blades that he uses to slash opponents.

Among the larger enemies, called Primes, there is more variety and it is easier to recognize a Lightning bolt from a Rusher. The former uses bolts to hurt and can also generate them in various areas of the field, while the latter teleports to attack or defends smaller monsters with a shield. They are priority targets when they are in a group and must be engaged paying attention to their attack patterns.

The fight with the boss, on the other hand, was challenging but without great surprises. There were no phases or transformations that suffered a certain amount of damage, nor did the terrain undergo particular changes, but the Tyrant was on a rampage charging and trampling everything and everyone in his path. But if I had to put it into one category, then it would be “bullet sponge”. Personally I don't like this design choice because I think it does nothing but artificially lengthen the fight making the enemy an exaggerated damage absorber.

These words of mine don't want to sound like a total rejection of the title as the build proven is not the final one, but I think the team will need to pay attention to how the missions flow and how the different activities are distributed as they explore the different areas. A feature of games of this type is the repetition of similar or previously performed activities. We often walk on a thin line where one misstep leads to repetitive and tedious steps, and another instead leads to an exciting and rewarding loop.

The winning partner for survival in Synced

However, there was no lack of satisfaction playing Synced . Despite the elements just analyzed, the fight has given me various satisfactions. First of all, the most interesting aspect of the game is the possibility to choose one Dwarf as a companion – you can even have two. There are 4 different classes: destroyer, gunner, guardian and probe. To be able to have him at your side the first time, it will be necessary to synchronize with a defeated Prime enemy. In practice we transform the enemies into our personal weapons, absorbing them and letting them fuse with our arm.

What I really liked is the versatility that these companions can have . Their abilities, in fact, change according to the command assigned to them. When the Dwarf is at rest connected to the arm, the passive ability is in function, but when it is deployed on the field it can be put into deployment mode or can directly attack the designated target.

During the trial I chose to play as a medic-class Rebel, first with a hybrid build based on my Nano Gunner's ranged damage and then with a more supportive build taking advantage of the Nano Probe's sensing abilities. Surely the second entered more in tune with the team's shoulder role as it gave me the possibility to detect the enemies, their weak points and enhance direct shots at exposed points, but also the gunner, with his shock power I imagined it as a support for the team dedicated to weakening the opponent over time.

This is a novelty compared to the initial builds where the classes between Dwarf and Infiltrator were fixed and pre-established. I find that leaving the choice to the player was a smart move. Greater freedom allows you to experiment with formations outside the classic schemes. Another element of customization that the developers wanted to include can be found in the roguelite-inspired approach that NExT Studio followed.

In each raid there are vending machines where you can spend "Radia", an obtainable currency only during the game and cannot be transported outside the zone. The distributor presents a choice between two random power-ups and it is up to the player, during the raid, to decide whether at that moment he wants to power-up his partner or himself.

Nano modules can influence the skills or physical characteristics such as maximum health and each module can always be leveled up at distributors which, every time they are used, will increase in price. I added to my Probe Nano the ability to deal poison damage when in attack stance, turning it into a damage machine and extending its durability on the field by increasing its recovery speed and maximum health.

In addition to the loot provisional valid only within the raid, you can recover the enhancement modules to take to the refuge after the mission, a pity however that at the moment it is possible to have only one player in the hub, so you will not see your companions. Among other things, to unlock the mods it was necessary to talk to one of the characters but only the team leader could do it so I had to leave the team to continue. We hope the developers fix this and make team play smoother.

In any case, whether you win or lose, the modules you get will still be yours and you can use them to the shelter to upgrade the character. You will have 4 slots available to improve your survival, bond with your partner and much more. The power of a module is indicated by numbers and, as in Destiny, you can choose to increase the level of a module by fusing one of a higher degree that you do not intend to use.

In short, the more you play the more chances of finding More and more powerful modules you have and you won't have to worry about failing a mission. It would have been too frustrating to lose everything because every time the raid has to be restarted from the first level and not from the point where you died. Regarding operator deaths during a raid, if you fall in battle after being knocked down, you will have to be a spectator.

The tone of the game is not on tactical and realistic, so it might feel a bit too punishing as choice, but it is certainly a choice that wants to underline the more survival aspect of the title. Being above all a team cooperative, perhaps this aspect could have been encouraged more by having the companions evaluate whether to continue on their own path or attempt resuscitation at dedicated structures, risking dying in the attempt or risking raising the level of concentration of flow to such an extent as to endanger the entire incursion.

A battle royale? Not entirely

Synced will also have a PvP mode, although it is more correct to define it as PvPvE because AI-controlled Nanos will also be present within the play area. The aim is to collect more resources than your opponents while battling each other while trying to remain the only team in the field. Specific locations allow you to collect "Nerva", the main resource that will be defended to the end. Each round the available positions decrease and the various teams will end up colliding all towards the same position generating a very intense final round if the teams in the field are still full.

It is a game mode which is inspired by the battle royale where in this case four teams of three players collide and there are two returns to the field. The human component makes the matches more unpredictable, but also the events scattered on the map and the supply stations spice things up and in a sense guide the teams to some specific areas in order to make them collide and keep the action in the center in fact, compared to the past, the size of the map has been reduced to improve the game flow.

An interesting aspect of the mode is the phase that precedes the start of the game where, through an operations table, each the player has the possibility to carry out two scans to reveal portions of the map and detect the presence of a safe haven where to find supplies. Once you enter the field, the same rules underlying PvE apply, so you can synchronize nanos, find new modules and buy upgrades from distributors.

Synced in conclusion

Synced with his offer tries to reconcile both PvE and PvP lovers and even if there is still a lot to discover about the title, especially the long-term plans which always proves to be the most difficult phase for a looter shooter, that what I tried convinced me in part.

The customization of one's own character, also from a tactical point of view, and the integration of the Nano companion in the battle phases is good; less convincing progression and variety of levels. We hope that in the future the developers will consider extending participation in the hub to members of their own team as is the case for other titles.

Synced does not yet have a release date but will be available for free. If you want to try the game, from 10 December 2022 until 15 January 2023 it will be possible to take part in the Open Beta by downloading the game from Steam or from the official website.

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