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View Full Version : My favorite way to play Syndicate.



Fatal-Feit
06-22-2016, 06:08 AM
I posted this on the sub, but I thought I'd share it here for those who plans to replay Syndicate.

This guide are for players who crave challenges in their video games. It's meant to make combat actually difficult, add some complexity and removes exploitation in stealth, and makes you strategize and budget with the economy system. The focus is not to make Syndicate into Dark Souls, but to at least keep players focused and engaged in challenges throughout the entire experience.


Inventory:

Avoid upgrading capes and belts, and any outfits the reduces damage. The objective is minimizing defense, but it's okay to use high level equipment for the style and stealth bonuses.

Buying/upgrading everything else is perfectly fine and encouraged to scale with the difficulty.

Gear and Tool Upgrades:

Avoid all tool upgrading/crafting unless the missions forces you. What this does is minimize the amount of tools at your disposal, so you will strategize and use all of your tools and mechanics. No more hiding behind one ledge and sniping all of the enemies with throwing knives or recklessly spamming bullets and health potions in combat. Trust me, the amount of tools they provide you in the start are perfectly balanced, especially with some skill unlocks.

Crafting better gears are A-OK. Just avoid upgrading/crafting tools.

Skill Tree:

Avoid everything relating to health and defense bonuses. ''DRIVER'' upgrades, included. ''COUNTER BOOST'', however, is fine to unlock, as I feel the combat is almost impossible to succeed against level 8-10s without it. Essentially, you will no longer be a walking/driving tank and will need to focus on minimizing damage.

Don't unlock ''CHAMELEON'', ''ASSASSIN STEPS'', ''INTIMIDATION'' and ''LOOT TAKEDOWN'' either. Stealth is far better and more immersive when it's not full of shortcuts.

Unlocking everything else should bring you to level 7, so don't worry about missing out on the stylish equipment. But if you MUST hit level 8, unlocking ''ADRENALINE'' and ''DRIVER'' upgrades should do the trick without compromising the challenge too much.

Gang Upgrades:

In ''RINGLEADER'', completely avoid all Blighter sabotages unlocks.

In ''INSIDER'', completely avoid the carriage unlocks.

In ''SWINDLER'', ONLY unlock ''ALE HEIST'' and ''SHELL COMPANY''.

The point of unlocking ''ALE HEIST'' is to provide more side activities and ''SHELL COMPANY'' will make side activities much more meaningful. The point of avoiding the other upgrades in ''SWINDLER'' is to keep you budgeting and encourages you to do more side activties for money instead of passively becoming a millionaire.


Overall, I've put a good 16 hours into a new playthrough with this guide and I have to say that it has changed my experience for the better. Hopefully sharing it will help other fans enjoy the game a lot more, too. =)

One thing to note here; some people prefer to have 'LOOT TAKEDOWN' enabled on the sub, but as I've said there, I prefer looting the old school stealth way because it opens more possibilities in the gameplay. Rather than making assassinations the simple be-all and end-all method of looting/progression, I like the prospect of trying to pickpocket the target without getting spotted or kidnap/lure/carry the target's body to a secure location to retrieve the items. There's always a sense of risk and urgency to it. That is what I mean by immersive.

Also, tools restocks too plentifully with it unlocked, like someone else mentioned there. Enemies drop smoke bombs, ammo, and other things far too easily. And like he also said, it's a little bit silly how you magically obtain stuff by killing. But if you still prefer to unlock it (that goes for 'INTIMIDATION' as well), I can't stop you.

Ubi-Banshee
06-22-2016, 08:16 PM
This is great! Awesome ideas for spicing up any re-plays of the game, thanks for sharing :o

BananaBlighter
06-23-2016, 06:38 PM
I too did something similar on my second playthrough. Though, while I am bothered by the simplistic, repetitive and unsatisfying combat system, I'm not too concerned about its difficulty. For me what was more important was creating a more challenging stealth experience.

For example I did not get the skill that allows you to use eagle vision through walls, especially since you can use the sound ring for that.

I also despise the 'first strike' skill for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is pretty much unavoidable, and will execute every time you get detected and enter combat. Secondly, especially the second tier, is overpowered and removes the punishment that comes with detection. Lastly, the animation IMO just looks really bad, worse that most of the other combat finishers. For these reasons I also avoided this one.

Obviously I didn't get the chameleon ability either.

Originally I was planning on avoiding a number of other skills too, but when I ended up at level 7 or 8, and really badly wanted some of the level 9 gear, I decided to purchase others like knife master, intimidation and those that increase carriage stats. As well as regretting this, I feel that after reading your post I could have avoided others too, like loot take down. I never thought about how it would affect missions with the objective of looting someone.

I also did almost the same as you with the gang upgrades, and looking back now I regret getting some of the crafting upgrades too. Though those to me aren't so much of a big deal because I hardly ever use the tools anyway, and without some of them, you can't use berserk darts or one-hit kill with a throwing knife on higher level guards.

The progression system is probably my biggest issue with this game, and it is the main reason I started a new playthrough so soon, something I never did with Unity (apart from in order to unlock the glitched master architect trophy). I hate skill trees in general, and this one is no exception. To me it makes no sense how one can 'buy' stat boosts and abilities with this magical XP that they earned from stabbing people.

But I can get past that so long as the skill trees provide meaningful, game changing abilities, not stat boosts, which is the case with 70% of Syndicate's skills. Evem those that do offer new abilities are mostly game changing in a bad way, in the sense that they make you overpowered. I'd much prefer it if the stat boosts were tied to gear, and the new abilities were tied to tools. Unity had it much better, forcing you to choose from a variety of gear to balance your stats to match your playstyle. If we take Syndicate, the majority of the stats cannot be altered, and those that can are mostly done through the skill tree, which is permanent. In Unity I could switch gear at any time to make the game more challenging. Also, with Syndicate's skill tree, there is no need to pick and choose certain stats over others, you can have them all. One of my favourite things in Unity was figuring out the optimal gear set up that would increase all the stats I wanted increasing. Unity's also had a skill tree but it was far smaller and most of the skills unlocked new abilities rather than stat boosts (with the health category being the main exception).

I don't understand why they made Syndicate so easy. Stealth in particular, as none of the previous games had it so simple. Especially with the tool balancing. There were several changes from Unity's system that made stealth overall much worse. For example, the smoke bomb smoke lasts a lot longer. You can now carry up to 30 throwing knives that have a very high range when compared to Unity's phantom blades. If you wanted to carry more of those you'd have to equip specific bracers and hence sacrifice other stats. The removal of the cherry bomb limited us severely in several situations so that we would often resort to simple but overpowered smoke bombs and throwing knives (I know that you can use throwing knives to attract guards, however not only does it work less than 10% of the time, but the range of hearing it so ridiculous it's not even funny, meaning that guards will at best turn around but not move from their position).

The rest of the tools are useless. I don't think I've ever used the berserk dart unless it was part of an objective. In Unity I used them all the time as distractions and such, because the stealth there was actually hard. And I don't think I need to say anything for the voltaic bombs (though that's more of a combat thing).

The worst bit is that most of these issues are things that wouldn't be fixed with simple difficulty settings. Maybe smarter AI and more strategically placed guards could help with some, but I doubt that higher difficulties will introduce new tools and change the whole progression system or certain abilities.

LucidReveries
06-24-2016, 01:54 AM
I did something similar after my first playthrough. I wish they didn't make the series easier after unity:(

cawatrooper9
06-24-2016, 02:59 PM
I did something similar after my first playthrough. I wish they didn't make the series easier after unity:(

To be fair, that's what a lot of RPGs are like. If you go through and do everything, collecting better loot and leveling up more, you're more likely to be overpowered by the end of the game. Some games (like The Elder Scrolls) level up enemies in tandem with the player, but certainly not all of them.

It's just more noticeable with Syndicate because doing the boroughs and stuff doesn't feel so much like grinding, and it happens a lot more quickly.

Fatal-Feit
06-24-2016, 11:46 PM
To be fair, that's what a lot of RPGs are like. If you go through and do everything, collecting better loot and leveling up more, you're more likely to be overpowered by the end of the game. Some games (like The Elder Scrolls) level up enemies in tandem with the player, but certainly not all of them.

It's just more noticeable with Syndicate because doing the boroughs and stuff doesn't feel so much like grinding, and it happens a lot more quickly.

That's a good comparison, but I believe it highlights the issue with the game. The problem with Syndicate is that it doesn't make its RPG elements feel appropriate. RPG gameplay are all about a sense of discovery and progression. Getting better should feel good and there should be a sense of pride for all your trouble. Most RPGs commonly include content that caters to players who enjoys maximizing their characters with harder dungeons or areas, or NG+ that has new content. With Syndicate, the whole map of London and its content are all formulaic. Familiar locations, familiar missions, same enemies, same items, etc. And no surprises at all. The first 3 sequences of the game (although, I'd argue that the first two sequences are VERY misleading) are basically the same as the entire game. The only sense of progression the player has are through the most standard of stats. More damage, more health, more tools, and more money. The only way you obtain better stats are through incredibly samey and conventional means. The way Syndicate is designed just doesn't warrant its progression system. It doesn't feel rewarding, and if anything, it's more damaging to the gameplay experience as a whole - because the less challenging and more exploitable it is, the more repetitive and bland playing it becomes. Also, I'd argue that collectibles are the most grinding I've done in video games. Take it from someone who used to hit the level cap in FF games. xD...

Fatal-Feit
06-25-2016, 12:20 AM
I too did something similar on my second playthrough. Though, while I am bothered by the simplistic, repetitive and unsatisfying combat system, I'm not too concerned about its difficulty. For me what was more important was creating a more challenging stealth experience.

Same here. Syndicate's stealth can become so easy that I don't know if it's fair to even call it stealth. However, I do enjoy trying to mix it up and get into combat every now and then to role-play as Jacob; which is why I tried to balance the combat system.


For example I did not get the skill that allows you to use eagle vision through walls, especially since you can use the sound ring for that.

I did not think about this at all! I'm going to jot it down.


The progression system is probably my biggest issue with this game, and it is the main reason I started a new playthrough so soon, something I never did with Unity (apart from in order to unlock the glitched master architect trophy). I hate skill trees in general, and this one is no exception. To me it makes no sense how one can 'buy' stat boosts and abilities with this magical XP that they earned from stabbing people.

But I can get past that so long as the skill trees provide meaningful, game changing abilities, not stat boosts, which is the case with 70% of Syndicate's skills. Evem those that do offer new abilities are mostly game changing in a bad way, in the sense that they make you overpowered. I'd much prefer it if the stat boosts were tied to gear, and the new abilities were tied to tools. Unity had it much better, forcing you to choose from a variety of gear to balance your stats to match your playstyle. If we take Syndicate, the majority of the stats cannot be altered, and those that can are mostly done through the skill tree, which is permanent. In Unity I could switch gear at any time to make the game more challenging. Also, with Syndicate's skill tree, there is no need to pick and choose certain stats over others, you can have them all. One of my favourite things in Unity was figuring out the optimal gear set up that would increase all the stats I wanted increasing. Unity's also had a skill tree but it was far smaller and most of the skills unlocked new abilities rather than stat boosts (with the health category being the main exception).

You see, my mindset here was mostly to mimic Unity's progression system. I focused on skills that offered more range of abilities and mechanics/features, and avoided the ones that created shortcuts and increased stats for those exact reasons.


I don't understand why they made Syndicate so easy. Stealth in particular, as none of the previous games had it so simple. Especially with the tool balancing. There were several changes from Unity's system that made stealth overall much worse. For example, the smoke bomb smoke lasts a lot longer. You can now carry up to 30 throwing knives that have a very high range when compared to Unity's phantom blades. If you wanted to carry more of those you'd have to equip specific bracers and hence sacrifice other stats. The removal of the cherry bomb limited us severely in several situations so that we would often resort to simple but overpowered smoke bombs and throwing knives (I know that you can use throwing knives to attract guards, however not only does it work less than 10% of the time, but the range of hearing it so ridiculous it's not even funny, meaning that guards will at best turn around but not move from their position).

The rest of the tools are useless. I don't think I've ever used the berserk dart unless it was part of an objective. In Unity I used them all the time as distractions and such, because the stealth there was actually hard. And I don't think I need to say anything for the voltaic bombs (though that's more of a combat thing).

I couldn't agree more here! In Unity, even with ALL of my equipment at level 5, I'd still find myself consuming almost all of my tools. The tools all had their purposes and were never overpowered. In Syndicate, as I said before, you could just hide behind one ledge and assassinate everyone with throwing knives...

In Unity, a common mechanic newbies would do is lure a group with cherry bombs and spam poison bombs, but it was a slow process and could hardly be considered an exploit.


The worst bit is that most of these issues are things that wouldn't be fixed with simple difficulty settings. Maybe smarter AI and more strategically placed guards could help with some, but I doubt that higher difficulties will introduce new tools and change the whole progression system or certain abilities.

IMO, the key to a strong stealth game is all in the enemy placement. The best stealth games with the smoothest levels tend to be the ones that allows you more room to play around with its mechanics. If there's too many guards jammed together, your options are limited, but if they're fewer and placed more spacious, the players will be open to trying out new strategies and mechanics. In Syndicate for example, while the AI are dumb and blind, they can be too closely pact or confined in a small area that your options still becomes limited. Sometimes you just don't have enough space or time to loot or pick up a body; to experiment using hallucinogenic darts without luring every single enemy to that spot; to silently assassinate only your main target close up and personal without getting detected by other guards.

[EDIT] Sorry for the double post. Please merge, thank you.