SYNCED is a new free-to-play shooter that throws players into a sci-fi setting where nanomachines have ravaged the earth. As a “Runner”, you’ll battle swarms of murderous nanos while uncovering mysteries about the apocalyptic collapse of civilization. With co-op and PvP modes available, this is a multiplayer-focused experience for those who enjoy frenetic, ability-driven combat.
At its core, SYNCED includes many staples of the looter-shooter genre. You’ll blast through hordes of enemies, upgrade your weapons and abilities, and chase after powerful gear. The twist is your ability to “sync” with certain nanos after battling them, gaining them as AI companions who fight by your side. Between your customizable runner character, deployable nano “pets”, and team coordination in co-op, there is solid potential for experimenting with creative builds and strategies.
However, some reviews cite issues like repetitive mission structure, lack of long-term incentives, and a thin narrative backdrop. Still, with a budget price of free and a priority on nail-biting action over layered RPG elements, SYNCED may appeal if you just want satisfying shooting mechanics and care little about progression depth.
In this review, we’ll dive deeper into what this nanotech shooter gets right and wrong. Key strengths like the frenetic combat and cool abilities will be weighed against shortcomings in variance and lasting appeal. If you’re intrigued by the premise but unsure whether SYNCED’s positives outweigh the flaws, read on for a comprehensive evaluation.
Frenzied Combat and Abilities Create Thrills
At its heart, SYNCED is all about blasting through swarms of robotic enemies using heavy firepower and abilities that crystallize the chaotic fun. Core gameplay centers around undertaking missions in co-op teams of up to 3 players, unleashing your powers against hordes of nanos, upgrading yourself during the run, and taking down a boss nano at the end.
The gunplay itself is quite satisfying, with punchy sound design, nice recoil, and detailed weapon animations adding visceral impact to mowing down foes. Machine guns feel appropriately thunderous, while shotguns pack an extra brutal wallop up close. One caveat is the lengthy reload speeds, which disrupt the otherwise fast-paced combat’s flow when ammo runs dry. Still, the general shooting feels polished.
Even more thrilling than the guns is your ability to sync with “Primes” – stronger nanos – to gain AI companion allies. After wearing down their health bars, you can stab Primes to link them to your character. You’ll then be able to summon them in battle and unleash their unique powers. The four Nano types each provide different tactical advantages: the hulk-like Juggernaut absorbs damage, the Seeker deals high DPS, the Guardian provides shielding, and the Channeler offers healing.
Syncing with Primes and deploying your nano feels immensely satisfying. Whether you enjoy using the juggernaut to bulldoze through crowds or flank with the agile seeker, the nanos add variety and strategy to fights. Their abilities refresh quickly so you can liberally call them into action, leading to almost nonstop ability-fueled mayhem.
As you defeat foes and complete objectives, you’ll earn Radia currency to spend at Meridian Exchanges scattered through levels. Here you can acquire impactful combat perks like bonus critical hit damage, explosive enemy corpses, and more. The randomly rotating options encourage you to adapt your build and playstyle each run.
By the end, you’ll feel incredibly overpowered – but deservedly so after conquering the challenging gauntlet. The escalating difficulty and swarming enemies pushes your synergized abilities to their limit, creating hectic, rousing battles.
That core loop provides infectious fun, but some issues hold it back from greatness. After replaying early missions, the predictable structure and similar environments grow repetitive. The lack of compelling reasons to replay besides farming loot is also disappointing. While the gameplay itself entertains well initially, the void of any narrative context or meaningful metagame hurts lasting appeal over the long haul.
Still, if you’re seeking some easily digestible co-op shooting action rather than a layered RPG, SYNCED certainly delivers on fast-paced mecha mayhem. The colorful abilities and upgrade systems foster exciting experimentation during individual runs. Just don’t expect missions to stay fresh forever – the cookie cutter objectives cannot fully sustain the repetitious grind to the endgame.
Visuals and Audio That Immerse You in the Apocalypse
While SYNCED stumbles in some areas, its presentation quality certainly isn’t one of them. Featuring detailed environments and weather effects, evocative visual storytelling, and overall technical polish, the game looks and sounds like a AAA production.
The devastated open cityscapes you traverse are the real star here. Destruction never looks so beautiful as in SYNCED’s crumbling, vine-covered skyscrapers. Fluttering paper and abandoned toys tell haunting micro-stories of civilization’s demise. Dynamic clouds, lighting, and weather like acidic rain add further atmosphere. The Nanos themselves also contain mesmerizingly intricate details in their polygonal bodies and spectral textures.
The map design smartly intersperses open streets, perfect for large encounters, with ransacked interior spaces ideal for close quarters mayhem. From corporate offices, to residences, to stores, every location brims with environmental narrative about the old world. It’s clear levels were thoughtfully crafted to maximize both epic scale and environmental storytelling.
Character and equipment models flaunt plenty of flashy visual flair as well. The outfits boast intricate patterns and texturing that really pop in action, while weapons gleam with holographic lights and pulsing cores. A slight missed opportunity lies in the relatively grounded gear, as bolder fashion could have better matched the setting. Still, the overall presentation has undeniable panache.
On the audio front, the sound design is stellar all-around. Weapons thrum with bass, nanos digitally buzz and screech during abilities, and booming explosions shake your speakers. The voice acting also delivers, instilling some personality into the otherwise flat protagonists. Disappointingly, the soundtrack is oddly subdued to the point of being nearly inaudible. Some thumping battle anthems could have amplified engagement further.
Polish-wise, SYNCED is stable and smooth with no noticeable technical shortcomings. The menus are slick and intuitive, while gameplay avoids hiccups. The visuals scale well too, running excellently even on lower settings.
In many free-to-play titles, presentation takes a backseat to monetization. Thankfully, SYNCED bucks that trend with AAA quality world-building, visuals, and optimization. Few multiplayer shooters can compete with the level of craft and detail found here. If only the progression systems and mission design showed as much care and creativity as the audiovisual presentation.
Loot and Cosmetics To Chasing, But Little Else
As an online looter shooter, a key question for SYNCED is how satisfying and sustainable its progression systems are in the long run. Unfortunately, this proves to be one of the game’s weakest elements. While the cosmetic options and loot chase provide short-term goals, the lack of meaningful endgame and repetitive structure undermine lasting investment.
On the positive side, SYNCED ticks all the boxes when it comes to customization features. An extensive selection of skins for your character, weapons, and nanos offer plenty of cosmetic rewards to chase after through play or purchases. The battle pass also provides a drip feed of skins, currency, and gear to keep you grinding. Blueprint crafting allows upgrading weapons for higher stats if the random loot drops don’t cut it.
The bigger issue is that the gear itself has negligible impact on play. Only minor stat differences exist between rarity tiers, so you’ll plow through enemies all the same no matter your loadout. This minimized gear progression flattens the sense of advancement and achievement from loot.
Replayability suffers from the repetitive mission structure as well. Outside unlocking new characters, you’ll experience the same linear levels and objectives each run. The lack of dynamic endgame activities or deeper meta-progression systems hurts motivation to keep replaying.
The poorly incentivized replay factor ties into the game’s confusing monetization approach too. With new gear barely impacting strength, the only reasons to splurge on premium currency are cosmetics and XP boosts for faster battle pass leveling. But why rush levels when there are no new gameplay rewards waiting?
SYNCED gets the surface level progression features down with cosmetics and loot drops aplenty. But the insignificant gear, nonexistent endgame, and repetitive missions waste the potential for truly addictive long-term investment. Rather than providing satisfying depth, the systems only deliver temporary audience retention through a grindy treadmill.
More substantive multiplayer experiences incentivize replayability through ranking systems, random scenarios, player created content, and other evolving features. SYNCED will need comparable hooks to foster an engaged community long-term. For now, the hollow progression simply cannot sustain attention like the well-designed core combat does.
Co-op and PvP Offer Short-Term Enjoyment
While single player is available, SYNCED is fundamentally designed as an online co-op shooter. Groups of up to 3 can tackle story missions together, strategizing character ability synergies and annihilating exponentially more enemies than solo players could manage. The chaotic fun of blasting through swarms as a squad gives the game its most entertaining moments.
The three classes – DPS, tank, support – pair naturally together. Having a Juggernaut nano tanking up front while your Seeker flanks and a healer assists in back is extremely gratifying. VoIP enables coordinating the best nano deployments and player positioning to maximize destruction. When all cylinders are firing, SYNCED co-op provides some of the most intense and rewarding teamplay out there.
That said, significant matchmaking flaws hamper enjoyment for newcomers down the road. With no incentives to replay old missions, you’ll likely never find quick matches for early game content after the initial wave of players has moved on. This leaves new players forced to solo the grind or simply quit – neither great options.
The PvP modes deliver enjoyment as well by adding unpredictable human opponents to test your abilities against. The 3v3 format promotes team synergy, especially when you focus-fire vulnerable nanos. That said, the mode lacks ranked progression or leaderboards, undercutting competitive longevity.
Overall, blasting through missions and battling rivals with your customizable nano-powered runner undoubtedly creates fun moments of cooperative and competitive hero shooter action. But the community risks stagnation down the road without progression incentives or rankings to maintain engagement.
Right now, SYNCED’s multiplayer gameplay makes for a solid casual time with friends or randoms. But for it to grow into a long term co-op shooter you actively return to like Left 4 Dead, Deep Rock Galactic or Vermintide, more replayability and social features will be critical. The foundation is there, but currently SYNCED’s online modes only offer temporary entertainment rather than an evolving service.
Intriguing World Undermined by Forgettable Cast
On the narrative front, SYNCED delivers an intriguing sci-fi premise but fails to meaningfully leverage it with compelling storytelling or characters. While the nanotech apocalypse provides a strong backdrop, the minimal plot and bland protagonists leave the setting’s potential largely untapped.
The basic setup has promise: nanomachines originally created to better humanity have gone rogue and all but annihilated civilization. Now the dregs of mankind attempt to uncover how and why the cataclysm occurred. It’s a template for an emotionally driven story about hubris and the dangers of technology.
But rather than exploring those themes, SYNCED relies on environmental storytelling alone. The eerie, discarded artifacts and destruction-wracked cityscapes tell an evocative tale of the old world’s demise. Recordings and documents relay intriguing snippets about corporate greed and scientific malfeasance. This indirect method succeeds at worldbuilding but fails at meaningful narrative engagement.
Without any central storyline or high stakes to invest in, you feel less like an actor in this world and more like a tourist passing through it. There are no memorable characters to grow attached to either. The playable heroes are as generic as their military callsign names, spouting cliched one-liners without any unique flair or development.
By the end, while you understand the history of how this world ended, you feel no personal connection to it. And without that emotional anchor, it’s difficult to care about piecing together the past or staying invested in the future.
The melancholic atmosphere and cryptic lore contain the blueprint for a compelling sci-fi narrative if properly utilized. The addition of cinematic story campaigns focused on specific characters could realize that promise and give context to the multiplayer missions. For now though, the glimmers of a great backstory remain tragically unfulfilled next to the paper-thin cast.
SYNCED’s world crafts an effectively haunting post-apocalyptic backdrop. But artful environmental storytelling alone cannot substitute for an actual plot and characters that instill heart and purpose into the experience. Here’s hoping future updates give this fiction the attention its fascinating premise warrants.
A Flawed but Fun Shooter That Could Be More
At the end of the day, SYNCED delivers an enjoyable core combat experience but fails to truly excel due to underdeveloped progression, narrative, and mission content. It nails the essential shooting and abilities that provide instantly gratifying play sessions. However, the lack of variety, depth, or purpose beyond that core fun undercuts its staying power.
Compared to competitors like Warframe and Destiny 2, SYNCED lacks the engrossing lore, satisfying gear grinds, and evolving endgame offerings that make those titles compelling long-term investments. It is more in line with wave-based co-op shooters like World War Z that focus on frenetic action over progression. But even those games offer some key advantages like procedural campaigns.
Ultimately, SYNCED sits squarely in the middle of the pack – providing neither a AAA level sci-fi epic nor a wholly unsatisfying experience. The poorly utilized setting, repetitive objectives, and flat characters hold it back from being a multiplayer shooter you actively stay engaged with long term. But the superb combat, abilities, and presentation still deliver plenty of visceral thrills in the moment.
So is SYNCED worth playing? That depends on what you seek. If you crave memorable narrative and evolving breadth of content, this game will leave you wanting. But if you desire some easily accessible, beautifully presented co-op shooting mayhem and care little about shelf life, give SYNCED a shot. Just don’t expect it to steadily satisfy beyond the initial thrill. With more depth and vision, SYNCED could become a genre standout rather than the middle of the road experience it currently presents. There is untapped potential here.
In summary, SYNCED succeeds as kinetic popcorn entertainment but falls short as a game that hooks and nourishes in the long run. Unless future updates bring more meaningful variety and purpose, it remains a mere palate cleanser rather than a main course meal.
SYNCED provides a fun hit of frenzied co-op shooting action, but lacks the narrative depth and gameplay variety to keep players engaged long term. The polished combat and abilities deliver intense thrills, but the repetitive structure undermines lasting appeal. This is a popcorn flick of a shooter - extremely playable in small doses, but unlikely to satisfy beyond the initial buzz. The exhilarating core gameplay and stunning presentation keep SYNCED enjoyable in the moment. However, the paper-thin story, forgettable characters, and repetitive mission structure prevent it from earning a higher rating. SYNCED masters the fundamentals of shooter combat but overlooks the metagame hooks and content updates required to flourish as an ongoing service. Enjoy it while it lasts, but don't expect something with staying power.
- Satisfying shooting mechanics and gunplay feel
- Cool abilities like syncing with and deploying AI nanos
- Gorgeous graphical presentation and detailed environments
- Polished technical performance
- Great sound design and voice acting
- Fun, frenzied co-op and PvP modes
- Intriguing sci-fi premise and environmental storytelling
- Repetitive mission structure lacks variety
- Forgettable characters and lack of narrative engagement
- Minimal progression and shallow loot/meta systems
- No compelling incentives for continued replay
- Matchmaking issues for newcomers
- Strange monetization approach
- Oddly quiet and subdued soundtrack
- Missed potential for deeper RPG elements