Satellite Reign is another Kickstarter-funded game. Making over £440,000 in the month this aims to be a modern homage to the Syndicate series. Conveniently I have Syndicate lying around (EA was offering it free a while back.) So just for you lucky people I played a game as old as me to review this game. If you loved Syndicate, you will definitely love this.
So Satellite Reign is part RTS, part RPG and part squad game. Think something along the lines of Dawn of War II meets Deus Ex and you can definitely see the homage to Syndicate. You take the weak squad and build them all up until you can take on even the greatest of corporations/enemies. The gameplay cycles through the typical build up and improve cycle to take on harder missions. The game offers a viable stealth, assault or mix option for gameplay.
The mission structure of the game is fairly rigid and slow. Most of the missions boil down to gaining access to a base or stealing some items. It is surprising how much of an empire can be taken down by petty theft. The stealth and assault options are vastly different. You can blow open a door and blast everyone away or you can sneak around the guards with one or more of your agents and hack your way through. The best part is that both options are completely valid styles of gameplay. Styles can be mixed together: control a civilian to attack enemies and distract them whilst you sneak around the back. There is such a satisfaction in mastering the mechanics and carrying out a flawless attack, even though the gameplay can be repetitive.
Don’t think that this satisfaction is easily won though. This game punishes quickly and harshly for failure. The early game starts you with basic pistols and no remorse once the tutorial is done. The growth systems are well implemented, with XP being shared across agents as you see fit and specialisation options for each character. Equipment is diverse also, with various styles of artillery such as laser, ballistic and plasma being effective or ineffective against certain types of armour. Upgrade systems allow enhancement to characters as you would expect and attachments to firearms, most notably the silencer.
The sense of progression gives you a sense of satisfaction when you complete an objective. Later game it can be a bit too easy to kit out in armour and miniguns and hammer through enemies that used to be troublesome yet this doesn’t mean the stealth can become unsatisfying, and completing a mission with minimal kills was how I enjoyed playing the game. The game also gives a good length tutorial to gain your footing with the mechanics and is one of the best tutorials I’ve played in a while. Everything was placed out for you to slowly increase in complexity and button prompts allowed you to see where all of the mechanics and options in the game were hidden.
So this game is sounding good so far. But how is the environment? Well by the gods the environment is stunning. The rains pours down to the lowest reaches of the city with neon light being reflected off the puddles. This reminds me a lot of the China Area of Deus Ex Human Revolution meets Blade Runner. The continuous flowing environment is quite beautiful and sounds organic. There is no physical barrier between civilian areas and restricted areas, with civilian populations mixing with the enemy population being part of the normal gameplay. Enemies will bully and push around the NPC’s when they interact. The soundtrack for this game also fit the 80’s motif of cyberpunk (think Far Cry: Blood Dragon style.)
One of the best things about this game though is how little is wrong with it. The only difficulty I’ve found is that if you require more than one attempt at something to master it you will be punished badly. I also found the graphics a little lacking, especially as you can zoom quite close to the characters. Up close the environment is a little less defined and detailed than I would like. However you will play most of the game at some distance from the characters so this is rarely an issue.
Satellite Reign is a case of Kickstarter done right. A quality product which lives up to the promise of being a homage to Syndicate with great leaps forward in its design and gameplay. This game gets a 4.5. This game has definitely distracted me from much bigger titles for good reason. 5 Lives Studio should be proud of their creation.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.