Thinking Outside The Box – A Desync Review


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The Foregone Syndicate and Adult Swim Games have combined their efforts to give us DESYNC, a first person action shooter with incredibly awesome art design. It's a solid action game, with fun combos called "Attack Sequences" which can be pretty fun to pull off. You've also got a streak counter and overkills. Gives me an interesting sense of nostalgia with those. It's not that streak counters are exactly rare, but I've played so many years of action games that just having one brings me back to the "old days." This time, you're carrying a gun though, not a sword. And that's the sort of thing I like about DESYNC.

You can also sync some enemies to steal their powers or defenses for your own. Pretty nice Kirby action there. You can revisit older levels for an extra challenge in the Dark Zone, possibly with new weapons. So there is some replay value there.

DESYNC markets itself as an "uncompromising first person shooter" and it is that. There's a decent difficulty curve, but nothing completely out of step for a game that wants to test player's FPS abilities. I mean, if I can manage to flail my way through it at the end of a long work week, running on almost no sleep, it can't be that bad can it? Not that there isn't a challenge, and not that it can't be punishing, but DESYNC does itself a disservice by claiming to be "uncompromising." However, some enemies are a ridiculous challenge. They move faster than you, are tougher than you, and can change direction in mid-air. But that's what you signed up for.

Granted, the development team have already rolled out three patches to the game since it released on March 23rd to tweak balance issues and increase late game playability. And perhaps the reason why the game isn't "uncompromising" is because it allows you to creatively tackle challenges. So even when you die four times on the same mechanic, you think "okay how else can I do this?" and that's fun. Whereas some games just want to punish you for not having lightning-quick reflexes, DESYNC lets you custom the game to yourself a bit.

It's an FPS that looks nothing like the FPS we're used to. There are bright colors everywhere – pink! In a first-person shooter! – and the tron-like graphics make for a really fun, entertaining playthrough. Overall the aesthetics and the customization here are the big selling points for DESYNC.

Movement is where things get tricky, as it's a PC game, many are playing with a mouse and keyboard, and the movement speed is a bit slow, the controls not always the smoothest. Which in an FPS can be somewhat distracting. Not the worst thing that could happen, but it did strike me as not-quite-right while playing.

The levels are also a bit cramped for people who try and circle-strafe. That's not something you'll be able to do here. That very well could have been intentional, as circle-strafing can sometimes ruin a game's balance. But as I'm not a circle-strafer, it didn't cause me much trouble other than giving a slightly claustrophobic atmosphere, which struck me as kind of cool, actually. It's like a series of long hallways in a horror movie, you just know something is going to go wrong.

Still, the game is a leader-board experience. You're here to get that top score. And it's great for that, but you can just play it for the challenge, which is nice. Honestly, it plays a lot like Bulletstorm so that should tell you everything you need to know about how DESYNC handles. But it isn't a Bulletstorm clone, DESYNC really shines when you use what is unique about it, when you sync and desync enemy powers and defenses.

It's an FPS that isn't afraid to think outside the very, very small box FPS games have become.

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About Madeline Ricchiuto

Madeline Ricchiuto is a gamer, comics enthusiast, bad horror movie connoisseur, writer and generally sarcastic human. She also really likes cats and is now Head Games Writer at Bleeding Cool.

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