With so many games launching in 2023, you would be forgiven for missing out on SYNCED, a hidden gem free-to-play third-person shooter that has launched after slowly but surely building a community of players from its various testing phases.
With a neat spin on the online multiplayer shooter space, SYNCED has you battling in a war-torn world with unique abilities, tantalising loot to collect and plenty of gear to be upgraded. Oh, and did I mention that you have a choice of awesome robot companions to fight by your side?
So… what is SYNCED?
From Level Infinite and NExT Studios, SYNCED allows you to run solo missions or team up with others in a futuristic world. Here, you’ll play as a Runner, each with their own skills to take into account. Layla, for example, is able to use a cloak to go invisible while in combat, while Dr. Stone is perfect for healing himself and others. Straight away, the applications for combining useful team members in online play are apparent.
The twist here is that you won’t just have access to your Runner, but also Nanos, which are the robotic creatures you’ll be battling. You have to “Sync” the Nanos you defeat in order to utilise their companion class abilities. It’s very satisfying to take down a foe and then use their abilities for yourself, and over time, your battle tactics will evolve, as the Nanos each have their own customisable mods.
Each Nano can cater to different play-styles; Guardian, as the name implies, is equipped with an energy shield to defend against enemy fire. Crusher uses their giant fists to lay the smackdown, while Seer is able to survey the battlefield and highlight enemy positions. Finding the right combo can be crucial when it comes to trickier missions, so it’s best to experiment and find one that works best for you.
The rhythm of battle
Each mission serves as a run, taking down Tyrant Nanos in PVE Dead Sectors, but you can also challenge human opponents in PVP matches, where you’ll need to Mod your Runner, weapons and Companion Nanos to ensure you can compete effectively with other players.
Most Dead Sector missions have you moving quickly through the level, taking down a series of enemy groups before finishing off the stage with a more intense battle. These battles involve respawning foes and an additional objective to keep your eye on. You’ll collect power-ups and
loot along the way, and the longer you take to complete each mission, the more difficult it becomes, so it pays to keep moving.
Importantly, combat feels good, which saves the missions from feeling repetitive. Both the abilities and guns that you use as a Runner along with the more powerful abilities you can access with your Nanos are crunchy and punchy in the best way, and it makes for a solid experience as you progress and get stronger. I’m looking forward to seeing what other types of objectives might be in store in the future to add some more variety.
I found SYNCED to be immediately familiar with its online setup. You have your hub, known here as Haven, where you’ll take on missions. It’s also where you’ll be able to trade in-game currency and resources for upgrades and gear, along with taking on additional side quests for you to work towards. It’s a simple yet satisfying approach that works well.
Let’s get spooky
Given it is the spooky pumpkin season, SYNCED is getting on board with a Halloween event that is running until the end of the month, called The Haunting of Haven.
Firstly, Haven will have art packaging for festivals, including Halloween trees, pumpkin heads and more. During the festival, there will also be different interactive mechanisms in the game, such as festival treasure chests or specific monster packaging. Also, there will be in-game drops and specific holiday tasks with holiday currencies that can be redeemed for limited-time rewards.
The Haunting of Haven isn’t even the game’s first seasonal event, with ‘Movie Night’ launching just last month. As SYNCED’s first seasonal event, Movie Night helped to set the pace, injecting the game with extra cinematic action including new challenges, rewards and visuals that added a lovely flourish to the base game. With two seasonal events in just two months, you can tell SYNCED is ready to support its player base wholeheartedly.
It’s nice to see that even in its early stages, SYNCED is committed to offering community-themed events, which will hopefully continue to help it foster a loyal fanbase.
A promising future
Even just a month after its official launch, SYNCED has a lot of potential. For a free-to-play game, it looks stunning and runs smoothly, even with a lot of action on screen at once. Its aesthetic is reminiscent of games like Destiny and Warframe in the best way, and it’s an easy world to get lost in as you complete mission after mission.
It’s also worth noting that there isn’t heavy monetisation in SYNCED; at least, it’s certainly not in your face all the time. The gameplay loop is enjoyable, with cosmetic items and currency boosters available in its in-game store for those who want to invest. But it’s not compulsory, and I’ve found plenty of enjoyment without spending a cent, which bodes well.
If SYNCED stays on its current trajectory, it could easily carve its own path amongst the field of other online free-to-play shooters on the market. Considering its unique riffs, high production values and strong commitment to its community, I certainly hope it does.
Previously, SYNCED players could even get a free month of Discord Nitro and a SYNCED Gift Pack, and you can unlock in-game items by watching SYNCED on a Twitch channel with drops enabled, so you really have all bases covered if you want to get stuck in!
- SYNCED offers a unique spin on free-to-play shooters, with gorgeous graphics and a satisfying gameplay loop.
- Each mission offers a variety objectives, with a good mix of PVE and PVP.
- You can get involved in the spooky Halloween event right now.
- With community support, events and monetisation that doesn’t feel force, the future for SYNCED has a lot of potential.
SYNCED is available now and free-to-play on PC via Steam and the Epic Games Store. It’s also coming soon to PS5 and Xbox Series X|S, helping to further bolster the game’s important future. You can find out more about SYNCED here.
This article is sponsored by SYNCED.