We all long for unique and innovative games, which unfortunately,
but logically are very difficult to come by. Building your own pizza
empire would seems to fit this innovative game type, however for
some strange reason, Pizza Syndicate is not the first game with
the premise of building your own pizza parlor. I never actually
played Pizza Tycoon (the other title with this premise), but from
what I heard about it, it was a poor use of the "tycoon" name with
which we associate great games such as Railroad Tycoon and
Transport Tycoon. How a game about pizza could be interesting
whatsoever boggled my mind and hence I decided to throw on my
chef cap and toss some dough as I prepared myself for what could
have been the greatest restaurant simulation ever created!
Fortunately, I was not inspired to open my very own pizza parlor,
but I was inspired to wonder who in the hell came up with the idea
and the mechanics for Pizza Syndicate.
First of all, the interface is extremely f*cked up, to say the least.
While the artwork was fresh and the animation of the menus was
tastefully done, the actual navigation of the interface so incredibly
counter-intuitive that I found myself randomly clicking on the
icons. To get a description of what each button does you can rest
your mouse over it and then it scrolls the description across the
screen about as fast as the average sumo wrestler runs down the
street. Thus combining these two ingenious features we have one
of the most pathetic interfaces in any game I've seen.
I described the artwork in the interfaces as "tasteful" which is true,
but for me to explain what happened when the art team decided
to make the in-game graphics is a frightening task. If any of you
were graced by the intensely horrible graphics of beatdown, you
will know the value of Pizza Syndicate's in-game graphics. Not
only are the graphics terrible, but the people walk so damned slow
that it takes a full minute for them to cross your very tiny
restaurant. To top it all off, I'm pretty sure that each character has
an entire 4 frames of animation dedicated to them, making for
some extremely detailed waddling. I was sorely unimpressed with
Pizza Syndicate's graphical effort and I still wonder how game
companies can even contemplate releasing something with such
Admittedly ambient sound in Pizza Syndicate was well done, other
than the fact that it didn't reflect what you actually saw in the city.
The quality was high, and there were even semi 3d audio effects.
As I expected however, the remainder of the sound was extremely
bland, uninspired and was not even worth including. While
definitely not the worst sound in a game, it seemed that no effort,
or little talent was put into this aspect of the title and thus it
dramatically affected Pizza Syndicate's final rating.
Detail seems to be the primary design element of Pizza Syndicate
as there is an extreme amount of it in the game, as hard as that
may seem. A ton of elements in running your business are
required to be managed, such as loans, advertising, staff,
renovations, pizza creation, menus, etc. Not only that, but later in
the game you can start becoming involved in illegal activities such
as money laundering and even good old fashioned beatings.
Unfortunately, the huge amount of detail detracts greatly from the
gameplay, as when coupled with the O-So-Great interface it makes
managing your pizza empire extremely difficult. Stats are hard to
understand, and often are shown with icons instead of information
making it necessary to squint and guess just to see which topping
is the most popular with each target market group. Managing staff
and inventory is also extremely difficult; I couldn't even find out
how to fire any employees or how to stop renting a building or
why my food was bad. The tutorials are essentially useless as they
only explain the very basic elements of gameplay, which I
managed to figure out quite quickly on my own. The underworld,
or criminal aspect of the game is much less exciting than it
sounds. It suffers from the same interface and detail problems as
the business aspect of the game and despite the interesting
concept of including a criminal element in the game, the
implementation failed miserably. There are plenty more details I
could gripe about, but the key is that the gameplay failed and I
highly doubt you will find it in any way fun.
Multiplayer was absent which is not surprising when comparing it
with the rest of the game, but in this day of gaming almost every
game should have a multiplayer option, and Pizza Syndicate
didn't, so 0 out of 5 for that.
Playing Pizza Syndicate creates headaches due to its extremely
boring gameplay, poor interface and mediocre sounds. There is no
group of gamers that I feel would enjoy this game, and while I'm
sure a few select individuals will find it an engrossing experience,
I would chance a guess at the stability of their mental health, so
please PLEASE, stay away from this game.