Ever since Synduality: Echo of Ada was announced during Tokyo Game Show 2022, the game was pretty much a mystery for a long while. Apart from an anime tie-in that serves as the sequel, little is still known of what it is, and more importantly, how the gameplay is like.
During Tokyo Game Show 2023, I was given a chance to play roughly 15 minutes of Synduality: Echo of Ada to get some answers on what the gameplay is like and see if this upcoming PvPvE game can live up to its potential!
Synduality is based on a prevalent theme, a divergence of humans and AI. The theme is also evident in actual gameplay, where players will gain direct control of all-weather mechanical bipeds called Cradle Coffins. Being all-weather isn’t just a tagline, as the environmental effects actually play a role during exploration and battle, whittling down your armor and health the longer you stay exposed.
But before that, the most important question is how does Synduality actually play like?
To properly describe the gameplay experience, Synduality is actually a mix of a few different concepts like the Dark Zone from The Division paired with some hints of battle royale like opening equipment caches, all while exploring and dealing with both PvP and PvE elements.
Players will control an upgradable Cradle Coffin throughout the session, and the main objective in Synduality is to mine and collect as many AO Crystals as possible within the given time limit and extract yourself from the battlefield successfully or lose your gathered materials and items. It sounds easy enough, except monsters called Enders are on the hunt as well.
Enders are Xenomorphic creatures that tend to gather near the valuable AO Crystals, and during rainy conditions, will become a greater threat to players. Some Enders are basic enemies, most of which can be disposed of with a few bullets, while some will be more of a challenge and can even fly around the environment.
To help deal with threats, players will gain the help of a Magus, an AI-equipped humanoid robot designed to complement human intelligence that will assist players by calling out threats on the field, along with warning players of impending danger. Magus behavior will evolve as you the game goes on, and will tailor their assist style to meet that of their owners.
Controlling Cradle Coffins in Synduality is not as fast-paced as, say, mech titles like Armored Core. There’s a certain heft to these beasts, and while they can dash and dodge, verticality isn’t their strong suit as they can only hop and jump over certain obstacles.
The more resources you gather in Synduality, the riskier your stay in the battlefield gets. As enemies and opponents lurk across the map, you are always at risk of getting jumped and losing the items you worked hard for. With such circumstances, there will always be the possibility of griefers, but the development team has stated that Synduality will have a system in place to warn other players and that more information about it will be revealed soon.
Getting to the extraction point doesn’t mean an instant win either. Should players trigger the elevator that takes them out of the battlefield, other players will be notified and this could mean an opporunity for them to obtain valuable resources. The remaining seconds that count down before a full extraction is tense and players will have to be on their toes to get out safely.
With the limited time we had, it was easy to see what approach Synduality is going for, but the session left us more a few more questions that we’re hoping gets answered in the coming months, such as how these crystals are being used, along with any semblance of upgrading or character progression. These are big unknowns, and is worth checking out information for before we can really see how the core loop of the game is.
Synduality, based on the build we played, still feels rough around the edges, but similar to the valuable AO crystals, there’s an interesting concept there that still needs further polish and development to realize the potential.