|Released||September 20th, 2016|
|Mode(s)||Single-player, multiplayer (Split-screen, online with 2KILL update)|
|Platform(s)||PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows|
|Input methods||Gamepad, keyboard & mouse|
!synth(pulse) is a first-person shooter video game designed by George Alder and Erik Miller, developed by CrazeWare and published by NINE100 Studios. The game consists of numerous levels with strong cyberpunk influences, and is characterised by changes in enemy patterns and level dynamics that are synchronised with the music for the level. The soundtrack of the game was a large focus, and consists of various electronic genres such as electro house, dubstep and synthwave, and levels with different genres of backing music will feel significantly different from each other. The game is cross-buy on PlayStation platforms, meaning players will only need to purchase it once for PS4 and Vita.
The plot of the game is kept relatively simple, as George and Erik wanted to keep the focus on the gameplay rather than hiding it behind cutscenes and exposition. The game is set on the colonized asteroid known as Orbitius, which has been locked to the Earth's rotation via a repulsor beam located in the Mojave Desert. The basic plot is that the player gets sent to different places on Orbitius to exterminate the threat of Husps, victims of an experimental xenon-based drug called Huspia. It is unexplained how the drug spread and why people were encouraged to use it, although several hints are placed throughout the game. The main faction of the game are the Digital Exterminators, who are all part of the Digital Extermination Department of the Orbitian Government. Each Digital Exterminator is equipped with DED-Armour and their preferred weapons, and are often sent out on missions dealing with the killing of Husps, as well as other general threats.
The main character of the game is Erius Rekker (Mark Rolston), a Rank 6 Digital Exterminator in the Digital Extermination Department. He isn't given a detailed backstory, only that he was originally from Warwick, Rhode Island and was moved to Orbitius with the promise of employment. He also quickly adapted to use of the DED-Armour, something which usually takes a couple of weeks at the very least. It is also known that Erius has been part of every rank of digital exterminators.
Other characters include Piora Hellis (Yvonne Strahovski), the Warden of Orbitius and the highest authority, Kalon Emmett (Karl Hanover), the General of the DED who only answers to Hellis, and the Hardline AI (Terri Brosius), which acts as the main control for Digital Exterminators when in their DED-Armour. Some of the boss Husps also have the ability to talk, such as Magnova (Andrew Kishino), a fire-obsessed arsonist that developed organic flamethrowers as part of his mutation, Killernaught (Fred Tatasciore), a raging lunatic that takes no care in anything, and Pulser (Armin Shimerman), an intelligent and smooth-talking gang boss that can partially and temporarily revert his Husp mutations.
The 2KILL update introduces two new characters, one of which is playable. The new playable character is Ramona Zanhael (Courtenay Taylor), a Rank 5 Digital Exterminator who is Erius' contrast in near-every personality trait. She is a lot more light-hearted while in battle and is generally more sociable, also is known to be quite clumsy, although fairly experienced. She manages to bond with Erius in the sub-story included in the 2KILL update. The other character introduced is Mach Morrow (Steve Blum), an older, inexperienced but still arrogant Rank 2 Digital Exterminator who takes great pleasure in talking down his superiors, especially Ramona.
- Begin Start
- Neon Burlesque
- Tribe Light
- Heart in Mind
- Enter the Storm
- String Theory
- Die Industry
- Bleed Italia
- False Euphoria
- Birth of Ruin
- In Rave
- Forever Swarming
- Broken Heaven
- Artificial Irrelevance
- Signal Menhir
- Carnival Foul
- New Age Battleground
- Embrace the Blizzard
- Glitch State
- New Age Battleground
- Main article: !synth(pulse)/Weapons
As with the level soundtracks, unique weapons were also a main focus of the development team, as they didn't want to use weapons like generic assault rifles or handguns. Instead, all weapons are designed to be fun to use and each weapon offers different capabilities, meaning that no playstyle is weaker than another. The weapons are divided into two categories, DED-Primaries, which are more powerful and are generally a DE's main weapon, and DED-Sides, which are often carried as back-up weapons or for use in appropriate circumstances.
The main weapon used in promotional materials is the Jawbreaker, which is considered to be Rekker's canonical preferred DED-Primary. The weapon is comparable to a traditional shotgun, although the pellets in launches are much larger while still being shot faster than usual shotgun pellets. The causes a very large area to be covered in one shot, although this is hampered by the gun only being able to be shot three times before reloading. The L-Taser is another weapon commonly seen in pre-release media, which is Rekker's favoured DED-Side. The full name of the weapon is the Lethal Taser, and it operates similarly to modern electrolasers. However, the weapon has near unlimited use as it can be charged, via the DED-Armour's hand guards, through the grip of the weapon.
Several weeks before the release of the game, George Alder confirmed that there would be four main downloadable content packs available for the game, the first being free. He also confirmed that a season pass would be available to allow the player to purchase all of charged DLC at a cheaper price, and getting early access to small, free content such as extra weapons. The purchase of the season pass also includes the full soundtrack of the game at no extra cost. Also, the season pass is cross-buy on PlayStation platforms, much like the game, so that PS4 and Vita users would only need to purchase it once.
On the day of release, Erik Miller confirmed that the free DLC package would be released as just an update for the game that was dubbed the 2KILL Update, which introduced a new sub-story that follows the main game and brings in a new playable character called Ramona Zanhael (Courtenay Taylor), a Rank 5 Digital Exterminator that acts as a contrast to Erius, being generally more light-hearted and approachable. The new sub-story introduces a selection of new levels optimized for co-operative play, although they can be played solo, and the update also allows the player to play all original levels cooperatively.
Around two months after the release of the game, the first main DLC add-on for the game was announced, Past Future. This add-on contains ten new levels that precede the events of the main game and features two new characters, Dana Crowe (Linda Hamilton) and Nobel Trinity (Peter Weller). The add-on is noticeably more over-the-top and cheesier than the main game, mostly stemming from the 1980s influences. The levels are stylised as an 80s vision of the future, and the characters and weapons are deliberately more ridiculous to match this. The music, while produced by modern artists, also has 80s influences, to make sure the homage is as dead-on as possible.
In December, 2016, the second main DLC add-on was announced during the 2016 NCS Holiday Event, named We Are Civilians. The story for this add-on focuses on two regular citizens of Orbitius who are left trapped in the quarantined city Carrow. The two characters in the add-on are Katy Glass (Laura Fraser) and Cassius Rain (Freddie Prinze, Jr.), who are both capable combatants but lack the weaponry or equipment of the Digital Exterminators. We Are Civilians has quite prevalent survival horror elements, heavily contrasting with the main game. The add-on's soundtrack and environments are also part of this contrast, with the levels being more macabre and the soundtrack being darker and more methodical.