Published on April 2nd, 2024 | by Marc Rigg

SYNDUALITY Echo of Ada Closed Beta Test @SYNDUALITY_GAME @BandaiNamcoAU

This weekend I deployed into the closed beta test for the newest sci-fi extraction shooter to hit the block, SYNDUALITY Echo of Ada, developed by Game Studio Inc and published by Namco Bandai.

Piloting massive mechs called Cradlecoffins and accompanied by your Magus – an AI partner to help you survive in the wilderness, the setup is pretty typical of the genre. As a player, you’re sent into a hot zone to gather intel, collect resources, complete missions, and then extract from the area, hopefully, while still in one piece.


SYNDUALITY Echo of Ada does a few things differently from the standard extraction shooter formula, however. Probably most interesting is the part weather plays on your mech. While roaming the environment the area can be hit with anything from a light shower to prolonged storms of dangerous, acidic rain.

This rapidly reduces the durability of your Cradlecoffin, and when the meter representing it hits zero, you start to take damage. Getting caught in a quick downpour while hunting for an objective isn’t that big of a deal, especially if you’re at full health and durability, but get caught in a storm in the middle of a fight without somewhere suitable to take cover, and you might be in trouble.

It’s an interesting take on the randomised weather that more open-world games tend to have, that’s been woven nicely into gameplay.

There’s a pretty heavy emphasis on crafting, too. Everything from new weapons and cradle parts to ammo and consumables can be produced from the huge number of debris and junk found lying around the map. Even your home base takes advantage of the crafting system, with it being completely upgradable and having dozens of options for things to build and modify.

Scavenged, bought, or crafted parts can be used to customise your towering mech in a system similar to that in Armored Core VI. Chassis, legs, arms, and weapons are all interchangeable, each bringing their strengths and weaknesses. There’s a lot of scope for personalising a build with almost any combination of looks and stats one could desire.

I felt that the gunplay was a little weak during my time with the beta, this is mostly down to the sound design, however. A lot of the weapons lacked any real impact when being used, and a lot of them just felt weak or underpowered. I imagine much of this can be balanced before the game’s release, though that wouldn’t address mediocre sound effects.

My main annoyance with Echo of Ada was audio-related, specifically your AI companion’s audio. It’s all in Japanese. Now this isn’t something I inherently have a problem with. However, they vomit dialogue constantly, a lot of which is important to hear, or I guess read. The problem stems from the fact that the subtitles are small, in a difficult-to-read font, and placed inconveniently at the side of the screen, rather than where you’d usually find them, and as such it constantly frustrated.

On the other hand, visually the game is a treat. The environment is crammed with foliage, debris, and ruins. You can’t go for over 10 seconds without seeing something new and interesting to explore. It’s perhaps a little too full in some places thinking about it, traversal doesn’t really suffer from it on a moment-to-moment level, but I spent a lot of time checking the map to make sure I was going the right way.

Both a fidelity and frame rate mode were available. The graphics mode suffered some performance issues, frame rate noticeably dropping whenever the weather effects kicked in but was otherwise surprisingly playable for a 30fps mode in a fast-paced game.

The performance mode seemed to maintain 60fps or very close to it most of the time, and the only difference I could spot between it and the fidelity mode was the draw distance of objects was a lot shorter, meaning that a lot of objects frequently ‘popped’ into view.

Despite the flaws, I enjoyed what little time I had with SYNDUALITY Echo of Ada (a weekend never feels like long enough for this sort of thing!) I was pleasantly reminded of Phantom Crash on the original Xbox and Chromehounds on the Xbox 360, two series I’ve been desperate to see make a comeback.

It was occasionally laggy, and the audio got on my nerves relatively quickly, but I’m cautiously optimistic about this one. The core gameplay is solid and there’s a lot of accompanying content, so I’m eager to see how the full game turns out.

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