Top critical review
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Wait for the price to drop! Or rent it first...
on 16 November 2008
For people who don't want to read the whole thing, here's a basic summary of my opinion of this title:
- It's a new experience.
- The first few levels and last few are pretty fun provided you can put up with dying quite a lot.
- When the combat and gameplay do work together it is fun.
- The visuals are nice!
- The music/sound is quite good.
- There are "that is SO cool!" moments that almost make up for the moments of frustration.
- The levels are usually pretty open with multiple ways to approach a problem.
- The story isn't bad!
- Combat system is hard to handle and quite often unavoidable in the later levels.
- Too much combat considering the system is flawed.
- Dodgy level design in some parts.
- High difficulty even on Normal, although Easy does alleviate this somewhat.
- Story could be better.
- You get railroaded at times - you don't always have multiple path choices.
- You can get lost quite easily at times and the in-game guide system isn't up to much when you do.
Things to keep in mind: you can pick guns off the floor with Y, which helps immensely. If you're not an uber FPS fan then play on Easy, I got owned on Normal, and even on Easy be prepared to die a lot.
Basically my advice is don't pay the full price for this game like I did. Wait for it to drop to say £20-25 or so, it might be more worth it then. I wouldn't say this game is worth the £35 or so I paid. I know people hate hearing this, but it most likely isn't going to be as fun (or as long lasting) as you think it will be. Or, rent it first!
So to the review. I've played all of the full game having loved the demo - so much that I pre-ordered after playing the demo about 25 times. I really thought I'd just find it enjoyable, face each challenge with good-hearted calm and just love the experience.
I have written this review to warn you that this game may not always be like this, or be as long lasting as you might think. The main game literally lasts 3 hours at most, including times when you play the level through for the first time and get stuck. There are race modes that you can do if you have 1337 sk1llz and can complete each level in record time (speed runs of levels are unlocked at game completion), or just want to see how fast you can do it, which gives a little replay value. I completed it within 2 days of buying. The demo level is the most enjoyable in the game as far as I've seen as well. Level design is not as good as you might expect, in fact in some areas it's downright poor.
You can get very lost and disorientated at times, mainly when you play levels for the first time. What makes this worse is the fact that you are CONSTANTLY getting SHOT AT. You don't get much breathing room at all. I think this is supposed to give you a sense of excitement and thrill (and it might for some) but for me personally it just becomes irritating and distracting a lot of the time. Especially when you get boxed in with literally 4-6 guys with machine guns wailing on you while you scrabble around for the one route to escape that the designers decided to put in. Yes that's right, in some areas you are comprehensively railroaded into taking one action, multiple paths be damned. You can use B to get a rough pointer to where you should be and it is helpful sometimes, but when you're stuck it doesn't really pull through (it points you at your goal location, not necessarily at the next correct wall/object/whatever to use to move on).
When you DO get 5 seconds to enjoy the acrobatics without being panicked by weapons fire, it can be great. But the way some parts of the levels are designed, at least for me, make the whole experience feel laborious rather than fun a lot of the time. This mainly occurs in the middle of the game, Chapters 4-6, where you must perform a series of Bond-esque but not very fun or practical tasks that will leave you grating your teeth. The game picks up again towards the end in chapters 7-9.
The combat is often clumsy, frankly. Normally the only viable strategy I found is to run INTO the gunfire and try and press Y at the correct moment before he kills you. Then I use the gun to kill the other guys, if I'm lucky. I have to forget the acrobatic wall running and leaping off to kick the guy and take his gun like we were shown in the videos. I find it is rarely practical to try anything fancy and they seem to keep aim on you even when you're wall running as if they were expecting you to do this and it doesn't phase them. If you try anything you tend to die rather quickly.
The storyline isn't very gripping, but it's not bad. The cutscenes are done in a weird half anime style that I don't personally find very appealing, but it's tolerable. You care what happens to Faith I guess. Most of the acting is pretty good, except for one character, Jacknife, who is awful. There are a couple of twists but I found that I saw them coming. It could be worse but it could be better.
Don't get me wrong, this game is far from awful, but it's also not as good as you might expect from all the hype. Not full price good anyway. It's not an epic game. I would recommend it to you but not until the price drops.