REVIEW SUMMARY: Awesome FPS that has it all – strong story, outstanding graphics, and overall fun gameplay. Look out Half-Life 2 and Doom 3!
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A great shooter that casts you in the role of an ex-special forces soldier trapped on an island belonging to an evil scientist filled with his mercenaries. Most of the time you fight either the mercs or the other, shall we say, employees of the evil doctor. You have a woman to rescue and a rocket launcher – what could be better? This game has the best graphics of any game so far for the PC, hands down. It makes extensive use DirectX 9 support of pixel shaders, vertex shaders, bump maps, custom lighting – and on almost every item – even meaningless props. The maps are huge with the ability to think ‘outside the box’ to solve problems (go straight through, go around, or go over the enemy.) The 5.1 surround audio is good, the voice acting (for the most part) fits, and the game is just out and out fun to play. This game gets it almost all right. The areas where it is weak are in the plot (mad scientists on an island, hmm, yup seen it) and in the story. No One Lives Forever had a better story-arc and still reigns supreme for this style of game. Oh, and the lack of ‘save anywhere’ is strange – it doesn’t hurt the game but it is noticably lacking for a PC title. I figure I spent 20 hours on the normal difficult level with a minimum need to replay a scene.
PROS: Best graphics in a game yet, fun ‘action hero’ gameplay, and a decent amount of open ended solutions to the games puzzles.
CONS: Some dialog is weak, the plot is a little stale, and the story (while good) could be even more, save game system is odd
BOTTOM LINE: If you miss this game, you’re going to be kicking yourself when everybody is talking about it for the next couple of years.
I could go on and on about the various ways to pass missions, but let me give one example. You have to make it across this lake – but you’re way above it on a cliff. Luckily, there is a hang glider right there. If you want, you can take it – but beware of the patrol boat and helicopter that come after you. If you want, you can skip the glider and walk down the side and around the lake, fighting bad guys there and ducking away from the helo.
But this is what I did – I sniped the guys in the boat, took the glider down to it, got in, used its rockets to shoot down the helicopter, then finished the guys on the shore off with the machine gun. All told, pretty sweet.
The game is filled with things like this – it pays to look around and see what might be there. There is one place with a guy sitting on a board that is propped up on a log. If you go above him, you can push a rock down on the other end and propel him into the air – think ‘see saw’ gone awry! 🙂