Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Venom Games, Human Head Studios
Platforms: Xbox 360 and PC
Players: 1-8; 8 Online
You're put in control of a Cherokee Indian named Tommy, who is pretty badass right from the get go. You start off in a bar, which your girlfriend Jen owns, and is the setting where you and the bars occupants (excluding the two you just defaced with your wrench) are plucked from the earth into an alien spacecraft, where you’ll spend the rest of the game, the whole 7 or so hours...
To protect yourself and save the world, your going to need some serious weaponry to take these alien bastards on, and thankfully that's what your given. You've got your trusty wrench from the start of the game to help out when your ammo is low, but it doesn't cause that much damage, making it useful only in the first level or so. You soon obtain a machine gun/sniper riffle hybrid off of your first Hunter, and you'll use it a lot throughout the game. Some of the other weapons you obtain are, another machine gun which fires a lot more faster and dishes out more damage than the hybrid, you also pick up an acid gun which works like a shotgun with acid rounds, a leech gun which has 4 different modes of fire, which include fire rounds, an ice beam, an electric pulse, and lastly a constant ray of energy, all modes are great given the right situation. There's also a rocket launcher for dealing some major damage and grenades. Now these aren't your regular grenades, these are actually alien bugs that you pick up early on in the game, and to 'pull the pin' so to speak, you rip off one of the creatures legs which is pretty sweet the first time you see it. That about sums up the weapons, i felt they could've added a few more to the mix, but the game is very short, so i don't know how well that would've worked. These weapons are biomechanical, so most animate, and look pretty cool e.g. while running around with the acid gun, you see acid dripping out of the gun, and the bug grenades are squirming in your hand, which is quite neat, and really brings the game to life.
The levels in the game are fairly generic, but no one really expected the levels to be very diverse. There are 22 levels in total, with a couple of them not really being 'levels', more like little training sessions that introduce Tommy to some new abilities, such as being able to leave your body via 'spirit walking' (kind of like an outer body experience), and the ability to wield a bow when in 'spirit mode' and also being able to cross over to the 'spirit world' whenever you die. Now that little feature (crossing over to the spirit world when you die) is bit of a hit and miss. It works well enough and i think it was a good idea in general, but i think it makes the game a little too easy, as you spawn back to the exact same spot you died in when you recover. To recover from your wounds and get back to your mission to save your girl and the world, you have to shoot down 2 different types of wraiths, the red will restore your health and the blue will restore your health/fatigue in 'spirit mode', these a fairly easy to shoot down. Spirit walking works quite well and adds a lot to the gameplay because when your in this mode you can walk though force fields that Tommy couldn't, then flick a switch that'll bring a force fields down, allowing Tommy to pass, you can also get some stealth kills while spirit walking too ; )
The game looks great overall thanks to the use of the 'Doom 3 Engine' and the art direction (which i love). The game runs at 30fps and mostly maintains that throughout the game with the occasional hick up here and there, but for the most part it's perfectly fine, but 60fps would obviously been a lot better. Some of the textures are great, such as some of the pulsing segments on walls, and some of the metallic objects, there are also a fair share of low res textures, seen mostly on the character models and the environments, but that's hardly noticeable in motion. The lighting in the game is great, objects and characters cast convincing shadows and the environment looks colourful from all the lights/glows, though don't think the game is a bright one, the game is mostly very dark, though not to the point where you need a flashlight like in Doom 3. Given the fact that the D3 Engine is a few years old now and the Xbox 360 is a brand new piece of tech, you'd think that at 30fps and some low res textures that they'd apply some anti aliasing, but it doesn't feature any at all, which is disappointing as the 360 is definitely capable of providing it.
The game also supports multi-player, both online and offline. The offline mode is crippled in a way for most, as you can't play offline without the use of more than 2 Xbox 360 consoles via link cables and two TV's also, it's bit of a shame really.
Well this games been a long time coming, it's been in development since 1997 and was even cancelled at one stage, but the wait has been worth it. Overall i thought the game was great, if your a fan of Doom 3 or Quake 4, then you'll love this. The introduction of portals offer something unique and further enhances the gameplay combined with the spirit walk. Though the game is a short one, i think it's worth the price of admission. If all mentioned in the review doesn't sound like a game you'd play, then maybe the easy 'gamer points' up for grabs could tempt you into giving it a go, as the game isn't very difficult.
Gameplay - 7
Graphics - 8
Sound - 8
Value - 7
Tilt - 9
Final score: 7.8