Review by _Bones_Zero_

"A Great Game Dented by a Few Unnecessary Faults"

[ OPTIONS ]
Controls:
The controls are a great part of this game and provide plenty of options for any gamer. Whether you are stoked about precise stylus control, claw-control of the thumb strap, or the retro Dual Mode with the D-pad and buttons, the options will almost always satisfy. The two modes are compatible with either right-handed or left-handed people and have the ability to choose among 15 different sensitivities and look inversion.

Audio:
The options for audio aren't as basic as you might imagine. The speakers can vary from Surround (you can tell which way your opponents are coming from), Headphones (also has surround but with headphones), and Stereo (for those who just want good sound). The other sounds are separated by SFX (sound effects), Music, and Mic (in-game chat voices). You can change the volume of each to your preference so if you don't like the music or the sounds of fierce battle rattle your ears, it won't be a problem.

Other:
This game has a few more features including Credits (whoooo...), Rumble Pak (is inserted in the Game Boy game slot on the bottom of the DS), and the most unique feature, the ability to view your license along with any friends you have on NintendoWiFi.com. The site has a leader board with stats but due to Nintendo's easily hacked Wi-Fi system, anyone on the board is a cheater. Best not to even bother with that except for comparing your record with friends.

[ SINGLE-CARD PLAY ]
For those who have friends without the game, you can do Single-Card Play. Your friend has to download the game's data and you can only do 7 lives with 7 minutes and the person without the game HAS to use Samus. Not to mention the long downtime in between matches and setting them up. This is nothing to be flattered about but then again, nobody would buy the game if they could enjoy the entire experience with an empty DS.

[ MULTI-CARD PLAY ]
For those with friends who DO have the game, you can connect through Multi-Card Play. Either create a hosted game or join a game hosted by a friend. This mode allows much more freedom as you can be whoever you want and change all the settings for each game. Friends can talk through messaging or voice chat but only the host can change the settings or start.

Also, once you join a game you can only leave by turning off your DS. As an added feature, if you have no friends nearby or want to be on the same team, you can use the Add Bot button to add in or take out computer controlled hunters. Each bot has 3 different difficulty levels but for most, the first and second levels are way too easy and the third is insanely hard.

[ NINTENDO WI-FI CONNECTION ]
Unbalanced Hunters:
The 7 different hunters, at a low level of play, are fairly equal. However, the higher the competition gets, the more you will see the choice of hunter go down. No matter how good you are with some hunters, you are limited by the "cheapocity" of their techniques.

To give you an idea, the best hunter in the game is Trace. He is able to get the sniper on every level even when some opponents can't and has the fastest alt-form in the game. Using his alt form, he can keep space between anyone and simply snipe them while they often have no way to fire back.

Lag:
The BIGGEST problem with the game, in my opinion, along with many others'. Lag is the effect of the signal taking longer to travel from your DS to someone else's or vice versa. The result is when you shoot someone on your screen, you are totally missing on theirs. In order to actually hit people who are moving, you actually have to shoot to the place they will be at in about half a second. This seriously ruins the game as sniping is even more important. It is already the most dominant tactic in the game but with lag, it is the easiest way to kill people.

Without lag, snipers can be taken out by others because one missed shot will result in them losing half their health. However, with lag, snipers only need one lucky shot while others need to land several lucky shots which simply doesn't happen. In somewhat rare cases, opponents will lag so bad their character appears to teleport and killing these people is almost impossible. The worst part is they can hit your just fine.

Find Game:
This is the random mode in which players are matched up with anyone else on wifi searching for the same criteria they are. The different options are Local or Worldwide, and Any or Match My Rank, for a total of 4 different searches.

However, be forewarned the Match My Rank search hardly ever finds an opponent your level. Why that is, is unknown but it is rumored to be that the game searches for an opponent with a similar win ratio. This is bad because newcoming players with 1 out of 1 win will be matched up with higher ranked players with a 100 out of 100 record.

You can not talk or communicate with people on random in any way except your name which is limited to 10 characters anyway. The ranks are from 1-5 stars, each star earned after an exponential increase in points by winning each battle. The only mode available is Battle for 7 minutes, first to 7 kills wins. This presents a major problem that the matches are so short. There are just way too many ways to lose without even getting a fair chance to fight back. The following list briefly explains each major problem you will find often these days.

Disconnecting:
The biggest problem, as it is simply unsportsmanlike. While disconnecting will make you lose points, some people have found a way around it allowing them to not lose any points at all. This is the sole reason why points do not matter anymore as, even if you are decent and can beat many people, they almost always disconnect out of pure spite. Even if they quit right before you win, you do not get any points. There is no way to prevent or report this behavior which is seriously killing each and every Wi-Fi enabled game.

Newb Farming:
It is first to 7 kills but the game doesn't care who so if you are matched up with a 5 star and 1 star, often, the 5 star will ignore you and keep killing the 1 star who is standing still not having a clue of what's going on. In less than a minute you lose without even dying because your opponent beat you to the newb.

Glitching/Hacking:
I won't lie to you, this game is REALLY glitchy. There are glitches on just about every level and players will freely abuse these online to ruin the game for others. Again, there is no way to report this so it will never stop, despite how much people want it to.

Hacking is not the same as glitching, but similar. Instead of abusing game physics to gain an advantage, hacking uses an outside tool to change the game physics on its own. Hacking allows users to become invincible, fly around to any place in a level, and have unlimited ammo. Luckily, Nintendo hasn't totally overlooked hacking and they are constantly banning users online who have been read to have used a hacking device. They are banned by not being allowed to connect to Wi-Fi with their DS which gives them their just desserts.

Friends and Rivals:
This section, unlike Find Game, has many positive notes but also a few negative. If you have added someone as a rival at the end of a random match game or added the Friend Code of someone you know in real life, you will be able to see them online here if they are on at the same time as you... at least most of the time... Unfortunately, this section of Wi-Fi is very glitchy so sometimes you might not be able to see friends online, but they can see you.

This section works like Multi-Card as someone has to host a game for others can join. Similarly, the host alone can change settings and start the game so be careful when trusting a rival as they might have friends team up on you. Other problems may occur in the form of game freezes when the game is started or game slow-down in 4 player matches, where the game has the same amount of lag but everything moves twice as slow. You walk, shoot, and even fall twice as slow as normal. This ruins the would-be fun 2v2 and 4 player Free For All game-types available through Friends and Rivals.

[ OVERALL SUMMARY ]
8.5/10

General Pros:
Great innovation with controls. Levels look great and have tons of strategic possibilities packed into them. Wi-Fi allows you to play others across the globe.

General Cons:
Characters are not even close to being equal at high levels of game play. Glitches and other cheap tactics are abundant and consume most of Find Game. Lag makes the actual playing of the game harder than it should be.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 01/16/07


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