Review by PiIsARational

"A Retrospective"

Ahh, Daikatana. Everyone remembers the ads, the promises of John Romero making you his b*tch. Unfortunately for Romero, the game fell short of it's expectations when it was released in 2000, almost three years after the promised date. In any case, I'll own up to actually purchasing this game when it came out in 2000 and I don't regret it. The game itself has it's flaws, but overall I could see where Romero wanted to go with this game.

Let's start out with the good:

For me, I've always been a fan of Romero's level design and in this game it does show. He knows how to make levels fast paced but still have some detail and atmosphere. Definitely fun times playing on some of these maps.

The RPG elements worked good for me, actually it's what started my interest in RPG games in general. It makes you feel as if all that hacking and slashing was worth it to become a bit more powerful. I think Romero balanced the RPG elements quite well.

The controls to this game aren't so bad either and the engine speed and stability are top notch (at least revisited, I don't remember how this was in 2000).

Multiplayer and Co-op moods are great. I've had some fun times, and believe it or not, there is an active Daikatana online community going on today.

Now let's get on with the bad:

A lot of people were pissed off with the graphics when this game was released. People were cited saying that the graphics were actually WORSE than Quake II's, the engine that was used to build this game. This is true to some extent, I thought the lighting in this game was fairly good and was appropriate but the character models in this game are fairly poor. They're pretty blocky and look rushed. Some of the game's textures feel rushed as well. However, this didn't stop me from playing this game. Maybe because I originally played Quake II in software mode, and got a voodoo 3 a few months before Daikatana, I don't know but I know it was never a concern for me.

The biggest issue that every reviewer has to say about this game is the sidekicks. Let me first start out by saying that yes, the sidekick AI in this game is indeed flawed and has tons of random, annoying quirks that can agitate you into closing the game. I will give Romero credit for attempting to implement the sidekick idea and actually sticking with it. This may be the first time I ever saw sidekick's in an FPS throughout an entire storyline. Once you figure out the quirks and ways around them the game isn't so bad. You can always start the game in Co-op mood by yourself to remove the sidekick's as well.

People say the story was decent but to me it felt fairly uninspired and lame. Basically, fighting over a sword. Nothing worth noting there.

Overall, I thought Daikatana was a decent game and it's worth playing if you can get past the quirks and play it for what it is. I believe Romero's extensive coverage in magazines, etc. helped fuel this "rushed feel" of the game. Instead of designing, developing, and testing this game he spent more time on living it up so to speak. Had he developed this quietly it could of been great. I personally think if/when Romero releases the source code we could see some good changes and may develop an active community once again. I would also enjoy seeing the game remade on the Source Engine if Romero releases the source code to the game and maps.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 10/16/07

Game Release: John Romero's Daikatana (US, 04/14/00)


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