Review by JW ACE

"FPS? RPG?....I'll take one of each"

Yes...that is a 10/10. NO...this is not another review that is going to rave about the game. I have played this game multiple times and will do so at least once more before DX2 comes out. THis game is VERY well deserving of a 10. While this game has some issues, they are either not noticed or in a case or two..irrelevant. Here it goes...

Graphics
This game uses the Unreal engine...and oh how does it use it! Man it is pushed to its limits. And it couldn't look better. Now one complaint is that people are now getting on the quake 3 bandwagon(when this game came out). Well quake 3 itself doesn't look better than this game, Elite Force maybe, but this game sports some damn nice graphics. The reflections on the floor are excellent, the character models for the most part are perfect. Very well done.

Sound
A very good variety of voices. And the music is top notch. Some of the voices, upon replaying the game, did seem a little monotone, but it hardly noticeable.

Control
I almost though that this game would have really complex controls. Well...it doesn't. Maybe because I played the training before I played the game...but you learn fairly quickly. The augmentations, of which I will explain in a sec, default to the F keys. And while they are inconvenient if you need to quickly press them, you almost always have time before going into battle. Everything else is your basic WSAD FPS control. Well done again.

Gameplay
Here is the RPG part of the mix. While the story is rather linear, you do have a nonlinear feel to playing the game. You can choose various augmentations to help you in different ways, such are breathing underwater, healing, extra strength, ect. Most of the time your approch to a problem is dependent on what aug you have chosen. Almost all of the problems, have multiple solutions. You can even go in guns ablazing, however, this is not recommended, especially in the beginning of the game.

Story
The story is what makes this game so great. It unfolds into a government conspiracy that is at the Tom Clancy level. Without giving too much away, you are originaly an anti-terrorist agent. But a few things happen that cause you to become the terrorist. Or are you a terrorist? Well that should be enough to wet your apitite. You also have multiple endings, 3 to be exact. You are given 3 different courses of action at the end level. You get a different ending depending upon what you do.

So, as I have said before, It takes a lot for me to give a game a 10, I didn't even give half-life a 10. What makes this RPG/FPS hybrid a 10 and joint System Shock 2 as revolutionary genre defining games?

Well...because...try as I might, I can't remember haveing a single complaint about this game when I first played it. Then after replaying it, and listening to some fellow gamers complaints...I then could see where they were comming from, but at the same time dismissed their complaints, here they are and why they don't give this game a 9 or lower:

1) Some RPG...you get 3 endings, all decided at the end and the game is just as linear as any FPS.
Maybe its because I love FInal Fantasy, but I see nothing wrong with haveing a linear story. THe RPG elements are recognized in you skills and aug upgrades, and a non-linear approach to problems. ANd to go deeper...when given the choices of endings, my mind was already made up which one I was striving for. It just took till the end of the game before I fully got to choose. In short, you pretty much deside what you want durring the game, then make a choice at the end.

2) Wow..multiple solutions, a grand total of 2 in most cases...
This game is appealing to the FPS crowd, so this is a bigger deal than a hardcore RPG player would think. As I said before, sometimes you can't go a certain way if you don't happen to have the right augmentation. As you get deeper into the game, the puzzles become more broad, because you have more augs to use. Most area's have 2 stardard ways in, plus 1 or 2 other ways that need a certain aug. The best example would be Battery Park. You can get into Castle Clinton 3 different ways: blast/sneak your way through the front gate, take to one of the homeless boys to eventually find a secret entrance through a dock, or if you have the strength aug, move some heavy boxes blocking another entrance for you to sneak into.

3) The graphics....well suck a little ass....
Are you on crack, pot, or lsd? OR maybe you have a crappy graphics card. Hey time to upgrade that TNT2 or Voodoo or whatever you got, I had an original Radeon and the graphics looked fine and the gameplay was smooth as a baby's ass.

4) The voices are sooooo bad.
I will admit that some of the voices did seem rather generic. But I didn't really seem all that distressed about it the first time I played. Come to think of it, I still hardly even think about it while playing the game.

5) No replayability at all......
I personnaly thing there is less replayability in a full blown RPG mainly because of the fact that they take too long. I have replayed this game for the joy of replaying it. And there are lots of little things that don't really effect the storyline that you can strive for. Best example would be makeing sure your Brother Paul survives, if actually rather hard. But it is quite cool and rewarding in the end to do it. Also, you might complain about only given two dialoge choices....in a few cases, which one you choose has a HUGE impact later in the game.

6) No multiplayer....
Do you honestly think there is a single person out there who actually bought this game and even considered what the multiplayer was like. Not too many people seemed to complain about Max Payne haveing no multiplayer. Come to think of it, is there a single RPG(MMORPG's excluded) out there that DOES have great multiplayer? Yeah, though so, so shut up and go back to playing CS.

So there you have it. All of the arguments that I though were legit, overruled. Come on folks, admit defeat. This game is just great, and there is nothing you can really say to make it not. The graphics are starting to look dated, but as I say to piss off those Counter-Strike fanatics, it doesn't look as dated as the Half-life engine.

Great story, gameplay, graphics, everything. I can't praise this game enough, the only people who would dare shoot down this game, obviously don't want this genre of FPS/RPG hybrid to take off. Too bad its too late. DX2 is on the horizon with others in the making.

Thank you Ion Storm, may every game you make be as good as this one.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 10/14/03


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