Review by RyuGB
"Cruise right on past this one!"
I've yet to see the film Minority Report. I hear it's a really entertaining sci-fi romp with the very likable Tom Cruise.
The premise of law enforcement being able to predict future murderous events, and then stopping them before the can happen sure sounds interesting. Problem is, the future of this sci-fi video game thriller seems destined for the bargain bins.
Minority Report starts off with you tracking down future killers, before Mr. Anderton is framed with murder himself. From there on out, John Anderton is on the run from his former partners, and has his eyes set on clearing his name at all costs. Sounds like a classic case of Max Payne eh? Well, unlike Mr. Payne, Johnny boy doesn't turn into a hard-boiled killer. However, admittedly, throwing Pre-Crime officers over skyscraper ledges to their screaming deaths doesn't bode too well with the less lethal approach the game is aiming for.
A majority of the game play is comprised of hand-to-hand combat with a light amount of weapon combat.
(When I say light, I mean light. Ammo is in very short supply.) The hand-to-hand engine seems to be the same one employed in TreyArch's critically acclaimed Spider-Man (the movie) Game. It allows a decent amount of combos, but unlike spidey, seems terribly slow in reacting to player inputted actions. Another problem with these stages lie in the levels sizes. (Or should I say lack thereof.) Many stages are literally comprised of a couple of connected rooms; which can literally be breezed through in five minutes time. The Black Market function was a bitter disappointment as well. You can buy extra items such as weapons and player enhancements, but most of the upgrades are too expensive for you to really be able to make use of this function more then a few times over the course of the game. It was a smart move on the developer’s part to make you hunt for cash icons throughout the levels in order for you to make use of this mode. However, a bit more money thrown around would be greatly appreciated. What we have here is a classic case of Mr. Scrooge. Every once in a great while, the game allows you to make use of a jet pack to deal ''death from above''. Unfortunately, the controls prove so twitchy that you'll be grounded in no time.
Lastly, the enemy variety is very weak. There is an only a dozen or so different enemy types to face over the course of the game; and most of them are skin color differences!
The only saving grace for this mishmash of poorly executed game play is the sheer abundance of destructible objects in the environments. Glass, tables, pots and more are just begging to broken. Better yet, true fun waits for players who set up destruction scenarios involving enemies.
My favorite? Hurling enemies through glass windows; and then listening to them scream on the way down.
Sick, I know.
Honestly, the graphical presentation is weak for even PS2 standards; but on the Xbox it should be considered sinful.
The only strong point is the weapon effects, which are very nice to look at with heat wave effects and such.
Everything else looks like pure dung. Textures are very washed out and lacking any substance to them, animation is very choppy at times, and shadowing is laughably rendered.
The much advertised rag doll physics’ employed range from impressive, to downright defying basic human anatomy.
I really loved to see moments like when I threw a guard into a railing, and then watched as his limp body curled over the railing before somersaulting to his doom. However, at many other points enemies (and Mr. Anderton) would land into heaps, as if there were no bones in their body to speak of. Apparently, in the future no one has kneecaps.
The soundtrack is embarrassingly basic. No doubt it was originally intended for the portable market, before it was slapped onto this disk. Oh, and don't expect any of the voice-actors from the film to reprise their roles. Much like the likeness of Tom Cruise, the original voice actors are sadly absent.
Controls are simply laid out, and echo Spider-Man in many ways. Again, I must stress that they are nowhere near as responsive as spidey. Plus, exploration rarely reaps much reward. Mashing usually produces much greater results.
Fans of titles such as Street Fighter (Me) and Tekken beware!
Here is the report: Only a minority of gamers will enjoy the bland sci-fi action served up in this Xbox release.
Honestly, this is the worst gaming experience I've popped into my Xbox thus far. A rental at best; and completely avoidable for a purchase at just about any price point. This is yet another perfect example of why gamers are weary of movie-licensed games.
Shame Activision! Shame!
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 12/07/03
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