Review by MalifacentX

"One FPS to Rule Them All"

Overview: In this First Person Shooter based loosely on the Warhammer: 40,000 Universe.... The tables are turned as Mankind is the enemy. You are Kais, a member of the Tau race, fighting for peace in an era that has all but forgotten the word. An FPS Cliche? Possibly, but is it worth your time and Money? Read on.

Gameplay: 8/10 Surprisingly enough, this sleeper may finally be the first person shooter that will knock your socks off in a time where they seem to be a dime-a-dozen. Sure, it's your common FPS fare, you ride a fairly linear 'track' to get from point A to point B which will knock many reviews down a few notches but like it or not, HALO had just as much track-riding as this beauty. Sure, our PS2 may have a more narrow track, but that doesn't mean the game is doomed. Enemy A.I. is a bit of a mix. Most enemies will stand in one area and sometimes even give you the chance to reload while they just stand idly by. Other times however you will find yourself confronted by enemies that are as much of a pain as Bungie's Flood. (i.e. Seargents that strafe to and fro so fast you can't even lead your target. Levels, while nearly on rails and very linear are still well designed and are tight enough to keep your dread going as you know something will be around that next corner. Weapons look great, but don't pack enough Oomph. If you want something reliable that will take the edge off, go for the Imperium assault rifle dropped by the baddies. They seem to be in good supply these days. But the story, while trite, is enough to make you ant to pursue this game to the end. Even if only once. Keep your eye out for the level when you have to repel an enemy boarding party and I challenge you to say that Halo's first level was better than this. Just try. This level had me on the edge of my seat the entire way through and had a sense of urgency unlike most games I've played. Open levels and Graphics can't hold a light if you've got levels like this.

Graphics: 8/10 Alright, let's get it straight and say what everyone and their mom will say.... ''it doesn't look like Halo''. But on the PS2, this is the best you'll see until Killzone. Character models, while rough, are original and really cool to watch as they have veried animations. One such example would be when a pack of fellow Tau all brought their hands to their ears in unison when a radio message came in. Sure, it's a little thing, but that's what makes it great. The reload sequences are a bit on the long side which adds to the fear of death, but they're the best thing this side of those found in Mace Griffin. Textures aren't perfect but far from Horrible. I've seen worse pixelation in recent Medal of Honor games. As mentioned before, the level designs are great thanks to the graphics. The Trenches look great outside as ships and explosions fly all about. Indoors are just as good. They create a good atmosphere. Dark enough to make you watch your back, but light enough not to smack into the wall a lot. If you want the real graphical glory though, there are a few things which MUST be given credit. First off, the CG sequences in each chapter have to be seen to believe. Very nice direction and visuals there. Also, there is a fantastic heat effect while firing your gun. It's the same look that pavement gets when the sun is beating off of it.... you know, the wavy blurry effect. It was a beautiful touch. Finally, I LOVED the night vision. It's too bad it went dead so often. This would have been great to incorporate a lot more.

Sound: 9/10 Insane! There is no music during the game but I didn't even notice until I went back after reading a review that stated it that way. The sounds of war are so compelling and filling that the orchestral score found in so many games lately will not be missed. And I am one who LISTENS for soundtracks intentionally. The weapon sounds and atmospheric effects are fantastic. The only things to frown upon would be the SAME sound heard when each enemy dies. Ugh. Just keep your ears open, especially on the first few levels. I was playing on a TV with only Monaural sound and was already blown away on the quality. I can't want until I go home tonight and hook it up to my surround.

Length and Longevity: 7/10 Once it's over, there are a few unlockables such as infinite shield and a left handed weapon, but nothing to make you play it over JUST for that. If you replay, it's to improve your score or just to see that level where you repel the boarders again. It's That good. You'll beat it in a night, but not before it gives you a bit of trouble. Start in in Hard mode, You'll love yourself more that way.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 01/26/04

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