Developer: Id software
Platforms: Xbox port
Released April 8th, 2005
Genre: Horror FPS
So another freebie here, gifted by a friend for a review, he knew id been going on about this for ages said it wouldn't come close to my expectations.
Given the hype he was right, it was far worse.
I know, i know. Im negative form the outset, how is that for a fair review?, well, its not. Though i will validate my feelings for a game i hold in almost as low regard as army of two, e.a's pinnacle in the calibre of shit games.
The story, what little there is has you playing a generic, in every sense of the word, space marine on a base on mars. Just as hes settling in to his new digs hell literally breaks loose, and you the only one man army on hand to stop it.
Not original, but hey, i let it slide, master chiefs not exactly the most charismatic protagonist yet still comes off as a heroic figure, so why not this guy?
-ill get to it.
Gameplay wise its okay, it definitely has kinks that need ironing out, for example the set controls at the start are horrendous, back switches weapons, the triggers open menus. its just a mess, and requires serious tweaking to get playable. The game also does not save.
you heard me.
i got halfway through, died for the first time and promptly swore my ass off when i saw i was back at the beginning were i quick-saved because of the terrible controls. i mean honestly, no auto save?, is this 1991? there's just no reason not to have it, if it can quick save it should have checkpoints and auto save features, even the most lackluster budget games are capable of this.
These are small gripes but right off the bat they break you off from engaging with the subject matter, and its very hard to be scared in a game when you are seething cruses at the controller.
I think the biggest gameplay problem is it was ported straight form pc to xbox and given a very rough control system, back then it was still like the xbox was just a pc for casual gamers rather than the franchise in its own right it has become and i think they felt they had little incentive to do more than just burn it onto a dvd, slap and xbox sticker on it and wave off the delivery man.
Sound wise its quite good, luckily i was expecting "ARD CORE METTULZ!" when i played this but luckily it does use the good old adage of silence being more deafening in horror than any soundtrack, it gets you, when you can get into the game, paranoid all the time, did i just hear a moan in the shadows?, was that something around the corner walking? its nothing at all memorable, but it gives the game character and i like that.
Graphics... now heres the thing. It was praised for implementing shadows right? well it doesn't implement them into the game, they drown the game in them. Again, thats all well and good when it comes to intent to scare. But it takes away form the enjoyment of the game, and with frustration comes disassociation and the illusion of the piece is ruined and it loses the ability to scare, this gets steadily worse as it progresses, by halfway you know that the darker a corner is, the more likely a monster will be in there. There not bad, kinda the way games of the time made players look like they were made of cottage cheese but thats just aging badly.
This port does have some cool extras, the first 2 doom games on the disc, trailers the like, overall its a nice package considering it was free. But in the long-run id say this is either a poor port, or has aged incredibly badly. I feel i must finish each one to give a fair judgment, but i cannot play all the way through this because its too much like work, its not scary, its not fun, its not a game. its an interactive screensaver, its not that its a bad game, its just there's so many better outings i can recommend instead, so this has dragged its score down.
unreasonable?, maybe. but i cant in good conscience give this such a score when i know there's a better game out there, hell i had more fun playing condemned 2 and you can just read my review on an older post about my thoughts on that.
Its really hard to give this game a numerical value out of ten, it feels like a 4 out of ten, so ill say that, but really i can just say "thumbs down" and shake my head in disappointment.
If you see this in a shop, put it down, go pick up prey or condemned instead, you'll thank me for saving, not your money, but your time.