I’m quite surprised this game didn’t receive more press than it did when the 360 launched. While some may consider the game a bit short, its easily one of the best launch titles released. Is that saying much? Well, maybe not… but its still a great game that should be given a shot by all fans of the FPS genre.
Of course, the ‘S’ in FPS is a bit of a misnomer here, as the majority of the game is not spent with a gun in your hand. Instead, you get to use everything but the kitchen sink as a melee weapon… although maybe if I looked harder, I could have found a sink to use as a weapon. Crowbars, pipes of different varieties, locker doors, piece of tables, fire axes and signs are all at your disposal… and here comes my first complaint!
The environment is great looking and very detailed showing off some of the power the 360 has to offer. In most cases, the levels are very littered and cluttered with trash and debris which helps add to the gritty feel of the entire game. Many times though, objects that look like you can pick ’em up and use as a weapon are just pieces of the scenery. For example, while wandering around an abandoned school, I found a row of trophy cases. I wanted to grab a trophy and crown a bum… but it wouldn’t let me. This definitely detracted from the overall immersion, letting you know you were still at the mercy of the developers.
When I heard that you would have to do ‘investigating’ in the game, I was a bit leery about how it would play out. My fears were taken from me though when I found out that you are prompted every time there’s something around to investigate. The makers basically say that your character has really good instincts and can just tell when he’s gotta investigate. Its probably a good thing they did this, because it would have just been too much of a pain otherwise.
There are a few issues I do have with the game other than the weapons aspect. One is that there are these dead birds everywhere that you find for 360 achievement points… why are they all over the place? They tell you some of the deal with the birds in the loading screens but never get really into them. They serve no purpose in the storyline. Another aspect is that the main enemies of the game are drug addicts and bums. I’ve got no problem with addicts, but why are bums attacking you without provocation? The drug addicts’ anger was explained by a brief message at the beginning of the game, but the bums just like to fight you and each other. I really think they just needed another enemy to fight you so decided to make it the homeless.
My largest issue of contention has to be with the ending of the game. It’s open for a sequel, which doesn’t bother me at all but well… the end guy was just stupid and pointless. Instead of having an awesomeo finishing duel with SKX (who was a perfectly legitimate and well thought out nemesis), they try to be crafty and throw the supernatural into it. Also, after you beat the end guy, you’re given a choice… and that choice has no effect on the ending of the game. It’s pointless except for the fact that you’ll get an achievement for picking each. I figured that it would show a different cut scene or whatever, but no… you get the same ending no matter what. The ending was just a large disappointment after such a well made game.
My quibbles aside, it was a gratifying and satisfying experience. There are reasons to give it more playthroughs if you’re into collecting all the achievements but other than that, after your first time though you probably won’t bother going back. I hate to say just rent it because of it’s quality, but that’s what I’m going to say. It just doesn’t have the replayablity that other games do. There’s no multiplayer, there’s no alternate paths, there’s just achievements. Rent it and enjoy it.