Written by  :  Paul Sinnett (506)
Written on  :  Mar 05, 2004
Platform  :  PlayStation 2
Rating  :  3.67 Stars3.67 Stars3.67 Stars3.67 Stars3.67 Stars

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful

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The Good

Like the previous titles in the series this game has a solid story underpinning the gameplay. The voice acting is mature and thankfully light on ham. The interaction interface is fairly clunky but doesn't get in the way too much. The presentation is generally neat and tidy.

There are some nice little puzzles in this game. I quite liked the little box puzzles, even though I got the impression they were only there to slow the pace of the game down. They were nowhere near as challenging as Soko-ban, of course, but they did make for an interesting diversion from some of the more tedious areas of the game.

The Bad

This game also has a lot of problems. The most obvious annoyance was the constant and tedious loading screens. Some of the puzzles even had loading sections between two halves of the same puzzle. Coupled with the sudden deaths that occur liberally throughout the game, these annoying multiple minute waits to try and fail another 5 second sequence of gameplay brought me to the brink of giving up on the game altogether. The strong story, characters, and promise of occasionally interesting gameplay elements, were all that kept me going.

There were also graphical glitches. The sound and vocal tracks could rarely keep up with the rest of the game. The characters often flicked in an out of poses making the in game cinematic sequences comical.

The stealth sections of the game, although an interesting idea, were rendered almost unplayable by the ridiculous design decision to couple the control system to the camera - and then cut the camera at the most awkward points sending your player careening around the field like a drunken buffoon.

Several times I found myself guessing the correct solution at first, and yet having that attempt fail for some unknown reason. I'd then try everything else I could possibly imagine until finally, out of exasperation, I'd try the first thing again - only this time the exact same thing would work!

The generic speech also became comical at times. On one memorable occasion, having managed to shut the door on a shotgun toting goon, selecting the key on the door lock gave rise to the rather ironic, "I had no reason to do that," statement from George. This, right before the goon opens the door, without apparently using his hands, and simultaneously gives him both badly animated barrels in the face; shortly followed by an out of sync sound effect.

The Bottom Line

Underneath the stylish gloss, is a buggy game engine. But, under that, is a pretty good game. If you can get past the glitches and the occasional poor design decisions, what remains is certainly enjoyable. However, it's not the best introduction to the series.