SummaryAfter this you'll get a second sight about the games
The GoodI dunno why, but for some weird reason I always thought this is a plain FPS game with some extra powers to make it... well, sloppy to say the least. Turned out I was wrong 180 degrees because this is mainly 3rd-person perspective oriented game with ability to look, fight and when it comes to narrow spaces, even move in 1st-person perspective. The gameplay is somewhat challenging, but with the help of mouse even the trickiest parts won't pose much trouble for skilled FPS players (I'm saying "skilled FPS players" because that assumes that player doesn't mind to cope with the games that require reflexes and quick thinking).
The game starts with ever-intriguing story of waking up in a medical-threatment room with no memories of much and even less about psychic powers you acquired. You don't know whether to fear that or put it to use... but you will, and soon. As you progress through game, you powers increase and you start remembering your past. Furthermore, you start remember your powers and skills. And of course, you realise how skeptical you were about psychic powers and all that mumbo-jumbo. As you play the present role, John Vattic (as in, you) has flashbacks as to what happened six months ago in which story you also participate. One might find it silly that you can die in that flashback story (after all, John is alive in the present, so he couldn't possibly have died six months ago), but when you realise the brilliant twist near the end of the game, you won't have trouble accepting it. Let me just say without much elaboration, that the real deal is what happens six months ago, not the timeline you consider the present. Bet that makes you think of an impossible explanation, eh?
Aside being able to use formidable powers to frighten your enemies, you can also blast your way through with weapons you acquire from your fallen enemies. This all might present you with a question why does this game considers itself to be a stealth, if only partially? Good question, and the game does give you an opportunity to avoid your enemies without being spotted and preventing them from raising the alarm and bringing the reinforcements. But that's the only thing that puts even the slightest context of stealth presence, 'cos some of the levels can't be passed just by shooting along the way because there is no limit to enemy number when alarm is triggered, you can either try to find a spot to hide and let everything gets back to normal, or find the alarm switch and deactivate it without enemies actually seeing you do so, 'cos that wouldn't do much good as they can radio for backup.
At first, I was very disbelieving about those psychic powers John is to have, but soon found them very valuable, especially the ability to heal yourself (and your allies, of course). Before you acquire that skill, you can only heal if you find some medical kits on your way. Probably the most fun one to use is telekinesis which lets you move objects and your enemies safely out of the way. By banging your enemies against the wall several times, their time will come, but when you're surrounded by them, this is not a good time to play with telekinesis, instead, you can use psi blast that renders unconscious all nearby targets (and your allies, yes) with a shockwave. The most useful one, especially later on, is called a projection which lets you project your image outside your body. Not only does it let you pass through deadly obstacles such as lasers, but also lets you take control over the enemy rendering it to your command. I really don't think I need to explain how useful, not to mention entertaining, is to make your enemies kill amongst themselves.
The story has a nice drama and dialogues and doesn't disappoint you at any point. Just as I thought all the intrigue was gone, it just became even more suspenseful. Accompanied along your way is a great background music which really makes a fascinating blur between front music and ambient one. Good enough not to mind having a soundtrack (just think of "The Moment of Silence" which has released soundtrack). The world is created with almost as great touch as in "Anachronox" and "Deus Ex" games, it varies along the way of frozen wastes, secret bases, government facilities, gang streets, asylum, and labs.
The BadAt first sight, you can spot this is a console port (similar as to how you can immediately say the same for "Cold Fear"), but graphic is good nevertheless and quality is on the fair level. However, some of the gameplay concepts are lacking in its design. I dunno how that is handled on consoles, but telekinesis really gives you some hard time at switching targets. All is working fine with the help of mouse, but John is just doing everything a bit slow (or maybe his powers are just not as powerful, which might explain this point). Furthermore, sometimes things are just unrealistic when you fight ordinary guards. It's just not real when you grab them and toss them from some high roof (and even higher thanks to your power of telekinesis) down, and they just continue as if nothing has happened. If you try jumping down, you'll die for sure, and you are much powerful than they are. The camera doesn't make your life any easier, either. You can either freely rotate them, which becomes impossible when you're near the wall or something, or can make it fixed which isn't good during fights for sure. In time you can get used to rotateable one, but it would be easier if it can always be behind your back, even if that means making some of the walls transparent during the time.
The Bottom LineThis is by far much better game than I would have ever anticipated, and without a doubt, I'm more than glad I got a PC version, because I have no idea if I'd ever be able to pass it with a gamepad, not with all those infinite enemies alarm can trigger. It's not on of the easier games out there, but sure is one of the most intriguing and capturing ones of 2004/05.