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Area-51 (Xbox)

75
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
2.9
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Tiroloco (24)
Written on  :  Jul 21, 2008
Platform  :  Xbox
Rating  :  2.86 Stars2.86 Stars2.86 Stars2.86 Stars2.86 Stars

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful

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Summary

What was the plot, again?

The Good

This game takes place in one of those scenarios that must have a game inspired in them: the legendary Area 51: A military (not so) super-secret facility which is believed (this is the key word) to have been used to store alien evidence such as flying saucers, alien bodies, and extraterrestrial weaponry.

The setting looks great: huge maps, lots of corridors, everything looks OK, very truthful, it really looks like a huge underground super secret military base.

The creatures are very well designed, the first time you find them in the dark, it can be a very scary moment. Well, first person shooters always do it (Doom, Quake, Fear, etc...). They sometimes are hard to kill, and that's welcome.

The game uses an HUD that tells you in every moment where to go and what to kill / activate to continue, you can't miss. It uses checkpoints too, and they are very well timed.

It has a lot of tongue-in-cheek humorous details, though you have to collect a lot of documents to read the jokes. They are always mocking the conspiracy paranoids, the fake landing on the moon, etc.

I did like a lot of things in his game, but let's go to the bad part:

The Bad

You are supposed to be sent into the military facility to see what's going on, and then all of a sudden the destiny of the world is in your hands, and you can trust one only person in the whole game, it's a weak plot.

Anytime you pick a second arm, you'll go John Woo style, and that's funny only the first time it happens.

Changing into the infected form doesn't really kill you, it's rather a cheat mode than anything else, and it makes the game so easy to finish it's almost ridiculous. For example: there is a boss fight where you can do one of the following: - Try to kill him wasting all your grenades and ammo, and fail, or - Turn into infected, and kill him in one minute. then go back to normal with all your ammo and grenades intact.

The voiceover is terrible too (I played the Spanish dubbed version), it sounded like anybody was interested in the product. It doesn't contribute anything new to the genre: it's a regular Halo-like FPS, without open spaces, very dark and predictable: kill enemies, kill more enemies, kill them using a machine that shoots lasers, throw grenades, use your flashlight, push buttons, the end.

The Bottom Line

It's an attempt to make an action FPS out of urban legends and X-Files stories, that fails. If you are keen to shooters, and having an X-box that's almost a requisite, you will not enjoy this game. I feel bad for the people who put their effort in making of this game a good one, and all they got was this.