A game that isn’t about fighting, but is all about running away. Add in a bit of hand to hand fighting and a little gun toting and you might just have the perfect game on your hands. Well I would all hope that’s the case, but my idea of paradise may not be the next guy’s.
The concept that makes up the world isn’t complex, but it is very 1984. The world has become this ultra clean yet oppressive place; the government controls everything. The main character, Faith, is a runner, a traceuses. She couriers illegal messages and packages from one place to another. Her and her group are free agents outside of the controlling world they live in. This of course lays the groundwork for the gameplay.
Once you get the game going past the introduction stages the game’s story begins to take shape. As I don’t like spoilers in reviews, I won’t give any here. Suffice it to say that the story is a pretty standard formula. Someone dies and someone close to you gets blamed but they didn’t do it. So now you have to find out the truth. It’s not rocket science, but then it doesn’t have to be. It felt like a good enough story for the game.
There isn’t a lot of music in this game, and when there is it isn’t overwhelming. Most of the sounds are environmental and actually pretty good. When I’m sliding down a 45 degree slanted window, I can hear that annoying squeak that is caused by running something across glass. Of course my favourite sound has to be of me running head-long into an electric fence and hearing that zapping sound as I convulse. Overall quite good and appropriate sound and music.
There has been much opinion regarding the graphics. To me there’s no questions about the graphics in this game, they’re wonderful. The in-game graphics look beautiful. The city landscape is rendered very well and looks like a real cityscape. The bone of contention seems to be the cut scenes though. Many seem to not like them at all or find them out of place, not I. The cut scenes have a very unique style and art. They are reminiscent of the vector art, a style I quite like. The art style of the cut scenes is very different to the in-game graphics, this is true. I don’t see this as a problem though as the cut scenes that employ this type of vector styled art are pieces of the story and are trying to convey something specific to you. Something specific like mood and tone that needs that extra little umph of the art style.
Up to this point I’m loving the game, but here is where things get messy. The first obvious thing to mention are the movement puzzles. Sometimes it can be a challenge to get from point A to point B. It can be done though without a walkthrough if you just think outside of the standard platform game box. The immersion was often broken by having to figure out where to go even when just running across some roof tops. The routes are rather linear so you have to find the right way to carry on. No free roaming environment here unfortunately.
I did have some problems though. The combat controls aren’t very good at all. Timing is too crucial and you can only hold a gun for a very short amount of time. Combat can bring about a lot of frustration, but luckily you can usually avoid it. One thing you can’t avoid though are bullets. Sure you can get behind cover, but when you’re trying to wall run and bullets keep slamming into you and knocking you off the wall, it can get frustrating.
I had a couple of other small issues that added up into a puddle of frustration at times. The camera when swinging is completely out of your control. This can cause problems when you’re trying to swing from a pole to pole or to a pipe. You can plunge to your death only so many times because of this before you begin to get irritated. The only other problem I had was occasionally coming at the walls just wrong when trying to run up them and I’d just stop.