This game has been getting scores up and down the spectrum, from a rare 4.5 from IGN to an 8.0 from Gamespot. Is this a reflection that the game is bad, per se?
Not really. It’s a reflection of the fact that Ubisoft had no faith in this game, and unfortunately, it shows. This game really needed some more money and if it had had that, it might have been a $60 console title and possibly a game of the year contender. As it is, it leaves you wanting more out of it, in both a good way and a bad way.
That’s not idle speculation: when this game works, which is about 75% of the time, it really works. It’s really tense to pull a gun you know is empty and try to shout a guy towards a ledge so you can actually kick him off. It’s scary as hell to watch your stamina bar shrink as you try to crawl up a ledge. And the soundscape is incredible; this is one of those rare games where you absolutely need the sound. This is a game that demands you item hoard, save scum, and think hard about any situation you come across.
The problems are largely ones of graphics and controls, and the occasional note of polish. The controls work most of the time, but there are moments when they backfire on you at the absolute worst possible time, usually while climbing. The graphics, meanwhile, just needed more time, but it’s still awkward to see a machete phase right through a random mook. Then there are the occasional little things, like a survivor you meet that you suddenly can’t talk to, or the fact that the map is worse than useless when it comes to finishing sidequests. It’s also short; I knocked it off in a few hours.
What it really comes down to is, is this game worth $15? I’m on the fence about that. The mechanics are amazing, the sound is good, but graphics and controls aren’t that great. You’re really going to love this game or hate the crap out of it. If you’re willing to part with $15 to try it, then go for it: if nothing else, you’ll play something completely different from anything else coming out this year.
image courtesy Ubisoft