I’m looking at cutting down on playing the same games, in particular Football Manager, and instead picking up games from my “incomplete” or “unplayed” pile, both of which are worryingly large. One of the reasons why I wish that I had a N64 when growing up was that I never played Perfect Dark so a short while ago I picked up Perfect Dark Zero for the Xbox. Tonight I moved it to the top of my pile and started playing it. Tonight it went straight to the bottom.
My first dislike was the UI. It seemed to vary between press up on the stick and hold up on the stick to select options. Why? UIs are always press up and it moves up. You never need to hold it. If you’re going insist on a backwards UI like this, why would you only implement it for a couple of things as well? So yeah, I had a bad impression before my first mission.
So I was to plant a bomb or something without being detected. Not sure why, who my character is or what they’ve really got against these folk but a stealthy shooter sounds fun, hopefully this will be a bit like No One Lives Forever (without the humour of course). First task, shoot something. Okay. So much for stealth. The tutorial level / first mission was pretty dull and the instructions were very poor, but I made my way through and blew stuff up. I would like to add that the display for weapons was really cool. I could clearly see what button I was to press, it looked nice and was positioned so that it was highly noticable without blocking my view. After completing my objective I had to escape. For some reason I was rescuing folk and the majority of the people in the building that I snuck into and blew up were friendlies. Okay. I later got into a fight with guys in jetpacks. Pretty cool I guess, just a pity they were flying around whilst I happened to be out of ammo on my primary (picked it up off a dead guy) and having to use my pistol. The actual combat felt pretty poor and there was pretty much no feedback when out of ammo or reloading. Pffft. Even the damage effect seemed quite embarassing.
Well thankfully the mission was soon over. My next one involved being stealthy. Alas I was spotted whilst getting my bearings about 10m into the level and EVERYONE came after me from all angles, making the use of the games’s slow and cumbersome cover system as painful for the character as myself. Eventually I shot everyone and carried on with my stealth mission. I had to use binocular like things to scan bad guys. Unfortunately despite standing in the designated waypoint (which is terribly implemented) the game couldn’t lock on to the stationary target I was to aim at. Eventually when getting irritated at not being able to lock on I got too close and the mission was failed. That is where my experience of Perfect Dark Zero ended.
The game just isn’t fluid enough to fully enjoy. The instructions are poor and the game seems to make absolutely no effort in terms of story. Whilst I’ve always said games can live without story, the game seems to assume that you already know the characters, background and so forth. I didn’t. This annoyed me. The game annoyed me. It won’t be getting played again in a long while. Take the words “Perfect Dark” out of “Perfect Dark Zero” and you have precisely the amount of appeal the game has.