Perfect Dark Zero

I’ve been loving Call of Duty 2 and Project Gotham Racing 3 on my 360, and I picked up a copy of the Perfect Dark Zero tin a couple of days after release. I wasn’t planning on it because it looked pretty average and I’d heard a couple of average opinions, but the positive reviews convinced me to part with my money. It sat on the sidelines while I finished COD2 but now I’ve played a chunk of the single player and put in a couple of hours of multiplayer, and I’m really struggling to see what all the fuss was about. The game just doesn’t seem finished.

Graphically it ranges from very impressive to very average, with a framerate that shouldn’t be as variable as it is on a console as powerful as the 360, and everything has a plastic sheen that just looks at odds with the realistic guns and environments. Bump mapping isn’t the panacea for creating realism and Rare should really understand this. The controls seem overly touchy with some absolutely braindead AI (why would you run at someone who has cover and an M60 when you’re armed with a pistol?), and while I like the armour idea it looks cheesy in execution.

The fact that there are no checkpoints mid-mission is also a huge downer, especially when something as trivial as being seen, often from behind cover, can end a mission and send you all the way to the start. Even one of the cooler features, being able to take cover, has an annoying tendency not to prompt you until you’re already in sight and then to put you on the enemy side of the corner.

Not only that, but it hasn’t taken into account any of the developments in the FPS genre that we’ve seen since Perfect Dark which makes it seem like a bit of a dinosaur. I’m too used to little things like being able to throw a grenade at the press of a button (see Halo, Call of Duty, etc) instead of having to equip, switch to, and then throw them. It’s only a little thing but making grenades less than instinctive takes away the tactics that having them available at all times creates. Little things like that just add up to make it seem like a good FPS from 1999 dressed up in graphics that range from next-gen to making you question whether or not the Xbox 360 is all it’s cracked up to be. Like I said, it just doesn’t seem finished.

At best so far I’d say it’s a 7/10, and Edge’s is the only review that I’ve really agreed with on it. I’ll give it a fair crack before I make a drastic judgement but it’s going to have to pull something special out to impress me.

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