Angry Robot


Right now it’s certainly an enjoyable game. It’s by David Jones, one of the originators of the GTA series, and it shares with its ancestor the free-roaming attitude, the urban setting, the combat system, and the combination driving-and-running gameplay. It diverges by setting the game in the future, and the game’s innovations stem from the setting rather gracefully. You are a Lundgrenesque supercop, and thus your abilities (agility, strength, firearms, driving, explosives) start at exaggerated levels and grow even more so as you develop them.

Ultimately the agility ability is the only one that matters, for sheer enjoyment anyway. As you level up it gets even more fun. The non-combat applications of ability are basically twofold: collecting agility orbs (which increase the ability) and rooftop races. And they are fun! You basically spy a potential position up a building, think “yeah I can hit that”, and give it a shot. It becomes a game of decoding landscape, looking for trick routes. The closest experience is probably Tony Hawk. As you upgrade your agility and your jump distance grows, you can reach orbs that were previously inaccessible. Which, in a feedback loop of kickass, leads to more agility and even better jumping.

Jump craziness leads to a pretty decent combat technique when you need it. You’re hard to hit while leaping, so you’re relatively safe. You can jump near an enemy, shotgun him for a one-shot kill, and jump back to rooftop safety before his pals can do any damage. Once you get the sniper, it makes sense to take out a bunch of them first and then bounce into the fray, but my tiger technique has served me well and is a lot more fun than just standing around firing a machine gun. There are plenty of better games for that.

And once the jump fever wears off, is there anything else worth doing in this game? The missions are all the same, so far – kill a gang henchman after wading through a sea of his thugs. There doesn’t seem to be any indoor play. There don’t appear to be side missions (unless you count races and orb collection). The other skills scale up too, and the videos of advanced driving and explosives do look fun, so I can see there being some fun-filled hours of running people over and blowing shit up. But I’d probably file this one in the “rental” category, as I don’t think its joys are worth $70 – if it weren’t for the Halo 3 Beta invite that comes with it, of course.