How do you review a game that has a cult following for being one of the best worst games on the market? Well, you start by checking off the things that make it bad: Poor graphics? Check. Ridiculous character and vehicle controls? Check. Mind numbing sound effects, including a long drawn-out droning sound for a car? Check.
Now lets start on the good points: Utterly hilarious animations and voice acting? Check. Gameplay so broken, it actually becomes a comedy? Check. Cheesy dialogue? Check.
You see, the fact that the actual gameplay is so broken is exactly why it’s so good to play. You begin to forget why you’re playing a game as broken as this, as after a while everything blends into one big sketch show. Through word of mouth this title caught my attention, as I thought it was everything I’d want in a video game; horror, comedy and a ‘so good, it’s bad’ quality. Unfortunately for me at the time of its original release, I didn’t own an Xbox, so I couldn’t play it.
Now after a few years since its initial release, I got the chance to play it on my prominent system, the Playstation 3. The good part (if there is one) is that this ‘director’s cut’ version is one that’s supposed to be a bit more ‘fixed’, through updated graphics, controls and the addition of motion control via Playstation Move. If this newer version did indeed improve on all aspects of the original Xbox 360 copy, then I’m dying to know how bad it was to start. For this fact alone, I’m glad I didn’t play the original, or perhaps the more broken nature of the game would’ve made it better? Perhaps I’ll get round to playing my Xbox copy and give my impressions at a later date.
So, did the game live up to my utterly low, high expectations? It sure is still a broken game and even makes me wonder how it made it to release. As soon as you start up the game, you’re placed in the shoes of an FBI agent named detective Frank Morgan. You’re in the middle of a murder case, which has seen you following a trail of red seeds from town-to-town. These eventually bring you to the lovely little town of Greenvale, wherein lies the latest victim of whom will later be known as the ‘raincoat killer’. This leads you all over town, as you slowly progress through your investigation, meeting the locales, enjoying the sights (however poor the graphics) and all-the-while keeping yourself fed, well rested and fuelled up – it’s exhausting.
Everything in the game has small quirks, from the fact that you have a hunger and sleep bar, to the addition of a fuel meter on a vehicle. You’re constantly being made aware of when your character needs more sleep, or fancies a bite to eat. If you don’t do any of these things, then expect your health bar to drop or your car to run out of fuel. In addition to these ‘features’, you also have a stamina bar that will slowly fill up depending on how much you run or how scared your character is. All of this makes for sometimes a painfully slow game, as most of the missions are only accessible between certain time slots. If you’re driving down the road to a mission five minutes away, and you run out of fuel, then you’ll have to walk to the nearest town (there aren’t many) or you have to run the whole way there. If you don’t make it in time, you’ll have to go to sleep and start all over again.
There are redeeming qualities, however. Once you engage your first enemy, which faintly resembled the nurses you find in Silent Hill, you can shoot them, beat them or cut them, with a variety of guns slowly becoming available to you over the course of the game. Normally you’d expect an enemy to scream in pain or make a slight ‘argh’ noise – not here. If you kill an enemy they shout, “No, I don’t want to die” with a long, overdrawn yell. It’s hilarious. Nothing in the game is quite as fun as the long moan of an enemy who’s on death row. If you prefer your game’s to have longevity, then you won’t have a problem here. Over the course of seven hours I only managed to proceed through one and a half of the six episodes, with each episode consisting of around five chapters; the awkward gameplay only prolongs this.
- + Gameplay so bad, it’s good
- - The graphics are terrible
- - The controls are terrible
- - Everything is pretty much a huge mess