Nut Load. Mini reviews of games old and new. No fuss. No spoilers. Occasional shock face.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Breakdown (2004)

Genre: First Person Shooter, Action | Players: 1 | Developer: Namco

An attempt to be innovative that failed in it's execution.
Players control Derrick in an unbroken first person perspective as he battles soldiers and warriors with guns and with various punch and kick combos. The developer was aiming for total immersion so in addition to the uninterrupted perspective (Valve did that better) there is almost no heads up display and interacting with anything in the environment is handled more realistically in that you actually have to pick up items instead of just walking over them. This essentially does nothing but get in the way as Derrick lovingly examines every item until you tell him to use it which is a problem if you need ammo or health in the middle of a fight which you inevitably will because of the terrible controls. Also irksome is you can save ammo, but not healing items. You use it or lose it.
The shooting is terrible particularly if you are more than 5 feet from your target. The auto lock is worthless and you're better off not using it at all. It's a little more useful for the hand to hand fighting since without it you may go sailing past the enemy if you are too close which you will invariably have to be since you are fighting hand to hand. The triggers are the main attack buttons which is a stupid idea for fist fighting as they are not responsive enough. Combos are made using the left stick with attack buttons, but the stick also controls movement and the game has difficulty acknowledging which action you want to take. So you are left to basic combos that don't need the joystick which limits your options. One more nitpick, platforming sections are never good in first person perspective.
Not a whole lot of music. It only punctuates a few action scenes and in between you are left with nothing but Derrick's footsteps and breathing. If this is supposed to be part of the immersion someone needed to remind the developers that games are supposed to be fun. The voice acting is OK at least.
Endless gray hallways all around. Office spaces with the most draconian decorating regulations aren't as bland as these environments. Human characters seem to have eaten all the graphical resources since they look pretty good.
Derrick awakes in a lab with amnesia by a woman who seems to know him and she helps him escape when soldiers invade the lab and try to kill him. The story is actually somewhat interesting. It would have been better served with decent gameplay or just as a nice science fiction movie.
Buyer's Guide:
Can be found online or in bargain bins for around $5.

1½ A for effort, D for execution out of 5


Dr Faustus said...

"...draconian decorating regulations.."
That's the problem with most generic shooters. Bland to the Nth degree.
I've heard it said no one sets out to make a bad game... I don't believe it. I submit Driv3r as evidence.

Impudent Urinal said...

Wasted opportunity. There are some interesting ideas in there, just smothered in bullshit. They go for realism but still stick the camera in my chest making my gun take up 40% of the screen. Bah.