Guild's Perfect Dark XBLA Review

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by Guild McCommunist, Mar 28, 2010.

Mar 28, 2010
  1. Guild McCommunist
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    Member Guild McCommunist (not on boat)

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    Yay! My first Xbox 360 review! And yeah, it's of a downloadable game. Not something like Halo or CoD6. But yet again, Perfect Dark beats both of those games [​IMG] Anyway, on with the review!

    [​IMG]

    Remember back in the day there was that company called Rare? Do ya? Remember when they were actually successful? I do. Back before the turn of the century they made some of the best games to date, such as Goldeneye 007 (which many claim to be the best FPS game ever made), Conker's Bad Fur Day, Banjoe Kazooie and Tooie, Donkey Kong Country and Donkey Kong 64, and of course this classic title, which I consider to beat Goldeneye for being the best FPS game around. Well, ever since Microsoft's acquisition of Rare, it seems many of their N64 classic games would go down the tube and be lost in legal mumbo jumbo. Well, that's not the case. Outside of games using licensed properties (such as Goldeneye 007, which has James Bond properties and Donkey Kong 64, which is of course Nintendo's property), the N64 classics have come back through the Xbox (and yes, Conker came back through Live and Reloaded), and low and behold, here comes the finest. Perfect Dark may not suit "new age gamers" who never cared about the long lost FPS games, but for fans of classic or those who just want some retro goodness, look no further. This is one of the best enhanced ports I've seen, period.

    The story of Perfect Dark involves Joanna Dark, and agent of the Carrington Institute, a research and development front for espionage and associated with martians, in a futuristic earth. The DataDyne group, on the other hand, aligns with the enemy of the martians, the Skedar. The story follows Joanna as she's sent on a variety of missions to stop DataDyne. It's a better storyline than most FPS games have or had, I'll give it that. But with the presentation, the main thing to focus on is how well the port is, and I have to say it's great. All the features from the main game are kept, and almost all of them now have Xbox Live compatibility, so you can play with friends. There's also a bunch of enhancements from graphics to breaking out the classic arsenal and maps from Goldeneye 007. They still preserved the original Goldeneye 007 engine from the first game, which is a big "phew" to everyone. 4J Studios went all out on this game and they did a great job, to say the least.

    Perfect Dark was a classic game for the N64 and odds are if you owned it, it frequented your cartridge slot more than most games. Nowadays, it may be considered "outdated" for your stereotypical FPS gamer for home consoles. So right off the back I'll say this: if you're someone whose only played the more "modern" FPS games like Halo or Call of Duty, odds are you'll skip this. If you're someone who enjoys the older FPS games, you'll love this. The game doesn't feature any fancy stuff like ironsights or instant melee attacks or easy grenade chucking. You get guns, you shoot people, they die. It's that simple. The game even has optional lock-on features, something we practically never see nowadays. Still, this was the norm back in the day, and those who loved "back in the day" will love this. The game still features some mechanics and depth that are yet to be matched in modern times. The insane amount of weapons, huge number of modes, Counter-Operative, etc. It's baffling. The single player itself is a little confusing and will have people who have since forgotten the old single player or never played it before doing some mindless wandering, but it's all in good fun. The real score here is the multiplayer though. There's a nice variety of maps (with the inclusion of the Goldeneye 007 maps), a huge arsenal of weapons, lots of fun modes, and overall a lot of great fun. Not only that, but everything that could be played with 2 or more characters now can be played online. Hell, they even have online splitscreen, where the game is actually split up so you can see what your friend is doing! So, I'll just reiterate this again: "new age FPS gamers" will say this game is bad because they're used to their CoD or Halo. People who enjoyed the original game or something close to it (like Goldeneye or even some last gen titles like 007 Nightfire or 007 Agent Under Fire) will absolutely love it.

    Graphics and audio wise, the game is dated. I'll say that. The graphics have been revamped, but seeing as the entire game was essentially an enhanced port, the graphics aren't going to receive a huge overhaul. Models and environments aren't as blocky or blurry as they were on the N64. I'd say the graphics are comparable in quality to something like the first Half Life game on the PC. So for a Xbox title it isn't exactly great. It also lacks some things many people will laugh at, such as lip movement and a lack of hand gestures (their hands are always in fists, even when pointing). The cutscenes also have a slightly jumpy character models now and then. With all these graphic things, it's easy to pawn this game off as ugly, but mind you, it's a ten year old game. It's not gonna look pretty unless they scrap everything and remake it. Still, the big thing here is the framerate, which now runs smoothly at 60 fps. That's simply great, and it makes the game much more fun. The audio is pretty much preserved, from voice acting to sound effects, which is also pretty dated. The voice acting can get a little corny, especially with the laughable guard shouts ("MY GUN!"), but it's all in good fun. They fortunately kept Elvis' hilariously cheesy Yoda-sounding voice. The soundtrack itself though I for one thought was pretty nice, and I'll get the tunes stuck in my head now and then. It's outdated, I'll say that, but it's better than before.

    Side note, if you want a side-by-side comparison of the N64 and XBLA versions, here's a video by GoNintendo.

    Overall, Perfect Dark is a game that's ten years old, that can't be ignored. It may be pawned as outdated by some, but the fact is that it still contains an enormous amount of depth, content, and classic fun that you won't find in today's FPS games. And with a remake as good as this and a pricetag of only $10, it's hard to pass up.

    Presentation: The game's storyline is rather interesting, with plot twists and turns. The port itself is incredibly well done, keeping all the classic features of the first game while adding a bunch of new ones. The menus themselves can be a little troublesome to navigate, but having the whole Carrington Institute as a tutorial is awesome. 9.5/10

    Graphics: It's a port of a ten year old game, what can I say? The graphics are definitely enhanced, but are still comparable to games like Half Life. Some jumpy character models in cutscenes and no lip or hand movement is pretty laughable. In-game animations and blood splatter are still pretty good, though. The big thing here though is that it runs at 60 fps smoothly and constantly, which is awesome. 7/10

    Audio: It's a rather dated voice cast, which in the end can be quite corny. The soundtrack though is still something I enjoy, I don't know about the rest of you. Sound effects are a little old, but are pretty decent in the end. 7/10

    Gameplay: New age FPS gamers will easily pass this off as "outdated shit" or the like. While it may be an older game, it still features insane amounts of content, depth, and a great sense of pure fun that you won't find in these modern FPS games. Single player can have some confusing objectives, but it still is all in good fun. The aiming may be considered "wildly inaccurate" in today's "pinpoint precision" FPS games, but the fact is that it's fun as hell, there's no other way to describe it. The amount of weapons and depth are still unmatched. 9.5/10

    Lasting Appeal: Holy. Shit. This game can blow most anything clear out of the water with content. A huge amount of modes, unlockables, weapons, etc. On top of the beefy single player experience, which is riddled with unlockables, multiple difficulties (with new objectives required for higher difficulties), and a decent playtime, you get a huge multiplayer experience, now enhanced with the Goldeneye 007 arsenal and maps. Not only that, but everything from single player to counter operative to multiplayer is now Xbox Live compatible. This game has more content than most games in today's world, and for $10, that's a deal to say the least. 10/10

    Overall: 9.3/10

    Being as this is one of my favorite games of all time and that it's one of the reasons I actually bought my Xbox 360, I'm more than pleased. Discuss! (or even better, add me on Xbox Live and we can play together!)
     
  2. Overlord Nadrian

    Banned Overlord Nadrian Banned

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    Nice review as always, I agree with the scores.

    However, for games like this I suggest you add a gameplay trailer, or something like that. Video. Makes people see what the game's actually like without having to look it up on something like YouTube first.
     
  3. Guild McCommunist
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    Member Guild McCommunist (not on boat)

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    There's a link to a GoNintendo video comparing the two games graphically, if you were wondering. But for anyone wondering, here's the gameplay from the original game.



    And for the XBLA version...

     
  4. Overlord Nadrian

    Banned Overlord Nadrian Banned

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    Yeah, I noticed that, but what I meant was like you did in the second post, add an embedded video (if possible), not just a link. Makes it look nice [​IMG]
     
  5. Acetic Orcein

    Member Acetic Orcein GBAtemp Regular

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    Good review!

    And in the XBLA version, Cassandra looks like Pat Butcher from Eastenders...
     

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