Reign of Fire (PS2)


posted 2/5/2003 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: PS2
Awesome, that looks like Jackal! I said aloud as I was checking out the screenshots for Reign of Fire. That was nearly a year ago, now that I’ve played the game it’s more like “Jesus, this was supposed to be Jackal, what the hell happened?”

Yes yes, I was once again taken by that brutal beast known as the screenshot monster. You know what I’m talking about, that little being that compels you to look at the screenshots of the game and gawk in awe, drooling with anticipation for the game’s release only to be utterly disappointed. Sometimes the screenshots deliver (read: Amped) but often times they don’t, enter Reign of Fire.

In case you’re not familiar with the game’s namesake it’s based on the major motion picture of the same name, and while the flick was actually quite enjoyable, the same can’t be said for this debacle. Yea the game does an admirable job of recreating the game’s atmosphere but the fun ends there. Imagine that you’re able to control the characters in the flick except you’re given a horrid control scheme, some repetitive mission goals and no hot chick to gawk at, and you have the gist of this lackluster title.

From the onset of the game you’ll realize that you would have been better off flushing your parents’ hard-earned money down the crapper as opposed to blowing it on this steaming pile of defecate. I just love the first mission, your fort/castle/chateu/craphole is under attack by an infestation of ground-based dragon-like creatures. According to the Van Zendt (you’ll recognize him as the main character because he’s too cool to be called by his first name), it’s time to get serious and defend the fort. According to me, it’s time to grab a newspaper, leave the game running and go sit on the john for a good 15 minutes. Why? Because the enemies are so damn stupid that they’ll run headlong into a wall, all while your friendly troops are taking them out for you. In short the AI coding is pretty atrocious, not Grand Theft Auto Vice City bad, but pretty damn weak.

There’s a reason why you can’t manually control the aim of your weapons in Twisted Metal Black, and that’s because it’s too damn confusing. It’s one thing to run around and free look but trying to do it in a moving vehicle is just damn near impossible. You’re forced to do the job of two people (that of the driver and the gunner) at the same time, leading to a pretty frustrating experience. Not only do you have to worry about the obstacles on the ground but you’ll also have to keep your sights on some pretty hard to hit targets. Remember how difficult it was to hit things from the gunner position in HALO? Multiply that difficulty tenfold and you have an idea of why this game just doesn’t work.
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