kill.switch

Review

posted 1/21/2004 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: PS2
While everyone seems to be jumping on that whole stealth espionage bandwagon it’s nice to see that at least someone out there is still trying to keep things real. Sure, there’s a certain level of excitement to be had from sneaking up on someone, snapping their neck, dragging their limp body over to a retinal scanner and then dropping their body in the covers of darkness, but there’s also something much more intriguing about mowing down legions of bad guys with some lead justice. I’ve been craving a straight-up shooter with a little bit of substance and I’ve satisfied that craving with Namco’s kill.switch.

The premise of the game is quite simple; you’re part of an anti-terrorism organization that travels around the world to diffuse hostile situations before they can get out of hand. You’re given control of a human-like death soldier who is essentially the perfect killing machine. Like most games of this genre the storyline is purely a means of throwing fodder towards your crosshairs. Some of the elements of the story are pretty intriguing but they’re not really the highlight of the game, mainly because it takes a huge backseat to the action. There’s plenty of variety in the missions ranging from military installations to ancient ruins. Wherever the location you can be assured that there are plenty of people to kill and plenty of cover to utilize.

Unlike most third person shooters the game adds a layer of depth by employing what Namco likes to call the “blindfire” system. It’s pretty simple and it makes a hell of a lot of sense. Essentially it allows you to fire upon foes while the majority of your body is concealed. So let’s say you’re crouching behind a crate, by using the blindfire system you can poke your gun out over the crate and spray the area with bullets. The system is understandably inaccurate so you can poke your head out for a bit more accuracy but of course doing so exposes your body to gunfire. If you choose you can bring the sights up to your eyes for a bit more accuracy, this is especially helpful for scoped weapons like the sniper rifle.

You’ll have a pretty potent arsenal at your disposal although the variety wasn’t as great as I would have liked it to be. Most of the weapons feel very similar to one another and have very few differences when it comes to the feel and impact of the weapon. There’s a shotgun in the game but it feels heavily out of place because most of the combat is done at a distance and not in close quarters. I was a little disappointed to see that the designers couldn’t come up with a good compromise between reality and fantasy when it came to the arsenal. You can carry as many weapons as you want but you’ll be limited to a very small cache of ammo, making for a very strange contrast. You can pick up the rounds that enemies drop upon your death but it never seems like you have enough ammo to complete your mission. You’ll also have some grenades at your disposal too, including flash bangs and mines. They bring forth some nice gameplay dynamics that allow you to flush out foes and designate one-man deathtraps.
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