Perfect Dark Zero Xbox 360
Published by Microsoft Game Studios
Developed by Rare Ltd.
Release Date: Out Now
Perfect Dark Zero, an introduction.
Many regard Perfect Dark on the Nintendo 64 as one of the best FPS games of all time. Created by Rare the game was seen as the spiritual successor to the legendary GoldenEye 007 that was also developed by Rare. Many have even argued that as a single-player experience, Perfect Dark was an even better game. Of course both of these games were created many years ago and since then fans of both games have been waiting to see what kind of FPS experience Rare would deliver next. Well the wait is finally over and Perfect Dark Zero is the result.
What's the game about?
Perfect Dark Zero, the game that was originally planned for the Xbox, is actually a prequel to the Nintendo 64 game Perfect Dark. Once again you'll control Joanna Dark and once again she's equipped with some pretty amazing gadgetry. Joanna Dark is essentially a bounty hunter who, in Perfect Dark Zero, works with her Dad, Jack Dark. They both work for the Dark Bail Bonds and during the course of the game they'll have missions in locations such as Hong Kong, China, South America and Africa.
What's good about the game?
Perfect Dark Zero is definitely one of the better FPS games we've seen this year. The story isn't wonderful to be honest but it doesn't matter as the action more than makes up for it. You'll have a multitude of great weapons and gadgets at your disposal and you'll get to choose what weapons you can take into a mission. Joanna Dark can't carry many weapons though, so you'll have to be careful about what weapons you choose. Perfect Dark Zero really gives you the choice of playing the game as either a tactical shooter or taking the all guns blazing approach. There are 3 difficulty levels in the game with the easiest really being a cinch and the most difficult requiring you to avoid being hit at all costs. Suffice to say that if you're playing on the hardest difficulty level, you'll need to use all the stealth options at your disposal. JD can use cover to stealthily take out enemies and she can also dive out of the way of enemy fire to avoid getting hurt. JD can also disarm and taunt enemies, which is nice (although thanks to the poor support for deaf gamers you won't know what the enemies response to the taunt was). The AI is competent in that it makes full use of cover, although there are times when enemies will make a foolhardy dash toward you which makes them easy to pick off. Most of the levels in the game are engaging. What I also liked is that the game seems to know if you're disorientated and provides markers to let you know the direction you should be heading, which is actually a really nice touch.
As well as a very enjoyable single-player game it's also chock-full of multiplayer options that all add up to a great value package. As well as a single-player game that offers around 15 or so hours you can also play the game co-operatively via split-screen, system link or Xbox Live. You can also play Deathmatch (which includes Killcount, Team Killcount, Capture the Flag, and Territorial Gains) and DarkOps (which includes Eradication, Onslaught, Infection, and Sabotage) games via split-screen, system link and Xbox Live. You can even play against the AI bots, if you prefer to play these games, (or just practice for online games) by yourself.
What's not so good about the game?
Top of the disappointments has to be the fact that the game is just one heck of a mess for deaf gamers. That's not the only disappointment however. Whilst the game has been in development for a long time there are elements of it that just don't seem right. Unless you perform headshots enemies seem to be able to take a silly amount of bullets before finally succumbing. There is no mid-mission save or quicksave feature which is disappointing. The first mission you'll play in the game is actually quite boring. I have to be honest here and say that I was feeling pretty negative about the game after playing the first mission. Thankfully though, from thereon in the game really warms up into a great single-player experience so this is one negative that's easy to forgive.
How does it look?
In places Perfect Dark Zero looks absolutely stunning. The weapons and character models look very good and feature a surprising amount of detail. Some of the texture effects and bump mapping in the various environments also look great. The lighting effects are also spectacular and definitely have a wow factor about them. Fallen enemies give a nice display of the ragdoll physics in the game and again this looks impressive. There are some rough elements though. The frame rate is not the rock solid 60fps you would expect it to be. LEGO-like shadows (in other words they are very blocky at times) are very disappointing. You'll also notice a small amount of graphical tearing from time to time. This isn't anything major but you would have thought Rare would have enabled vsync in the game to prevent this from occurring. Regardless of these niggles though, the game does look stunning in parts and when played on a high definition display definitely looks like a next generation console FPS.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
As we mentioned above the game is an absolute mess for deaf gamers. Mission briefings are shown in text and tutorial messages are also shown in text but that's really as good as it gets. You'll miss out on the entire story, not that it's that great, as none of the cutscenes are subtitled. Throughout the missions you'll receive communications from Chandra, the mission co-ordinator, and none of these are subtitled. Chandra offers plenty of advice and information, some of which is very important, so it's a massive blow that none of her comments are subtitled. Mission objectives can be recalled and you're notified in text when new ones are issued and existing ones are completed. There aren't any captions in the game either. To be perfectly honest it was a borderline decision as to whether we should give the game a DGC of D or E. We went with the E grade because so much information is lost for deaf gamers.
Perfect Dark Zero really is a great game but unfortunately it's not one deaf gamers should be advised to purchase. There's too much verbal content here that isn't subtitled and this really puts a damper on what is an engrossing FPS. Don't get me wrong with perseverance the obstacles could be worked around but if you want a more deaf gamer friendly FPS for your new Xbox 360 you'd be better off with Call of Duty 2.
Overall Game Rating: 8.0/10
Deaf Gamers Classification:
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Perfect Dark Zero is a wonderful FPS that not only has a very good single-player game but also has bags of multiplayer options. Unfortunately it's a massive let down for deaf gamers with very poor support for deaf gamers.