SiN Episodes: Emergence PC DVD-ROM
Published by Valve
Developed by Ritual Entertainment
Release Date: Out Now
SiN Episodes: Emergence, an introduction.
In many ways SiN Episodes: Emergence points to the future. Not only is the game available to purchase and download (through Source) but it's also one of the first major releases to be available in Episodic form. Episodic games are essentially a way of getting you to pay more for your gaming pleasure as only sections of a game are released at a time for a budget price. Whilst this may seem a good idea at first, it's bound to end up being more expensive for the customer (assuming you decide to purchase all of the episodes that are released and let's face it, it's all pretty pointless unless you do), which isn't good news.
What's the game about?
As in the original SiN you play as Colonel John R. Blade, commander of the legendary Freeport Security Force. The game begins with Blade being a prisoner of the evil and incredibly large busted, Elexis Sinclaire (CEO of SiNTEK Industries) and Viktor Radek. Almost immediately Blade is rescued by Jessica Cannon, a new addition to Blade's team, but before he is, Blade is injected with a substance that initially has the effect of making Blade pass out from time to time.
What's good about the game?
I suppose most will see the budget price tag as a major plus point, although the fact that the game is simply an 'episode' and not a complete story means there's no way that the game could have been a full price title, especially as you'll do well to get six hours from the game. To further increase the value for money however, the original SiN (and it's multiplayer game) have been included. Quite a few FPS gamers probably never experienced SiN the first time around so it's great that you'll now get a chance to do so and it's an enjoyable game by all accounts that is subtitled. The most positive aspect of SiN Episodes: Emergence is that it's a no fuss shooter that offers a lot of run and gun game play. Those who find the modern day FPS a little too restrictive in this respect will appreciate the unfettered nature of the game.
What's not so good about the game?
The SiN Episodes part of the package contains no multiplayer, which will probably disappoint most FPS fans. Whilst the game is essentially an enjoyable, short-lived, FPS it does lack some of the charm that the original SiN had. Part of the reason for this is that Blade, unlike the first game, hardly says a word so you don't really get a sense of what the character you're playing as is like. The weapon choice is paltry with a Magnum Pistol, Scattergun and Assault Rifle (as well as G50 grenades) being offered. The enemy AI isn't anywhere near as sophisticated as you might have hoped for and it shouldn't present much of a challenge to those who play FPS games on a regular basis. In fact underneath all of the visual gloss you'll find a FPS that's actually quite basic at odds with the current state of the genre.
How does it look?
It's fair to say the game was expected to look good and it doesn't disappoint. Rather strangely though, the game does seem to have some serious performance issues. Our experience with Half-Life 2 was a very smooth one, even with all of the graphical details turned to maximum and with anti-aliasing enabled. However with SiN Episodes: Emergence our experience was nowhere near as impressive. We experienced frequent stuttering, which does seem rather odd considering the game certainly doesn't look any better than Half-Life 2. There are some physics based puzzles here but it's nothing that hasn't been done a lot better in Half-Life 2.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
Without a doubt, the most deaf gamer friendly FPS game we've seen to date has been Half-Life 2. As we've already mentioned SiN Episodes uses the same Source engine that Half-Life 2 does and thankfully it means we have the same superb subtitling and captioning system in SiN Episodes that we had in Half-Life 2. So it's excellent news then? Well it should be but the game isn't captioned anywhere near as good as it could be. Several enemies give an audio cue warning just before they fire and there are no captions for this which makes the game annoyingly difficult in the later stages. Hopefully this can be remedied in a future update but for now it's not as good an experience as Half-Life 2 was for deaf gamers.
There's no denying that SiN Episodes: Emergence is fairly enjoyable to play. At the asking price of £19.99 (it can be found for £14.99 online) it's certainly not bad value for money either considering you also get the original SiN game. The major problems are AI that's not really that challenging, poor weapon selection and no multiplayer along with only six hours play on offer (probably less if you play a lot of FPS games). Ultimately it's not a bad (portion of a) game but it's far from being a great one too.
Overall Game Rating: 6.0/10
Deaf Gamers Classification:
(Click the letter or here for details)
If part one is anything to go by SiN Episodes isn't going to be worth the expense. With no multiplayer game and a single-player experience that feels dated, it's all a bit disappointing. With only six hours play time (less if you're a good FPS gamer) you'll spend more time with the included original SiN than you will with SiN Episodes: Emergence. Missing captions need to be added too, as in its current state it's not as deaf gamer friendly as it should be (although it's certainly not bad).