Remember, this is purely how I feel, though I have gotten input from a couple of friends who participate in Co-op sessions with me. You are open to disagree and I strongly recommend constructive viewpoints through the comments box at the bottom. In the singleplayer/multiplayer/others section I'll be touching more on how the game is played while in the pros/con section I'll be more talking about the nitty-gritty of the game.
Singleplayer - Description and final rating ( out of 10 )
If you haven't played this game and you're looking for a review on what you can expect, here's where you'll get the majority of that information. You're a mercenary/army super "cool" guy. Yup. You and your partner go out and do missions to pull "bank" (yea, it just means to get cash). I'm throwing out some lame ways of putting things because the game does that.
Yes, it does. It has the cliche characters (two super big and menacing guys) with the cliche personalities ("I don't know if this is the right thing to do" personality with "there's a conspiracy going on!" combined with the other character that feels that money is the most important thing and the other guy is just paranoid). Yea, it's lame. But if you can get past that, and the lame storyline that's horribly predictable, you'll find yourself in a classic Xbox 360 shooter. If you haven't played an xbox 360 shooter, you haven't played an Xbox 360 game.
The "interesting" thing about this one is they add in the idea of "aggro". This means that if you are shooting a lot, even blind firing, the enemy will be more focused on you. That means that your partner can sneak up behind the enemy and take him out. This is the basis of the game, and honestly, you'll be using it the entire time.
If you're playing on anything but the hard mode you don't really need to, except against heavily armored bad guys who you need to come up from behind (for some reason they didn't plate themselves on their backs?)...Yea.
So you can play the single player with a computer controlled AI bot. Now since Aggro is clearly an important part of this game, the developers clearly did spend a lot of time working on making the computer AI decent. However, no matter how much time you spend, there are going to be some flaws, and when they happen this will lead to serious frustration and maybe a thrown controller. Checkpoints happen but sometimes they just plain don't trigger. You can't really run out of ammo since ammo will be dropped by the enemies everytime you're running low.
You earn money for each level completed which you can use to buy new guns and upgrade your guns, which is a pretty interesting part of the gameplay.
Here's the problem. If you can get past the AI being questionable, you'll still get annoyed at how repetitive the levels are. Move forward, hide behind cover, use aggro, kill bad guys. Move forward, hide behind cover, use aggro, kill bad guys.
The computer AI just plain isn't smart enough either to "heal" you when you need it, which means if you die you can basically count on going back to a checkpoint. There are a good amount of levels that should keep you playing for about 7 hours, and a couple of difficulties keeps it somewhat interesting. But in the end it really is just another shooter.
Single Player Rating: 6/10.
Multiplayer - Description and final rating ( out of 10 )
The Multiplayer is the more interesting facet of this game. Yea, you can deal with the annoying single player AI, but sooner or later you're going to want to put this game down for eternity on the harder difficulties with it. Instead grab a buddy and play the co-op. This means that there will be a lot more teamwork as you physically tell the other person what you think is best ("can you grab some aggro so I can take out this turret?" "Hey, I'm down, can you move me back like 2 feet and heal me?" .
The other cool part about co-op is that you can decide with your friend what guns you want to have each. This means you can specialize yourself (I'll go snipers, you go rocket launchers!). If you want to get through the harder modes it will require you to have a living person playing with you.
There is an online community, but it is dwindling with every day that goes by. There are some online achievements, and almost all of them will show that you are blatantly trying for them rather than trying to win the game for your team. Although there is nothing technically wrong with it, there's nothing technically special about it either.
Multiplayer score: 8/10
Others - Description and final rating ( out of 10 )
The graphics are actually pretty good in this game, which makes sense since the game was so heavily advertised and marketed. Your character's attributes look good and the cutscences are actually pretty special. When a helicopter flies overhead you don't get slow down or anything like that, and some of the scenery, especially when you hang-glide (more on that later) looks pretty good. The "slowed down time" that you get during "back to backs" (more on this later) will also prove pretty good.
The sound...the sound. Your characters each have a voice, and so does the predictable bad guys and good guys. They each speak pretty well, it's just, well...the dialogue is really bad. Like exceptionally bad. Like you'll be sitting in your home on your couch laughing at the television bad. This makes you associate the voice acting with bad voice acting which translates to bad sound. Beyond that the shooting sounds relatively realistic and the "computer sound" and explosions are fine. It's actually pretty good sound if you can look past the dialogue.
The achievements are...upsetting to say the least. It is like the game creators didn't test the game to see how long it would take to get each one. Yea, you'll get some from playing through the game (as long as you play on a hard enough difficulty) but others will take "milking" of levels (Kill 250 enemies using shotguns). If you're hardcore into these achievements, as I was at one point (when this was one of the few games I owned), you'll end up playing the same level repetitively as you attempt to grab those few extra kills. If you want to collect all the briefcases you're going to need a guide. Right now I'm sitting at 890/1250 (DLC) and that has taken me about, I'd say, 60 hours of playtime. I'm pretty content to sit at that level, and will doubtfully ever entertain any more points.
There is some DLC acheivement points, which are okay, but the last one I tried (Kill Dalton on the hardest difficulty) proved disastrous after about 8 hours of trying (with different people too, not just one guy who was incompetent). It's just plain too hard in my opinion.
You'll have to physically check out what the achievements are and physically attempt to get them, rather than just get them magically while playing through the game. That being said, let's see if they qualify for TastyPastry's "3 attributes of good achievements".
1)You get achievements for playing through the game. True. Complete mission 1 as contractor or higher, heal your partner for the first time, etc.
2) There are achievements that have you play the game in different ways. Mostly true. It's mostly true in that you'll use different guns to kill people (Kill 250 people with assault rifles, pistols, shotguns...) (Kill 30 enemies using the riot shield melee attack...). But, since you can't do these on one playthrough, or even two, or even three, you'll have to milk levels if you're really up for it.
3)There are no offline multiplayer achievements. Unless you count beating the game on the hardest difficulty as a requirement to use co-op since the AI wont get you through it, there are none. There are however online multiplayer achievements, which means boosting, which means detraction from the enjoyment of a online multiplayer experience.
Then there are the "loved" collector achievements. Unlock every mass, earn 1 million dollars throughout the campaign, find every case...check out a guide, and then move on, interrupting the flow.
However, as of now, the online achievements are no longer obtainable. The servers have been shut down
DLC. There is DLC. What's better is that it is free (at least last time I checked). Which is actually pretty ridiculous. It's an "alternate ending" that is actually pretty good (ignoring the lame dialogue). It seriously is as good as the levels in the game that you paid money for while being free. I believe it is two levels if I'm not mistaken. The graphics are just as good, the destructible environments just as good, etc. I've never seen better DLC in fact.
Graphics - 10/10
Sound - 9/10
Acheivements - 6/10
DLC - 10/10
Final Score : Multiplayer + Singleplayer + (Graphics+sound+achievements+DLC/4) / 3
6+8+(10+9+6+10/4)/3 = 7.6
Final Score: 7.6
Summary : List pros and cons and other comments.
Here's the interesting part of my review in my opinion.
*The DLC is simply astonishing. It's free! For basically 2 bonus levels of the game and 250 more possible achievement points! and it isn't like they released some garbage just to appease you, no, the alternate ending is actually interesting and the levels are actually just as good as the game you paid for. There is also a challenge map pack (costs 600 points), and some picture packs and themes if you're into those. I haven't seen a game that has had so much solid downloable content, so that's a big plus.
*Co-op is pretty well done. While single player lacks that "something", Co-op puts you right in the fight with your buddy. Interacting right next to each other injects that "just enough" strategy feel while keeping the game from becoming as hardcore as Call of Duty 4 online.
*Allowing you to unlock guns is a pretty good idea. It gives you more incentives to complete every mission and grab as many "briefcases" (extra cash) as possible per level. Since there is a wide assortment of guns, armor, masks, and other things to choose from, it'll keep you mildly entertained at the least. Don't forget to pimp out your Deagle.
*The average gameplay is longer than most shooters I've experienced. Since there are multiple difficulty modes as well you can continue to advance yourself forward, challenging yourself more and more.
*Graphics/sound are really solid, some of the best, even though the game is getting older every day. You wont be disappointed in that respect.
*There are subtitles (which is often overlooked) and you can adjust the video/sound qualities/controls pretty easily. Although pretty minor it can really make or break how much you like a game.
*Although unlocking weapons is a cool idea, it's poorly implemented. You'll plan with your friend. You'll say "hey buddy, why don't I get the sniper and you get the rocket launcher?" He'll be like "yea dude, good idea, we will be so unstoppable and balanced!". Well turns out you have to save your money for 3/4 of the game for that to really happen. And once it does, you'll be disappointed. The rocket launcer is extremely pathetic, as is the mini-gun, which you probably had high hopes for. For some reason "special ammo" (Ammo for snipers, rocket launchers, etc) doesn't fall often unless you beat "extra armor" type bad guys. This means that your sniping will become more of a novelty than a part of your equipment.
*Some things just don't make sense. At one point you have to take down a bridge. You have to shoot it. You wont have the rocket launcher unlocked by now (most likely). So how do you do it? Oh, just shoot at it with your M16 from a mile away and it falls down. Oh, did I mention it is a concrete bridge? ....
*I've never heard worse dialogue. Just think of all the cliche things you would hear in a bad army movie and put it into this game. Not only that, each character is horribly cliche. There is one character who is questioning the morality and is thinking there is a conspiracy going on. There is another who is just in it for the money and is an idiot and thinks the other guy is being irrational and paranoid. And then there is another guy who is the classic back-stabber who just wants to do every mission by himself in "questionable" methods. can you guess how this plot turns out? I mean, honestly, it's really bad.
Let me give you some quotes.
"I'm going to kill you, drain the blood from your body and take out your bones, put your body on a chair with a bunch of elves and reindeer, sit on your lap and tell you all the cool **** I want for Christmas."
"blow faster than a Thai hooker"
I mean come on. That's just bad dialogue writing. It's just bad.
*Some of the achievements are just plain stupid and frustrating. Do you want to get your buddy to play with you so you can activate power mode and get 100 kills with it? No, no one wants to do that. The points are distributed poorly as well. Some are just impossible unless you are really lucky/really interested in 100%ing this game (Final shot to the head of Dalton is with a type of pistol) Yea right. This was the first game I really "Went at it" in terms of looking up how to get achievements and what not, and I managed 860. I don't recommend you do the same.
*You don't want to use any of their "vehicles". You get a hovercraft. It's annoyingly hard to drive. You'll soon realize that it is just better to zoom past the bad guys in the other hovercrafts than to stay and fight as well. Which kind of takes away some of the purpose of the game...
Oh, and did I mention you get to use a hang-glider? Oh, yea, that's cool. You just think "these guys are idiots" the whole time you're doing it because you are using a hang-glider, above a huge canyon, while there are at least 40 guys throughout the "gliding" part shooting at you. Someone has to shoot your hang-glider during this, honestly. Your co-op buddy you have will try to take them out with the sniper he bought, but it's way too impossible with how much the glider moves. Even if you do manage to kill someone, you'll probably be moving past them already anyway.
Remember my final score was a 7.6
High scores went to the DLC, Graphics, Sound, and Co-op Multiplayer Mode. If there was a "dialogue writing" section it would have a 0.