Perfect Dark makes a triumphant return to the console, only this time it looks bloody good. The game is a prequel to its N64 predecessor (back in 2000), and shows the Joanna Dark’s life prior to working for the Carrington Institute. Fighting along-side your father as a bounty hunter, you will soon find yourself wrapped up in corporate scandal, pitting you against the corrupt dataDyne corporation.
Those people who are looking for another Halo game will be disappointed as these games can’t be compared. Firstly, the action is a lot slower and Perfect Dark focuses more on tactical game-play than storming down the map with your Uzi’s a blazin. Secondly, you can’t jump...at all. Which is realistic in many ways – when was the last time you saw a guy in a gun fight jumping around the room like he had a squirrel in his tighty-whities? That’s right, never. So instead of jumping, what do we get? The ability to take cover behind objects. One word, GENIUS. With a simple tap of the A button, you can take cover behind most objects on any map. The corner of a wall, a box, a can, the side of a tipped over truck, the sky’s the limit here. Once in cover, you can pop out and shoot with a pull of the trigger, and then you will quickly tuck back in for cover. Another great feature about this game is that a headshot really counts and it doesn’t matter what gun you have. While at the same time a body shot will do diddly-squat for damage. Instead of having to shoot someone a good 8-10 times before they biff it - aim for the head.
So what makes this game stand out among other first person shooters? Variety. Perfect Dark Zero sports 25 different weapons and 8 different modes to play on Xbox Live alone.
If you can’t find a type of game you love with 8 different ones to choose from, frankly something’s wrong with you. Here’s a basic breakdown of the types of games you can play:
• Killcount: Classic free for all, most kills wins.
• Team Killcount: Team 1 vs Team 2, team with most total kills wins
• Territorial Gains: Team based match, capture designated map locations and hold
• Eradication: Team based match, Last man standing (very nerve racking)
• Onslaught: One team defends a location, one attacks. Attackers respawn but only get a single weapon (choice of host), defenders can purchase weapons but don’t respawn (very fun)
• Infection: A couple players start off “infected” (seen as skeletons on screen), while all the others must defend themselves as a team. If a normal player is killed by an infected, he then becomes infected. Infected respawn, but are restricted to pistol only. Non-infected can buy weapons at the start of the round (best mode in my opinion)
On top of all these great modes to play, the sheer weapon variety is just amazing. Each weapon has AT LEAST, that’s right, I said AT LEAST, one secondary function. About a third of the guns in the game have two extra functions. Functions ranging from silencers, cloaking abilities, to player guided rockets (coolest thing ever). There is no denying that Rare really hit the cycle on this one. Each weapon is so unique, and best of all, no weapon is useless. Often I find myself running for a pistol or SMG when I spawn just for the cool secondary firing modes like ricocheting bullets, or hologram projectors. Just be aware that the bigger then gun you carry, the slower you run. Makes sense right? Don’t expect to be truckin’ across the map carrying your rocket launcher; you’ll get there, it’ll just take a little time.
A neat way to salvage the slightly boring single player campaign is online and offline co-op. Split your TV in two and duke it out tag team style, or pair up on Xbox Live, working your way through the campaign with a buddy. This is a great idea in principle, and it almost works flawlessly, but I’ve got one major gripe. The co-op style isn’t just two people playing the single player campaign, you’re actually playing a slightly modified version. Objectives like “open this door with that switch” now require both of you to do something. For instance one of you will have to go work the switch while the other works the door. Trust me, you’ll find this out the hard way when you activate a door, and run across the level only to find it locked again, then you have to Rock-Paper-Scissors it up to see who gets to run back. The Live Co-op works just as well – but make sure you have a relatively intelligent human to play with. If you team up with a right meathead who can’t work switches – just remember his name and get revenge in your next deathmatch game.