In this shooter we have the story of Tommy, a Cherokee stranded on a reservation who’s life is going nowhere. The girl he loves is stuck in a dead end job working in a local bar, and sadly refuses his prodding for her to “leave with him” and “leave this place.” There is basic talk to his grandfather who sits at the bar with him mentioning he will be needed later that night, and some talk with his girlfriend before the things go crazy.
Just as a bar fight ensues and after you have taken on two hicks with a wrench, the world goes into chaos as aliens tear into the bar and by means of lasers and beams simply abduct everyone and almost everything around, (even chunks of the very bar that you start out in itself that you see later in the game.)
Abducted along with all the other earthlings, this game has a familiar Quake IV plot from the start. Along metal conveyor belts your character gets whisked away into a large planet like mothership of alien origin. However, as with the start of many good stories, he is aided by an “unseen” friend and his pod, which seems to be taking him into some type of human processing plant., derails and crashes….thus setting him free.
He girlfriend isn’t so fortunate, and her cries echos down the long metal corridors as he cries out that he will come to her aid and save her. With wrench in hand, (which I am not sure where he hid this since they show you a reflection of him in the beggining while restrained with nothing in his hands,) he creeps off into the shadows to assault the uninvited earth “guests” and start a long journey of body and spirit.
Well, for starters, this almost threatens to be another “us against the aliens” shooter. As you move along the extremely linear hidden game path, the game has an option to “learn” from your playing style. Not sure what difference it makes, as when I tried playing with option on, I didn’t notice anything odd in the AI. Perhaps emailing the game company would reveal more details on this feature. The weapon attainment advance is fair enough…,( you start with a wrench, then gain a rifle…etc..etc) and the health power up spots, (which looks like a living alien that poofs dust from a bowl into your face,) are more than generous at simple levels.
The graphics are good, and there are many settings for not top of the line cards, (so us poor folk can still play.) All in all, where the storyline threatens to be ‘yet another space shooter’, it starts to unravel a fair storyline. Twists in the plot and the mastering of ‘spirit’ abilities spice up the game in later levels. Such as walking through forcefields in ghostly form and crossing bottomless metalic chasms via ‘spirit bridges’ make the game unique. Even more so, when you die, you don’t lose lives, experience, or items. You take a trip into the spirit realm to battle the ‘restless spirits of conquered foes’, (or something very close to that.)
Another neato part of the game experience is tossed in after a few levels and it has everything to do with gravity. Nope, not talking about jumping in light gravity or walking just up walls. I am talking flipping the whole screen, walking up, around, and down walls…and finally jumping into teleport holes that flip your view all around and change your orientation. Some puzzles include shooting distant “triggers” that initiate this boggling event.
Sometimes it happens after you have entered a gate or portal. Wildly, there is even a puzzle near the games later stages that is completely based on flipping a cube while you are in it. I won’t give any spoilers besides what I may have already, no comments on the ending, for it could ruin the story, but the ending is worth the game.
Simply, the game play is long enough in my opinion for an average shooter, (heck, longer than some I played,) and it even has a “mature” mode. Once enabled, you can listen to Tommy cuss when he gets injured, or recoil in horror while swearing like a sailor. In my opinion a touch leatherneck indian swearing at the face of adversity makes it realistic, (and heck, if aliens took over and I was running around a tunnel that looked alive while hearing distant broadcasts of Art Bell from alien receivers, you bet I might let a few 4 letter choice words fly when something comes close to biting my head off!)
All in all? Great game, good graphics, decent amount of time to play, some new concepts and sneaky enemy AI at times. Sure, it was a tough act to follow games like Doom 3 or Quake 4, but it sure has it’s points and it still stands alone with originality and interesting level concepts.