Release date: 10/2003
Author: Parnic (firstname.lastname@example.org) Parnic.com
Since Kill.Switch is a tactical shooter, it relies on you being able to take cover and fire from a concealed position. One of the cool things they have done with Kill.Switch is allow you to take cover behind anything by pulling the left trigger up against it. Once you are behind cover, you simple move the thumbstick up, left, right, or whatever is appropriate. This is a very cool innovation and makes combat situations fun and interesting while not being identical to other shooters in the genre. Other than that, the controls are fairly standard to those of other first- and third-person shooters. The left thumbstick moves your character while the right thumbstick manipulates the camera. These controls feel natural and are easy to get used to. The camera can be a bit awkward at times because of the nature of the game; that is, you are constantly hiding behind things, crouching behind tables, etc. to stay out of enemy fire, and this can oftentimes cause the camera to get caught on nearby objects and not behave as you would expect. Overall, the controls are well done but not much different from other games in the same genre.
At times, Kill.Switch can become pretty frustrating because they have chosen to not allow the player any save points. Unlike other games, you must complete the level before you are allowed to save your progress. Should you die any time in the level (and it is fairly simple to do so), you are forced to start the whole level over again. Many times, someone in a window with an automatic weapon can rip your health from full to zero before you have time to react. However, the game does allow for this to an extent. You have a halo-style “shield” where your health is able to recharge to a certain point after it is diminished by enemy fire. This will often save you if you are able to find cover quickly enough. Aside from the health issue, the character has many helpful abilities to get you through the game. Almost any surface or downed object can be used for cover. Once covered, you can either “blind-fire,” that is, shoot around the corner/over the object without looking (this has a penalty of diminished accuracy, but you are much less likely to get injured), or peek out from behind your cover and take a few shots at enemies. If you are able to find time to peek out, your character will usually hit its target. The AI is usually very smart and will attempt to remove you from your cover with enticing fire or a grenade lobbed in your direction. They will also travel in groups and attempt to take you down all at once. Overall, the gameplay is smooth and fun, but the lack of save points becomes a major problem if you are not careful.
The models and textures in the game are very well-done, but the one downfall for the graphics is the severe need for anti-aliasing. The game could look much better if they had only gotten rid of the very jagged edges created by not using any smoothing techniques such as anti-aliasing. It takes away from the well-done textures and models to see the rough edges almost to the point of being distracting. Otherwise, the characters look good, the levels look clean and are mostly well-thought-out (with the exception of some cluttering causing camera problems), and the color scheme fitting. There are also a few issues with shadows in some places, such as having a shadow when you are up against a wall projecting into the next room with no shadow for the wall, but when you peek around the corner, the shadow disappears. Not distracting enough to be a problem, but certainly a bit awkward.
Kill.Switch doesn’t have any exceptional sound to speak of. The enemies communicate with each other and give you clues as to their whereabouts as well as being able to hear their footsteps. The gunfire is pretty standard and each weapon has a unique sound. You can frequently tell what type of enemy you are up against simply by listening to their weapon firing. These types of audio clues are invaluable in a tactical shooter game as you must use everything to your advantage in order to survive.
Kill.Switch is another great addition to the XBox platform, but is not without its problems. These problems, such as the camera getting hung on objects, shadows not projecting correctly, and the lack of anti-aliasing, can be obstructive, but mostly are simple annoyances and nitpicks. The graphics are clean and augment the experience of the game world well, but have many problems with jagged, pixilated edges. The sound provides good audible clues as to the location of your enemies and helps you identify where to start shooting when you come from cover. I recommend Kill.Switch to people who enjoyed Splinter Cell, Metal Gear Solid, etc., but it is definitely not for the players looking to run out and shoot everything in sight (and live through it). Overall: 7/10.
Edited by Parnic, 19 October 2003 - 04:44 PM.