No… it’s not a cheesy Steven Segal movie in which he plays an autistic death row executioner out to revenge his best friend/partner, who got killed by a terrorist organization out to kill all American executioners, and good ‘ol Stevie has to hunt them down on his own and do what he does best and “Pull the kill switch”. Umm… uhh where was I... oh yeah… kill.switch is a recently released game by Namco for the Xbox and PS2 that gives you much more entertainment then the bad acting, corny storyline and attempted martial arts of a Segal movie could ever bring. kill.switch may seem like a regular third person shooter that we’ve seen over and over, but kill.switch has a small twist in its gameplay. You have the ability to take cover around or duck down behind virtually anything you see, sure it may not sound as revolutionary as chocolate flavored lard (mmmm…), but it’s what set’s it apart from all the other run of the mill games out there.
The story is pretty simple at first. You appear to be some elite military agent named Bishop doing missions for some mysterious corporation. But as the story unfolds through cut-scenes and a reoccurring flashback that reveals a little more every time you see it, you find out who you really are, and who’s really in control. In the end, the story isn’t that complicated, but it’s very intriguing to slowly find out the mystery of what’s really going on. Unfortunately it’s not a very long story however, clocking in at just less than 5 hours on normal difficulty.
The gameplay in kill.switch is rather simple, shoot that guy, duck down behind box, shoot the other guy, duck down behind box. It may seem rather repetitive but it’s really not. There’s never a dull moment in this game, it’s got more action packed into it then you can shake an AK-47 at. You’ll constantly be hiding behind objects and diving for cover, and it’s so much fun it really never gets old. While you’re taking cover there are a few things you can do, you could lob a grenade around the corner, pop out and shoot, or if you’re cowardly bastard, you could just reach out and shoot blindly around the corner. You won’t have much control of where you shoot, but if someone is pretty close, you have a good chance of hitting them with at least one bullet. The controls are simple and easy to get used to, right trigger shoots and left trigger makes Bishop lean up against whatever cover you’re near. The aiming feels very tight, which is a very good thing when you’ve only got a split second to shoot somebody before you have to get back down behind the box. The camera is surprisingly good for a third person game. It’s always where you want it to be, and it never gets in the way of the action, like it usually does in many other third person games. The AI has some slight problems. You can actually bounce a grenade of an enemy’s shins, without them noticing until a split second before it explodes. On the other hand the AI is very intelligent in that your enemies utilize cover fairly well, and pop out and shoot much like you would. One thing that kill.switch is lacking in is some kind of multiplayer mode. Though deathmatch would have been a little dull, I think this game could have benefited from a co-op feature, in which you and a friend could perform missions together. It would be fun to cover your friends back while he dives for cover.
The graphics are average. The character models are very detailed and look beautiful, but limitations of the PS2 cause the game to have some rather low detail textures. Even on the Xbox version the textures can appear blurry and pixilated, which is common for a multiplatform game. The particle effects of the muzzle flashes and the debris flying off various objects are believable and really make you feel like you’re getting shot at as you hide behind a wooden crate with splinters flying over your head. The character animations of Bishop diving and running are convincing, but the enemy death animations can seem a little fast and sometimes you’ll find someone on the floor almost immediately after you shoot him without even seeing him fall.
The sound effects in this game are very well done. The sound of bullets whizzing by your head and debris falling to the floor sound very real. It really adds to the action when you feel like your life really is in danger. The music is nothing special, but isn’t annoying and doesn’t try to stand out. Most of the tunes are some form of techno or standard orchestra movie type music.
kill.switch is a game that really stands out from other third person shooters, and has an intensity about it that few other shooters have. You’ll find yourself really getting into the game as you dive from one place to another, dodging bullet after bullet and taking down enemy after enemy. Even with the minor AI flaws, graphics held back by the PS2 and no multiplayer whatsoever, kill.switch is still an amazingly fun game that gives you an experience few other games can. Now if only that experience was longer…
+ Duck down behind stuff…
+ Gameplay that never gets old
+ Involving storyline
+ Solid camera and controls
- Low detail textures
- No multiplayer?
- Real short
+/- AI that sometimes lacks in I
? What does the title mean?
Gameplay – 9/10
Graphics – 7.5/10
Sound – 8/10
Replay Value – 7/10
Overall Score out of 10 (not an average)