Perfect Dark review (Xbox 360)

coolbeans | 1127d ago | User review
Reviewing: Perfect Dark
XBLA's Revisit to Perfect Dark Offers More Value Than Most Retail Shooters.
After releasing the prequel-Perfect Dark Zero-back in 2005, Microsoft thought it best to recreate the N64 classic that started it all with improved textures, steadier framerate, and online additions to the already impressive list of multiplayer options. With nostalgia turning out to be a great cash cow, it seems expected for a publisher to sink their teeth into what many proclaim to be one of the best fps' of all time. In a world where the first person shooter reign supreme, is their a perfect niche to be found in this $10 (800 MS point) shooter?

The story to this cyber-punk setting takes place in the year 2023. Johanna Dark works for the Carrington Institute, a pseudo-business, espionage company founded by Daniel Carrington. Achieveing the rank of "Perfect Dark" from the company, Johanna's tasked with Carrington's most dangerous missions to go after dataDyne, and eventually an evil alien race. The overall story is essentially one cheesy idea to the next, but it can show signs of knowing what it's doing. It's fairly obvious to see that the story was really just a placeholder to the assortment of great locales Johanna visits throughout the game. Dwadling the line between funny in a campy sense and stupid, Perfect Dark is the posterchild for enjoying the journey, rather then adoring the end result.

Developer 4J Studious, the ones behind the XBLA remakes of Banjo Kazooie and Banjo Tooie, have really raised the bar on what can be done to revive what a game two generations can look like, without making it feel foreign to fans of N64's Perfect Dark. The sights and sounds are remastered to today's HD standards, although both aspects show some noticeable hitches. Despite all of the rigirous tasks completed by the developer on the technical side, this remake is going to be marked by the term "dated". If you understand the fact that the original required external RAM just to play 100% the game, it will be understandable to see Perfect Dark can be appreciated for simply keeping a solid framerate. Overall, the technical aspects may fall short thanks to there being no lip synching and questionable voice acting, but that's more at the fault of how far FPS have come since Perfect Dark's 2000 debut.

Being the spiritual successor to Rare's Goldeneye 007, Rare's "other half" FPS falls along most of the guidelines set by its predecessor while building upon those guidelines in almost every way. The seventeen missions are structured around the idea of adding more objectives and tougher enemies with each corresponding difficulty. This formula can feel fresh to most shooter fans since it's rarely used by many other games. These tidbits plus added "cheats" help to provide extras that feel like real incentives to go back through the campaign. The one aspect that can be found to be an annoyance is the lack of a clear marker to tell you where to complete the next objective. Although it does give into the sense of being non-linear, it may catch the unanticipated into getting lost from time to time.

Before the vision of Halo bringing a 2 weapon loadout, Rare's Perfect Dark stayed to the usual idea of switching through the entire arsenal. With this impressive arsenal comes a wide variety of weapons complete with their own alternate fire components. It's certainly a common thing to see in today's shooters, but hardly any game does it to better effect. With the gleaming side of shooting that any N64 fan will remember comes the AI that all will wish to forget. Regardless of difficulty, Perfect Dark's AI usually acts as more of being there for cannon fodder, rather than acting as trained guards. The term dated is not restricted to PD's visuals and audio design, but to the gameplay as well. What should be more shocking is the fact that some of Perfect Dark's single player features are hardly used in today's plethora of shooters. Don't be suprised if there's something in PD you may have never experienced before if you have only played a handful of today's modern fps.

Where Perfect Dark may feel old in technical aspects, the grocery list of cooperative and competitive options propeled further by the added online option make Perfect Dark stand above many of today's competitors. Whether it's from 4 player splitscreen or 8 players online, Perfect Dark's competitive online options are nearly infinite. With a maximum of 12 characters allowed in total on one map, you're able to either play solely against bots or have eight human players with four bots in combat. Add this impressive showing of competitve MP with the coutner-opertive option, which has 2 players (through either splitscreen or online) face against each other throughout all the SP missions as either Johanna Dark or one of the respawning enemies, and you have an amazing amout of value for just 800 Microsoft points.

In conclusion, the XBLA version of Perfect Dark feels like the absolute package that could have arguably been called better than the original had it released during a less competitive timeframe. Although Perfect Dark Zero may have left an aftertaste that was a bit bittersweet to most fans, this re-entry into the Perfect Dark universe exceeded my expectations right out of the starting gate. If you can manage to cope with the noticeable signs of age in Perfect Dark, you're in for a revision that just might be one of the greatest remakes to be released for this-gen consoles (X360, PS3, Wii).

coolbeans' *Certified Fresh Re-makE* badge

Perfect Dark (N64): 9.5/10 and coolbeans' *Certified FresH* badge
Ups
Profusion of online options
Great value for a $10 entry price
Addictive
Downs
Dated in many regards
Score
7.0
Graphics Everything runs smooth and looks much better than N64's Perfect Dark; however, there's other arcade shooters that look better.
7.5
Sound It certainly has a fitting tone that takes inspiration from Goldeneye. Not all of the voice acting is up to snuff with other arcade titles.
6.0
Gameplay Perfect Dark shows it's age from the very first time auto-aim makes it's appearance. The non-linear mission structure could feel like something new, since it's hardly used in other first person shooters.
10.0
Fun factor Being a huge fan of Goldeneye 007, Perfect Dark never really captivated my interest back in the N64 days. This game oozes with fun thanks mostly in part to it being a remake to one of the greatest fps' of all time.
10.0
Online I'm fairly certain that no other fps on the arcade market has as much online value as this game.
9.0
Overall (out of 10 / not an average)
coolbeans  +   1127d ago
Hope everyone enjoyed the review. I personally think this is one of the best, if not THE best fps on the arcade market solely thanks to Rare's ambition that surpasses quite a few other shooters on the market. This remake would've been on par with the original in my eyes if they tweaked the gameplay and technical design just a little bit more.
GunofthePatriots  +   1127d ago
This and Goldeneye were great games back in the day. Always wanted to pick this version up though and might go do that.

Howw many people play online?
coolbeans  +   1126d ago
It's been awhile since I've played it, I'd imagine there's quite a few that still play it (given the sales numbers). Even if the online is a dead zone when you're on, you can have up to 11 bots with personalities you can tweak.
coolbeans  +   1126d ago
As stated in the review, there's a 12 player maximum limit; however, there's 8 human positions allowed (the other 4 can be filled with bots). You can flucuate the bot count in order for you to fill up the game with 12 total players.
kramun  +   1127d ago
NM.
#3 (Edited 1127d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
Ghost107  +   1125d ago
You give it 6/10 for gameplay and overall 9/10. Your reviews are all over the place, you gave Resistance 3 a better score for gameplay 8.5, but only gave that game 7.7 overall. Surely gameplay is the most important factor when reviewing games?. You seem to throw logic out the window when you do a review. Which makes you a good candidate for the postition of chief reviewer at IGN
#4 (Edited 1125d ago ) | Agree(6) | Disagree(2) | Report | Reply
coolbeans  +   1125d ago
1.) Whenever you're creating a review a caption is made next to the overall score that states: "__/10 / not an average". I'm not being arm-twisted to use my calucator and round up to the nearest 1/10th with every review. That's just not how it works, nor should it work that way.

2.) Even though I thought I stated it perfectly in the review, I'm going to restate why this remake has a 9.0/10 : When observing the sum of its parts, this games screams dated (as to be expected with a 10 years old game); however, when examining the WHOLE game, you'll be treated with a remake that's overflowing with a vast array of options that are in a greater abundance than 90% of today's FPS.

This is the same as the music community recognizing "Sh-Boom" by the Chords to still be one of the greatest songs of all time, or watching older sci-fi movies in HD. You know the technology is archaic in today's time, but it's still excellent thanks to the content in the movie or the song.

In the end, I found this review to be a healthy challenge of weighing ambition to the dated mechanics. In addition, it should be noted that this remake started out at only 800 MS Points, rather than 1200 like almost every other FPS on the arcade marketplace since...'09/'10. Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions.
#4.1 (Edited 1125d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(6) | Report | Reply
coolbeans  +   1123d ago
Upon reading criticims, I recalibrated the scores in gameplay & sound. Although I'm not forced to diligently follow averages when weighing in the final score, the category scores may have come off as being too divisive with the overall score, which may have caused some head scracthing. I was wrong in giving this game some scathing remarks when understanding that they still feel complete and functional.

I'm truly sorry for the rubber banding of the overall score, and hope my apology (and changes) can alleviate some of the frustration. As stated before, feel free to PM me with any questions (since I'm out of bubbles). Once again, sorry for any of the frustration this may have caused.
#5 (Edited 1123d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply

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Perfect Dark

Average Score 8.0 Reviews(64)
Release Dates
Xbox 360 Release Dates
US 17 March 2010
EU 17 March 2010
AU 17 March 2010
JP 17 March 2010