I'm happy, and it's not because of illicit drugs. Nay, I'm happy
because developers are now targeting me with the new crop of
FPS. As I like to pretend I'm smart, I dub these "the thinking man's
FPS". You know the games I mean, where stealth, creativity, and
a little bit of planning are rewarded. Deus Ex, Hitman: Codename
47, No One Lives Forever, and now Project IGI.
One of the most interesting aspects of this game is that it actually
uses a modified (heavily, I'd imagine) flight simulator engine.
What strange bedfellows FPS and flight sims make. However, it
works. This game primarily takes place in outdoor bases and
capitalizes on the terrain rendering of the engine. The world
surrounding each level is quite impressive, often rugged mountain
terrain that you can wander up and around to get a good look at
the base or to potentially find another entrance.
The structures are adequate albeit texturally bland (yes I made
that up). The bases are well layed out and "work". I never really
wondered while I was running through the base "why is this
here?" or "why are there explosive barrels sitting there and those
group of bad guys hanging around it?" The models are pretty
good, although you rarely get close enough to take a good look,
nor should you.
Realism is the name of the game, and Project IGI pulls it off quite
well. Generally, "realism" means to me "die easier and you can
do less stuff". This remains the same in this game, but for some
reason it doesn't bother me. Sure, if you drop off a 2nd story roof
you take a bunch of damage. This is the game's way of saying
"don't do that, stupid". Also, if a guard empties an entire clip into
you then yes, you will probably die.
The game, regardless of the limitations "realism" impose on you,
is still fun. Sneaking around has always been my style of gaming
(probably because I'm a huge coward) and this game has it in
spades. Unlike Thief, however, you don't really try and avoid
combat. Rather, you try and kill quietly and only isolated
individuals. Running in guns blazing, in this game more than any
other, will get you nowhere. The guns are all quite powerful and
accurately model their real-life counterparts.
This game introduces some nice concepts. You can slide down or
crawl along wires to get over fences and walls, you can shoot
through glass (sometimes without breaking it, if you only fire a few
rounds), and you can shoot through certain walls, including
Now, onto the less-than-good stuff. The enemy AI is just plain bad
when it comes to responding to events. As an example, in one
level there are two enemies talking to each other. If you shoot
one in the head, the other one will just stand there and do nothing.
This is just plain bad and I'm very unimpressed that the game was
shipped with something as obvious as this. Chalk up another
"Christmas crunched" game.
The AI, when it DOES realize you're around, can be pretty smart.
It takes cover, dives to the ground and won't just run through open
doors. This is a nice break from the "I see you, now I'll just blindly
run forward and try and shoot you", but it's a step down from the
fighting AI of No One Lives Forever. One of the other annoyances
is how enemies will run towards you, and past you, than realize
they're retarded and turn towards you and start firing. What's kind
of funny is that it makes them a lot harder to hit because they don't
stop and start firing, but it's still a bug.
Another thing that is a bit strange in a realistic game is the
disappearing bodies. I'm not exactly complaining, having to
constantly drag bodies around is a pain in the arse, but sometimes
I think it's a good thing to need to do. The adrenaline really flows
when a guard is walking towards you and you just killed his buddy
in the middle of the hall...having to think about where you kill
bodies is a good aspect of games like NOLF and Hitman:
The worst part of this game - and I'm frightened by the increasing
frequency of this - is the lack of in-game saving. Hitman didn't
have it and it was annoying. In this game, I'd say it's even worse
because you don't even get the 2 continues like you do in Hitman.
You die, you restart. Some of the missions are very long as well,
and often get extended even farther than expected due to things
that happen in-game.
As an example, in mission 3, you are sent to infiltrate a prison to
rescue somebody. You play it through a few times, eventually
figuring out how much ammo/health you can afford to lose before
you reach the goal. Perhaps you fire a bit more wildly than you
should. Then you realize he's not in the prison so you have to go
to another area which is almost as large as the first area. Die
there, and you're back to the very start!
It's not much fun retracing your steps. I know games last a lot
longer this way rather than the "save every 5 feet" style, but I'd
rather have a short but memorable game than a long and
frustrating one. Perhaps even having the ability to only save
twice; at least SOMETHING.
Overall I still enjoyed this game and the AI isn't awful enough to
really bother me. The lack of save feature is annoying. The
graphics and sound are pleasant, and the gameplay works. It
could use some spit and polish, like Hitman, but it's pretty fun.
[ 40/50 ] Gameplay
[ 07/10 ] Graphics
[ 08/10 ] Sound
[ 08/10 ] Storyline
[ 07/10 ] Fun Factor
[ 08/10 ] Overall