Something that just about anyone who's seen any of J.J. Abrams' great spy action show Alias, particularly those that are fans of video-games(yours truly included) has thought is that the show would make a *great* game. Whether ABC approached J.J. or if it was the other way around, the decision to make a video-game was made. The plot starts at around the end of the second season of the show, and could almost be canon. There are only a few things about the game that means it couldn't have been part of the overall continuity of the show. The plot is fairly good, too... there are some things in it that don't make perfect sense, but it does work in the characters that we really want to see(except for maybe Kendall), and keep you interested throughout. The game fits in basically everything we know and love from the show... the wit, the music, the action, the gadgets, martial arts, the exotic locations, using everyday objects as weapons, the plot-twists... heck, there's even a brush pass(if it's not as coordinated as those on the show) at one point(a little of it does feel "put in", though... it's not perfectly integrated, or entirely up(if close) to the level of the show). The one thing that is big on the show that isn't in the game is Sydney's personal life. It plays as several episodes immediately after each other, complete with briefings in-between missions, featuring Marshall presenting the gadgetry with lines and cuts that run almost as well as those on the show. The main cast(save for the actress who portrays Anna) all reprise their roles... with varying success. Not everyone is as good a voice actor as they are an on-screen actor; Garner is the only one who is sub par, and most everyone else is decent. Weisman(Marshall) was remarkably good. The rest of the voice acting... the word "random" comes to mind. The guards, almost irrespective of where in the world the mission takes place, sound the same(and have a fairly low number of lines). The voice of Anna, based on what she sounds like on the show, is way off. It didn't sound like a Russian; it sounded like someone who's grown up watching TV shows and Bond movies doing a half-hearted impression of a Russian. The game takes an unexpected route as far as guns go; whereas in the show, there's about as much gun-play as there is martial arts, the game only has one type of gun... and if Sydney wants one, she'll have to grab it from a guard, after killing him. And there's no reloading for you, either. Clearly, the game-makers wanted to deter the player from grabbing a gun and just shooting their way through the entire game, but they may have gone too far in the other direction. An interesting thing is that it takes about the same amount of bullets to bring Syd down as any of the opponents. Be aware that if you play this game, there is fairly little shooting involved. Particularly by the player(you're shot *at* every so often). The game mostly(with a few key exceptions) lets you sneak or fight your way through much of the levels, with the only real difference being whether or not you fight everyone, or only the ones you have to. There are, to my knowledge, no points awarded for being quiet, so it's up to the player to decide. The missions have you completing objectives quite similar to what you'd see on the show... infiltration, gathering intelligence, capturing technology and so forth. Several of the tasks do get tedious, though the majority of the game is fun and exciting. The level design is reasonable, with believable "look". The fighting is quite good; the system is much like that of Enter the Matrix, only the controls are slightly more complicated(than they have to be). I had more trouble making Syd perform the special martial arts moves than I did whilst playing aforementioned fellow action/fighting title. The animations are nice, and some of the moves are as bad-ass as the choreography on the show. The gadgets are pretty cool; they're usually self-explanatory(or explained) and easy to use, and they're basically the most fun thing about the game. The graphics are good, without the requirements being ridiculous. The level of detail is fine, and animations mostly look nice. An nifty little feature is the split-screens... these come up when you are trying to sneak, and help you keep an eye on the people you're hiding from. This may not be the first game to have them, but they work pretty well here, most of the time. You can't turn them off, though, and it does limit what you can see with Syd's own view. And on that... the camera could be better. It seems to utterly refuse to let you turn it vertically(at least out of first-person mode, which you're only in when using gadgets), and its limitations, when compared to slightly more recent(or even contemporary) titles, are much too evident. The re-playability is decent, for a game with no points or rating system. The controls/interface are sometimes a little choppy. It doesn't run as smoothly as it should and could, and much of it bears unfortunate marks of being geared more towards consoles than computers(rather than be equal to all the formats it was released in). You need to use the map a lot... though the game doesn't tell you this, and the PC version seems to have a messed up one, that constantly tries to zoom(in both directions simultaneously... no, seriously). The game is obviously rushed; there are some glitches(though nowhere near as many as Enter the Matrix), several shortcuts were evidently taken in development, and parts of the game are drawn out to last longer. All in all, a fair third person action game. I recommend this to any fan of both the show and the media of video-games. Fun, exciting and cool. 7/10
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