Die Hard: Vendetta
If there's one movie franchise that's due for a good videogame counterpart, it's the Die Hard series. After all, the movies seamlessly blend explosive action, intense fight sequences, vulgar humor, and an engaging story all into one package -- who doesn't want that in a video game? Sadly, there have been plenty attempts at mimicking the intense action of the movies into videogame form, but none of them have quite gotten it right. Die Hard: Vendetta is the newest first-person shooter starring the infamous John McClaine as he attempts to save the world again from an evil terrorist organization. How many times have you played a game with this plot? Thankfully, the uninspired story is interesting, due in part to the gritty style in which the game is presented. Bits Studios did a good job of utilizing the Die Hard license, liberally using special four-letter words and having McClaine crack one-liners often.
The graphics in DHV are nothing to write home about. Stuttering framerates plague the game throughout, sometimes getting so bad that it interferes with gameplay. Animation is a mixed bag. Death animations are decent, but some of the basic animations, such as running, look absolutely ridiculous. Textures are bland which gives the game a repetitive feel as you wind down hallway after hallway. Surprisingly, DHV's graphical prowess comes in the more subtle effects such as the nice water effects or the fluid reloading animations, but however nice they are, they still can't make up for DHV's lackluster graphical package.
Die Hard: Vendetta sticks to the average first-person shooter formula of intense action followed by a puzzle or two, but it also incorporates a few new gameplay elements. DHV has two modes of moving around: you can run around with guns loaded, ready for action or you can sneak around slowly to surprise the enemy. This allows you to approach levels in different fashions and helps add some diversity in the gameplay. You can also take up hostages to persuade those around you to surrender. It's fun when it works and it's integral to some missions, but the implementation of it all doesn't feel very natural since there's only a few ways to do it. Missions are fun and diverse, but rely heavily on trial and error gameplay for advancement. Only by dying repeatedly will you be able to figure out some sections of the game'it can become a very frustrating experience. There are thirteen levels in DHV and while they're challenging, there's little reward for playing through and there's no multiplayer, which is almost a sin for a console first-person shooter.
Controls are probably DHV's biggest problem. Auto-aim is implemented, but it's far too generous. In most console first-person shooters, auto-aim is used to compensate for the accuracy that can't be had on a controller. DHV takes it to a new extreme, however, by automatically targeting any enemy in the vicinity. With it on, the difficulty of the game is significantly lessened and with it off, the game is significantly harder since the dual analog controls are very sluggish and unrefined. Audio, however, is DHV's strong point with well-acted and believable dialogue, with moody and ambient music playing during key points throughout the game.
If you're willing to overlook the many technical issues and aren't squeamish about the profane dialogue, Die Hard: Vendetta warrants a look, but for everyone else, give it a rent to see if it's the game for you.
Download Die Hard: Vendetta
Bits Studios is bringing the chaotic terrorist-fighting action of Die Hard to the GameCube in late 2002. Those of you hoping for a Samuel L. Jackson appearance, sorry—Die Hard has a new, original story set in L.A.. It’s a first-person shooter, but Sierra promises lots of character and object interaction (like draggin’ dudes around /WGS2-style) to break up all the gunplay.