If I didn't know better (or if I hadn't spent last month playing Time Crisis 3), I'd say Kill.Switch was actually a fresh stab at reinventing the Time Crisis franchise. Like TC, Switch has you peeking out from behind crates to kill hordes of faceless soldiers ad nauseam. And likewise, its handful of linear missions zip by in just a few hours (once you factor in frequent use of the unlimited continues). No light gun here, though--all action occurs via third-person perspective a la MGS2, Syphon Filter; and Splinter Cell; Kill.Switch shamelessly lifts scenes from all three games. But Switch keeps its action fun and accessible, which actually scored points with me. Walking on eggshells in Splinter Cell turned me into a paranoid, neurotic mess, so I'm happy to have a nobull, arcadey shooter I can just bust through and enjoy for its most basic qualities. A couple of technical glitches got me killed by invincible bad guys sandwiched in the walls, but I still walked away from this one more glad than mad.
Here's an ode to the hard-boiled matinee shot on a shoestring budget--the videogame equivalent of Chuck Norris hopped up on cordite, massacring his way through a hack plot. Kill.Switctts gameplay is as gripping as it is onedimensional--you're pinned down, with never more than one too-slender concrete pillar between you and tragedy, praying someone's rifle runs dry before they advance on your position. Really, there's not much more to this guilty pleasure than that, but it delivers the goods with gung-ho gusto.
Playing Kill.Switch gave me a killer flashback to the 1994 glory days of Doom, when I would routinely strafe around corners while walking down the street. Cover is everything here--you enter a room, hide behind a television, shoot two or three enemies who have comical accents, enter the next room, and repeat several dozen times. It's hardly original (not to mention short and sometimes ugly), but Namco's got both the control and the difficulty level just right. The result: If you think "stealth-action" is secret code for "failing missions over and over," then Kill.Switch will be intensely refreshing.
I've never been so divided on a game before. Kill.switch has some amazing features, and yet is so abysmal in so many regards. Unlike my normal reviews, you're getting my conclusion up front. Rent this game. Beat it. Love it. Hate it. In order to save room for the good stuff, let's get the crap out of the way. Music. Crap. Voice acting. Crap. Storyline. Iffy crap. Camera controls. Kinda crap. Length. Absolute crap. I may be a seasoned player, but this game only took three hours to beat on normal, and another three hours to beat on hard. As far as giving you $50 worth of game, that, my readers, is a crying shame.
Still, I'm not writing this review to trash this title, but to praise it. For what things it does right, it does them right wonderfully. The video is somewhat uninspired and dull early on, but right off you notice something different, with interesting level design and plenty of objects, walls, and pillars to hide behind. Enemy AI is absolutely stunning, as you can watch an opponent pin you down with gunfire, only that his comrades can move to a different location in order to flank you. This isn't that noticeable on normal, but on hard you'll see the enemies working together, trying their damndest to kill you. Without a doubt, I haven't seen opponents ever act this intelligent.
On the gameplay front, the cover aspect of the game is by far it's best feature. Easy to use and quick to master, unlike other games featuring cover based abilities, kill.switch's cover system lets you take shelter behind every rock, wall, box, stack of tires, sofa, couch, pillar' well, you get the idea. Furthermore, a simple flick of the analog stick, and you're leaning out from behind cover, capping enemies left and right. If you don't want to expose yourself to that much fire, just hit the fire button, and your character sticks his gun out and blindfires. Given that the enemies tend to stay behind cover when you do this, one could say that this game does a decent job of simulating suppressing fire, something games like this have needed for a long time.
Like I said, I love this game, and I hate this game. It needs to be a lot longer, and cared for with a great deal more polish. As it stands, though, it's still a great rental, and with its easy play style, I think you'll like it as much as I did.