SiN Episodes Emergence Review
|Publisher:||Valve (via Steam) / EA (boxed version)|
|Genre:||First Person Shooter|
|Release Date:||May 10, 2006 (Steam) and May 26, 2006 (UK Box)|
|Reviewer:||Craig Dudley (Mani)|
|Buy now at Amazon.co.uk|
It's been a long, long time since I played the first SiN game - so long I can barely remember it in fact. The inclusion of that game in the purchase price of SiN Episodes: Emergence hasn't quite tempted me either, but who knows; given time I may just revisit the original.
The one thing I do remember about SiN is that it was more colourful and in more of a comic book style than its contemporaries, this would certainly still seem to be true of SiN Episodes: Emergence and I actually quite like it. That's not to say that the game doesn't look good, indeed it makes good use of the source engine but what we don't have here is a game that's trying to look as real as possible.
The comic book style also holds true with some of the violence, there's a reason this game has a 16+ rating and it's mostly to do with gore. Severed limbs, decapitated bodies and rolling heads are but a few of the surprises waiting. I'm not ashamed to say that this was my favourite part of the game but I guess it is good enough reason to keep this shooter away from younger gamers, especially if you add the overly large and usually bouncing breasts of Elexis Sinclair to the mix. It makes a refreshing change though; I'm really not a fan of shooters that don't show blood and gore. You thought I was still talking about boobies didn't you? Shame on you!
Emergence also makes solid use of Valve's facial animation system, all the characters in the game show emotion well enough and lip-sync perfectly, the rest of their bodies don't always look as good but again, there are no real show stoppers. Perhaps not really worthy of a mention, though I'm going to do it anyway, are the beautifully animated pigeons that turn up occasionally, its great fun to shoot one and watch the rest fly off, I love nice touches like that.
Being based on Valve's Source engine, Emergence has excellent physics, you do need to use them on occasion to solve a puzzle or two but not to the extent that we did in Half-Life 2, bad guys will also use some objects as makeshift weapons if the opportunity arises, kicking crates or barrels in your general direction. And yes, some of these barrels will explode if shot, we couldn't have a first person shooter without exploding barrels, could we? Sigh.
Story wise there's not much to tell yet, as ever you will be trying to uncover what Elexis Sinclair's mega corporation SinTEK is really up to and trying to stop her from causing a disaster in Freeport City with her genetic meddling. For several parts of the game you'll have the assistance of rookie cop Jessica as well as your geeky tech JC who will be familiar to some from the first game.
Weapon variety is not one of this games' strong points. We only get the three basic weapons, the famous stupid looking John Blade magnum pistol, a pretty standard shotgun and an assault rifle. All three have useful alternative fire modes and your incendiary grenades are also great fun for setting your foes alight and watching them burn; jeez did I really just say that? I think I need some help.
Moving on swiftly, for most of the game there's not a huge variety of enemies to shoot either, just a bunch of your standard SinTEK security guards to frag, though there are some chain-gun wielding SinTEK soldiers and a few types of mutants later. All of which can supply a pretty decent challenge, challenge enough that you might be jumping for the quick save button a few times more than we have become accustomed to recently. Your game does get auto saved reasonably frequently and seasoned FPS veterans won't find it that hard, although there is a dynamic difficulty system in operation, the bad guys will get more accurate and devious if you constantly head shot their colleagues.
SiN Episodes: Emergence is a little on the short side but nowhere near as short as some people would have you believe. We've all heard the claims from some people to have flown through it in one to two hours haven't we? Well, I suspect those claims are absolute rubbish. Emergence is a good five to six hours long and for most of that time is very entertaining indeed. The promise of multiplayer to be added at a later date free of charge and the inclusion of the first SiN game in the purchase price also contribute to value. I certainly didn't feel cheated when I'd finished it.
When all is said and done, Emergence is a fun and somewhat retro first person shooter. While it does lack a little variety it never gets too dull, perhaps due to its slightly stunted length. I'm definitely going to recommend it for first person shooter fans, but it's not a classic, there's hope for future episodes though.
- Great fun
- Different artistic style
- Lot's of gore
- Old skool
- The dope fish!
Not so good stuff
- Little short
- Lacks a bit of variety