Game Description: In a world on the brink of global conflict, you find yourself back on the front lines of battle. Only this time, you're not here to prevent a war. You're here to start one. Dynamically use your environment as cover hug objects and terrain, popping out to fire from protected positions;Your enemies use all of the same tactics available to you, to take you down.
Some games are the bearers of creative brilliance, striving to expand the boundaries of gaming as we know it. The inspired work of inspired people, you can see these titles coming a mile away—and you might not be the same after being exposed to such masterpieces. On the other hand, some games are content to provide thrills and technical experiences without covering much, if any, new ground. These titles are the staples of a videogamer's diet. Safe and familiar, you know what you're getting. You probably wouldn't want to spend your entire game playing career on these products, but they're usually a fun ride while they last, satisfying a certain craving when you're in the mood. Taking on this role of electronic comfort food, Namco's kill.switch most definitely falls into the latter category, and it's not necessarily a bad thing.
A third-person shooting title, kill.switchstars a mysterious soldier heading into fierce firefights against all odds. However, instead of being the standard testosterone-drenched hero, there's something decidedly odd about him. It's hard to discuss the (thin) plot without completely giving it away, but it's safe to say that despite having no impact whatsoever on the gameplay it had original elements I appreciated. However, let me also say that kill.switch could potentially be defined as an extremely moving tale of a man in search of true love, if by "true love" you mean "shooting everything that moves while taking cover behind boxes and corners."
Make no bones about it—this is one game with an absolutely clear focus: Action, action, action, and more action. To support this goal, Namco has created a very robust control system. The controller's left stick moves your character, the right aims. By holding down the L1 button, your trooper will hunker down and take cover behind just about anything you see. Cardboard boxes, low ledges, bombed-out car bodies, and so on. It's all fair game. While protected, you can nudge the left stick to lean out or pop up from behind your impromptu shield and kack some evildoers. If that seems too risky, Namco has also included a feature called "blindfire." By pointing your crosshairs in the general direction of the opposition, your soldier can extend his gun and shoot without looking, hoping for a lucky shot while avoiding exposure to incoming rounds.This system works, and works splendidly. It's solid, gives a great degree of control over the action, and basically accomplishes everything it's supposed to do. It's also complemented by kill.switch's levels. From blasted urban buildings to underground labs, every environment is absolutely rotten with hiding places and things to duck behind. Based on these elements, kill.switchcomes across as a quasi-update/hybrid/melding of Koei's underrated WinBackand Namco's own arcade smash, Time Crisis.
Besides the mechanics, there's not really a whole lot to discuss. You shoot things, hide, shoot some more things, and that's pretty much it. The graphics are serviceable, nothing flashy or noteworthy. The music is mostly terrible, ranging from irritating to extremely irritating. Surprisingly, there's not any environmental interaction like exploding barrels or the ability to shoot decorative objects. We're talking low-frills here, folks.
At this point, you may be wondering why this one-trick pony scored more than a five. In a nutshell, the fast-paced nature of play lent itself to more than a few moments when I could feel my pulse quicken in response to pressured conflict. kill.switch also commits no major crimes by doing what it does best. There are absolutely no pretensions of being anything but fast gunning, and kill.switch made that message clear from the start. Therefore, I also respect its honesty and straightforwardness in spite of its limited scope.However, no amount of adrenaline can gloss over the fact that kill.switch is nothing but a really nice control setup tucked inside a simple, arcade-like structure. It manages to inspire a pleasant little buzz and I like the way it handles, but it's best played in short bursts of thirty minutes, rarely more than an hour at a time. Any longer, and it's hard to stave off the boredom that comes from doing the exact same thing from level to level, beginning to end.
Those looking for existential ponderings, heavy characterization, or even minimal variety in gameplay should leave it alone, but people who want lighter fare might appreciate kill.switch as a small, zesty snack. After all, we all need a bit of comfort food once in a while.
Disclaimer: This review is based on the PlayStation 2 version of the game.
According to ESRB, this game contains: Strong Language, Violence
Parents should be aware that the game is gunplay from beginning to end, nothing else. Naturally, people get shot, but it's not bloody or gory despite a few slightly comical "injury" animations. The short cutscenes are marginally more explicit. There is no sexual content, and I honestly don't recall any of the "strong language" mentioned on the back of the box.
Action gamers will find a simple blastfest. There are tons of bad guys to shoot without any confusing mazes or tedious puzzles. Keyfetching is extremely minimal, and the story never slows down the assault. The game moves, but doesn't travel very far.
Multiplayer fragmeisters, there's nothing for you here. In a rather surprising turn, there's absolutely no multiplayer of any kind. A bit unexpected for a game with so much emphasis on blasting enemies, methinks.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing gamers get totally shafted not the complete omission of text during all cutscenes and mission voiceovers. The story has no bearing on gameplay, but this is still a highly disappointing choice, especially given the minimal amount of dialogue to caption.