This is not something that should be stated lightly, so I understand to what I am committing myself. This is the best game ever made. It is at least the best game I have played since Half-Life 2, and almost certainly before it. People need to know about it, and moreover, why I feel I can say that.
Take Bladerunner, add Half-Life 2, toss in a dash of Mass Effect and drop of Bioshock, and you are only part of the way there. First, the game takes place in the cyberpunk city of Bezoar where the people live in fear of robots lurking just outside their walls. These robots are sentient AIs that have a profound disdain for anything squishy and full of blood. The only other people you see in this game, aside from a diabolical villains, are civilians getting ripped apart and thrown through the air. When the machines invade the city, your character is sitting at a nondescript, roadside drinking stand sucking down some strong drinks. It rains all the time in Bezoar, which is in Germany, and the streets are filled with explosive objects and devices. Bezoar is apparently in Germany, but I thought the climate there was more akin to Pennsylvania’s. You work for ‘THE’ corporation, though they never really say which one. Seems as important as the name of the numerous slaughtered civilians, though. You are a CLN Officer and you exist to protect the people of Bezoar, but mostly to destroy anything threatening them. Now, I might add here that there is some seriously fucking dark snippets of humor to be had if you look for it. There are sales consoles that try to sell you things and plead like a jilted ex-girlfriend about ‘how good you could have had it’ when you walk away. They vend things like clones that will work for you until you want to go back to your job. Then they will have the clone eradicated for you when you come back. I feel bad for the cl0ne right before bursting into laughter at the thought of a being created to work for me, whose sole existence is filled with droll work that I don’t want to do and is then released of its duty only in its own summary execution. Dark. Terrible. Unethical. Hilarious.
Now, the fun doesn’t even start there, technically. The fun starts with the weaponry. Imagine you are a GameDev and you want to put in an ass-load of weapons to use. Your team creates an array of cool guns, but you can only get, maybe, 10 of them in there. Not to mention, there is the frustration of having to switch between all those fucking things. What did they do for the weapons? They took them and sorted them into two groups: matter weapons and energy weapons. As a result, you technically only carry two “guns”, but each gun morphs into five separate fire modes. Watching the guns warp from rifle to shotgun to grenade launcher to RPG is a lot of fun, too. Honestly, the graphics are very pretty, so you won’t be at a lack of eye candy. So, you only have to worry about collecting 2 ammo types: blue and red. Blue for energy, red for mass. Now, that’s not all, folks. Getting bored with all the bassline weapons? Go to an Upgrade Terminal and Spec those babies out! With some money system called NANO you are able to upgrade, no clue what it stands for other than making my shit cooler. You can get guidance mode for the RPG, x-ray view for the Railgun (which shoots through cover), make your rilfe fire more ammo etc. There are 3 upgrades per weapon. I loved the gravity field for the Grenade Launcher. Sometimes you can suck two guys together and they smash into one another and explode. AH! Fucking fun.
Ok, so, something that bears noting. See the GUI? Yea, that circular thing in the lower left-hand screen. That is it. No unnecessary visual clutter through the screen. Just that sleek little reticule down there. Occasionally, a face might appear telling you something about where to go or who to kill, and they’ll appear as holographic chat boxes. But it’s mostly just this. The rest of the screen is used for watching your many enemies swarm at you by the thousands. And boy do they swarm!
The enemies come at you hard and fast. The little fuckers have sawblades on the front of them or little helicopter bots and look like something a preschooler cobbled together. Either that or they are exploding little balls. They come at you in goddamn droves of whirring, clinking jumping metallic rage. And they dodge your shots, too! And even from the get-go they are pouring out of ventilation shafts. Hitting these suckers with the shotgun induces an intoxicating bloodlust, too, where you storm around blasting through enemies with force. But the bigger guys take serious firepower, and the mortar and the grenade launcher are your bestfriends for quite a while here. The upgrade for the mortar makes a field surround anything caught in it, so you can launch electrifying shock ammo and singe their shoddy paint-jobs right off. Or hit them with the aforementioned gravity shot and the large charging enemies are held in place as you launch round after round at them. Later on you fight cops in flying cars that look almost spot on for Deckard’s squad car. They can be a bitch to fight as they also come in swarms, but they are SO MUCH FUN to blow up. There is even an achievement for blowing them up. There are many other types of bots to battle and they explode themselves sending scrap and screws ricocheting off of surface. My best moment was when I launched a rocket (just after getting the RPG) into a crowd of the little guys down a narrow catwalk. The whole group exploded and one came sliding out and stopped at my feet, dilapidated, then proceeded to explode. I was in love. Bosses in this are beastly, too, typically towering over you and reaching for you like a tiny, sociopathic CLN doll.
Also, explosions. You will blow up more enemies than you will ever realize and bathe in the shower of their remains. Cars, tanks, electronic fistures, lights, signs, cameras.. I mean, even things that shouldn’t be blown up were automated so you could blow them up. Typically, enemies near explosions fucking die ( duh ) so there is usually never a short supply of shit to destroy. After periods of explosive dry spells, however, they typically make it up by filling a room with explosive objects and filling it with tiny, murderous robots. These Devs must be spectacular lovers, cause they know how to give you just what you were thinking you wanted. After the original game itself there are also MORE types of explosives added to give you a little diversity, too!
Now, the main character talks, so if you were expecting a silent-hero that you could fantasize about being, wake the fuck up, assholes! Wake up and smell the cinders. I love his dialogue because it reminds me of my all-time favorite character, Garrett from the ORIGINAL Thief series, not that watered-down Stephen-Russell-wannabe cocksucker they put in that monstrous pile of horseshit that came out a couple months or whatever ago. I mean the crotchety, dry, sarcastic, antisocial prick that avoids the Keepers and all responsibility as best as humanly fucking possible. A guy just trying to pay his rent. Well, Major Fletcher is a guy just trying to get back to his hard liquor. The artistic cut scenes portray this well, too. Each loading screen plays out across an animated comic strip that tells what is going on. Sure, the story is pretty piecemeal and at times a little uncertain, but Half-Life 2 made you have to read tiny scraps of paper on a board in a cluttered lab in order to ascertain a fucking inkling of what Gordon’s motivation for the wholesale slaughter of asthmatic aliens actually was. For all we know, they might have actually been trying to save us from a polluted atmosphere and unlivable conditions. Either way, this main character talks during the game and gets you thinking that maybe you are just another voice in his head, which is a possibility since he straight up downloads people to his brain. No big deal.
All told, this game is an adrenaline thrill ride that had me shouting, panting and wiping the sweat from my eyes. I have never screamed fuck as much as when I was playing this game, but it drew me in. Deep. It places a gun in your hand and points you at a seemingly endless stream of mechanical monstrosities. Granted, you do kill flying cop cars at some points, but you never see the cops leading you to assume that they could just be symbols of authority with mechanized voices. The lack of flesh in the rubble supports this theory. At the start menu I found myself debating whether or not I should play since this game startles the fuck out of you and makes you feel the effort of blasting through a horde of terror-bots. And at the conclusion of each playthrough, you stand victorious over the demolished remains of your foes, wiping a gritty mixture of their grease and your blood from your unshaven face. Metacritic on Steam gave this game a 73 out of 100 for this title. I bought it thinking it would be some ‘ok’ level meh-coaster I would eventually wade through. You assholes on the Metacritic are bastards who want all fucking FPS’s to be Call of Cuty or Halo. You can all eat shit and die in a gutter.
There is always the one fucking thing that chaps my ass about a game, and this piece of gaming greatness is no exception. So what made it that much easier to mash robots into silly putty? Fletcher. Major Fucking Fletcher. Whose goddamn idea was it to name this guy after Jim Carrey in Liar Liar?! All I could think about was that guy with an RPG each time the corporate nanny-lady shouted at me. I know, Fletcher is the last name, Fletcher Reed was the character in the movie. Well it all ends up being about the fucking same Mr. Logical Shitstain! You’re running around with some big-brother-esque nanny lady in your ear screaming Fletcher stop talking to yourself! Fletcher go kill the mad scientist! Fletcher go order us take out! I mean, the least satisfying thing about this is that I don’t get to put my boot down her throat, but I fucking suppose they had to slide this one past some level of societal decency. Unlike good ole’ Sin back in the day. I’ll just chuckle to myself psychotically now. Heh heh heh…