24: The Game PS2 Review
Everybody knows about 24 whether they watch the show or not. It is one of the few shows that seem to be talked about around the water cooler every Monday when you go in for work. With sentences like “did you see what Jack did,” “he shot the guy in the knee,” “He’s so cool” and “Jack f*****g rules” being commonplace. We all want to be Jack Bauer, I definitely want to be Jack Bauer and now I can be. 24: The Game sits right in between the second and third seasons of the show revealing some interesting plotlines for 24 fans; sadly the game is not all that it could have been. “I am Jack’s heartbreaking disappointment”
Jack Bauer Says “Tell Me About The Gameplay NOW!!!”
24: The Game opens with the famous “The following takes place..” line. Straight after this you are thrown into a cutscene taking place aboard a cargo ship. Next up comes your first opportunity to play the game. This first section is basically the game tutorial level where you learn all the game’s basic controls. The section is also where the game’s long and winding story begins. Speaking of the story it has to be said that it is fantastically told. It not only rivals some of the best stories seen in games in recent years, but also rivals one or two season of the show itself. Sadly there are a few things wrong with 24: The Game which do their best to ruin this great story and ruin the game as well.
These flaws are not due to the developers being lazy (and criticism levelled at many other TV show to game efforts). Instead 24: The Game’s flaws come from the developer trying too hard to cram too many different types of gameplay into the one game. There are far too many different styles of gameplay on show here (so many that you may lose count). Most of the time you are placed in the shoes of the famous Jack Bauer and you will be playing the game from a third person perspective. At times you will play as other characters from the show, most of which play the same as Jack. An exception to this comes when you play as Kim where the game adopts a more stealthy approach as you hide from enemies.
Most of these sections can be fun to play but sometimes an awkward and annoying moment rears its ugly head as the game tries to cram too much in, leaving many of the sections available distinctly unpolished. These unpolished moments come in the form of enemy AI bordering on being flat-out stupid as they will just stand there and get shot at without replying in any form. The game also give you the option of checking downed bodies for items but the “search body” button is the same button used for melee attack so you need to be positioned in the correct place for the search to work. One final annoyance of the on-foot section comes in the form of close quarters fighting being extremely unfair and buggy as the camera seems to jump about a lot if there is more than one enemy on screen. This leads to many unfair deaths. The game also contains a few driving mission which are a very bad experience as the controls feel very over-exaggerated leading to loads of unnecessary sliding about. The enemies in these modes act like the cops from the GTA series and ram the hell out of your car, couple this with the bad controls and you have an embodiment of bad gameplay. Finally there is a selection of mini-games on show in the game.
Jack Bauer Says “Tell Me About The Mini-games NOW!!!”
The game uses many mini-games throughout the adventure. It should be said that some of these work out better than others. By far my favourite is “interrogation” where you, as Jack interrogate a subject to get them to talk. In this mode a stress-level meter pops up on the screen to tell you to tell you how the person being interrogated is feeling and must play a timing-based rhythm style game to try and get that person to cooperate. This works out very well and each interrogation is fun to take part in, particularly when Jack is roaring and shouting at the subject in his trademark style. The rest of the mini games range from ok to “why did they bother” bad. To unlock some doors you need to do puzzles that let you “hack” the door with the help of people at CTU. These are fun at the start but can get really annoying as you advance. Then there is a hard-drive-hacking mini-game which is sort of rhythm inspired as well but not as fun as interrogating. Finally there is a mini-game (if you could call it that) where one character reads you a selection of numbers over a radio and you must enter said numbers correctly or it is mission over. This was one of the game’s stupidest ideas as you may end up failing it many times in a row and as a result you will just get angry and toss the game to one side.
Jack Bauer Says “Inform Me About The Presentation NOW!!!”
24: The game is a giant mishmash of styles in terms of graphics. There are many times you may utter “wow I did not think a PlayStation 2 could do that” while playing the game but this is ruined as there are even more times you will utter “argh this looks so bad I am going blind.” Starting with what works first; the game does an astounding job with its cutscenes. All of these are presented with the same over-the-shoulder camera work via a collection split screens made famous by the TV show. These said split screen also play a part during the game itself but only pop up now and then to show an enemy is just around the corner. Most of the characters also seem to look good with Jack, Tony, Kim and Michell looking like their real life counterparts but it is from here that the graphics start to take a turn for the worst.
First off Ryan Chappelle looks nothing like he should, it is like the developers lost the picture they were working from and guessed the rest and failed miserably. More disappointments come in the form of many of the game’s levels looking bland with muddy and blurry textures popping up everywhere. These disappointing environments stand out even more as the characters themselves look great but almost look out of place against these terrible backdrops. Many of the game’s effects also look sloppily put together, particularly many of the explosions which look like an afterthought as they don’t match up with their environments.
Sound wise the game fairs much better for the simple fact that many of the people that work on the TV show have also helped out on the game which brings an aura of authenticity to the title. Sutherland is far above everyone else in the effort he has put into bringing his in-game character to life. We all know that Bauer loves to shout and this shouting style is brought into the game very well whether it is in one of the game’s many cut scenes or in the small one-liners uttered during the in-game action. Many of 24’s other actors play part in 24: The Game with Dennis Haysbert, Elisha Cuthbert, Reiko Aylesworth, James Badge Dale, Carlos Bernard, Andreas Katsulas, and Tom Sizemor all having something to say over the course of the story. Most of these do their job well but at times Carlos Bernard (Tony) seems bored and as a result many of his lines fail to have any sort of impact to make you care. Disappointingly Dennis Haysbert (Palmer) does not seem to play a huge part in the story and only has a few lines as a result. Also many of the game’s bad guys share the same voice and repeat many of their one-liners throughout the game which rip apart any realism the game tries to build.
The game’s music is done by Sean Callery, who does all the work for the TV show and as a result, one hell of a soundtrack is delivered with high and low tempo compositions al kicking in at the right moment to help set the scene and get you pumped for upcoming action. Sound effects are also of a high quality with all collisions sounding impactful, gun shots sounding lifelike and many explosions actually sounding better than they look.
Jack Bauer Says “Sum Up The Game NOW!!!”
24: The Game creates a very interesting gaming environment that most fans of the series should enjoy playing. It is the well thought out 24 style presentation and appealing story that will compel you to play the game and you will just have to put up with many of the blemishes on show, most can be levelled at the “to many cooks” approach Sony took to the games development. There are many moments you will wish some of the annoying bugs had been ironed out but for any fan that tunes in to watch Jack every Sunday night on TV there is no better game available on store shelves. However, if you are the kind of person that demands your games to be nigh of perfect (and are not a fan of the show) then there are much better games in the same genre available. Oh and it won’t take you 24 hours to complete, in fact you’d will be lucky to get more than eight hours out of it.