The Mark PC Review

Terrorists have stolen a nuclear missile and want to launch it at London! At last a game where the target isn’t America – but that’s where the originality ends. You get to play as two army types; US Marine, Fletch who ALWAYS wears sunglasses and Brit ex-SAS officer, Hawke. The story is told using a combination of still screens and in-game action, the first of which is probably the best aspect of the game. The son of a Russian billionaire is financing the terrorists and it’s your job to shoot everyone.

One thing that often annoys me in FPS games is the ludicrous speed at which you move, fortunately this isn’t a problem here and the pace is fine. By default the aiming settings are very sensitive as if Fletch and Hawke overdosed on coffee. You can turn the sensitivity down but it was still quite touchy. When under attack a red shape appears near the crosshair in the direction of incoming fire, this feels a bit unrealistic but helps identify what’s going on. At the start of the game you’re attacked from all sides and it can be a bit confusing, luckily your AI team-mate can withstand the force of a thousand bullets and go about his business so your main task is to keep yourself out of harm’s way.

As in most FPS games, changing weapons is done via the scroll wheel, but small movements aren’t picked up meaning big scrolls before your weapons start to change, so equipping the intended weapon isn’t easy. It feels clumsy and wastes valuable time in a gunfight. Otherwise the shoot-outs are fairly okay with bad guys falling more realistically than other games and there’s even blood spray, something most developers are too afraid to include. A negative feature is everything goes blurry when you are shot; annoyingly reminiscent of the Perfect Dark slap effect, which I thought everyone regarded as a mistake never to be repeated. It even happens when you run out of bullets and need to reload! On the positive side bullet damage is handled well with both you and your enemies unable to take much fire before you die. Health packs are EVERYWHERE and can be added to your collection for you to use by pressing Z at any time. But as a whole there just isn’t much variety and it lacks the atmosphere of the best games. There’s bad guys at every turn and it’s absurd to think they’d be just waiting there. After a while the constant blurring of everything during fights got very tiresome.

Upon installation I was shocked to see there wasn’t a widescreen option, which was always disappointing. The game is clearly low budget but omitting a feature like this is inexcusable. Visually the game looks a generation or two behind, it’s not terrible but feels very rough around the edges, even compared to old games like Unreal Tournament and Half Life. Sound effects are basic and the only time you’ll notice them is the overly heavy footsteps.

There’s a multiplayer mode where you can play locally or online; featuring Cooperative, Massive cooperative, Map Control and Team Deathmatch. On the server screen it shows ‘no games’ as you have to click “Local Servers” to get to see Internet games, which is illogical and confusing. In multiplayer you choose to be on the Marine or Merc team, unfortunately there was one server hosting with one player there. The game crashed soon after I started walking around meaning I had to Ctrl+Alt+Delete. On my second attempt I wandered around the level for ages but was unable to find the other person. In my boredom waiting I pressing the F keys to hear myself shout things like “Let’s go”, “Got one”, “Get back I need ya” and bizarrely “Hose them down for me”. In Team Deathmatch there are only 2 maps to choose from, but the level designs were fairly interesting with big cogs suspended in mid-air in one and another, an Iraqi town at sunset. It’s a pity there are no bots in the game as I didn’t have anyone else to play. Later on I returned for a third attempt I managed to find a person but he was on my team and waving an invisible gun. After waiting for him to stop looking at the ceiling (he clearly had given up too) I shot him and left.

The video game industry has progressed to the stage where people demand innovation and excitement. In the past the public were happy to overlook lacklustre efforts but no longer can we stand by and watch the never-ending stream of seen-it-all-before games. The Mark feels old, generic and it doesn’t bring anything new or exciting to the FPS scene. There are more exciting games out there and because of this it can’t be recommended. The Mark is largely a slightly below average game and the basics aren’t too bad however the unusual blur effects I experienced really hampered the enjoyment and dragged the score down.

The game equivalent of a low-budget generic action film.

4 out of 10
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