24: The Game, Review PS2, Sony Entertainment
24: The Game is set in between series 2 and 3 of the hugely successful TV series. It provides answers to several unanswered questions. How did Kim Bauer get a job at CTU? Who tried to assassinate President Palmer? How did Jack Bauer and Chase Edmunds start working together?
The games storyline is the same writing genius that we've come to expect from the TV series. Sub plots and unexpected twists contribute to this. The pace of the game is overwhelming, even during stealth missions, and there is regular switching between characters. Like the show, the game is a day in the life of CTU (Counter Terrorist Unit) attempting to stop a terrorist attack. Don't worry, this doesn't mean you'll be playing for 24 hours before completing the game, more like 8-10 which is still a good longevity for such a game.
There are a wide variety of mini-games and challenges within the levels such as interrogation and hacking into CTU computers and fixing a problem. These mini games are something a bit different and haven't really been done before but they can be tedious and I sometimes found myself wanting to be back to the normal game.
However the normal game is not a vast improvement. Gameplay is pretty poor with illogical views and action that leaves you wanting. The controls are standard for a 3rd person shooter and it only takes about half an hour for you to have them mastered. The usual concept of the levels is to infiltrate a building where someone you need information from is and get through their cronies. I had the game on normal difficulty and it wasn't much of a challenge or very realistic. Enemies are usually stationery and it's just a case of aiming your sight on them and firing.
For the majority of missions you're on the side of CTU and rarely do you take over the terrorist roles. The missions are very varied and sometimes you're Jack Bauer using force to retrieve a stolen item and other times Kim Bauer trying to escape from the terrorist hideout. I think that the stealth missions are the best and the challenge of completing the mission unseen is far harder than blasting enemies out of the way. On the other hand the driving missions are very poor and the feel of driving is not achieved. There is a ranking system where at the end of each level you are marked on accuracy, time taken, civilians killed and other such factors. In stealth missions it is the number of alarms triggered, times seen etc. They are put into a percent at the end of the level and this goes towards your overall grade. This makes levels more worthwhile and I strived to keep accurate or silent. Also, if you achieve 90% or above in a level you can unlock character models, character images and video interviews.
What '24: The Game' offers in terms of weaponry is great. There is a large array of firepower at your disposal and they are very realistic. The necessary guns are provided in each level so if in a stealth mission you start with a silenced pistol and heavier weapons for the more 'brutal' missions.
The graphics are above average for a PS2 game but are nothing special. Although, I did find the frequent cut scenes very believable and it was like watching a series or 24, filling in the gaps as you go. The characters faces are a close match to the actors but explosions and in-game fights are graphically not as good as they should be.
2K Games did well to capture some of the brilliance of the TV series. They are spot on with the sound and I think it's the best part of the game. Suspense filled music accompanies voices from 24's actors; Kiefer Sutherland, Carlos Bernard and Elisha Cuthbert to name a few.
Like the TV series there are occasional switches to multi screen with different things going on in each screen at the same time of day. They also have a timer like in the show that ticks down at the end of each level. Little touches like this improve the overall 24 feel.
Overall '24: The Game' is like most other TV video games. It has some unique parts to it and things that I love about the TV series are cleverly incorporated into the game. The sound and story line are definitely the best parts about the game but the game-play doesn't do much to impress. Fans of 24 will find the link between series 2 and 3 great however other 3rd person shooters leave this game in the dust in terms of action.
7 out of 10