Man oh man, this game is depressing. Like its predecessor, G Police: Weapons of Justice tries really, really hard to be a great game and I applaud the designers for trying their hardest, but the game is just sad. I just can't understand why they would waste so much time developing such a potentially great game on such an enervated system as the Playstation. Don't get me wrong, I love the Playstation, but it's pretty obvious that it's reached its limits and I think that G Police: Weapons of Justice only serves to prove my point.
The one thing that this series has always had going for it is its premise. In the first G Police, you took over the role of a police officer in a very Ridley Scott-esque futuristic metropolis during a gigantic fiasco known as the Corporate Wars. Well, the Corporate Wars are over and society is just starting to rebuild itself. This period of reconstruction has opened a window of opportunity for the city's crime syndicates to arm themselves to the teeth and seize control. With the fate of the entire totalitarian system hanging in the balance (oh, darn), the G Police have been thrust into the fray once again to restore order. The story is explained a little more thoroughly in a nicely done and lengthy introduction. Good stuff.
Unfortunately, the game fails in almost every way to make it fun for the casual gamer. You can't just have a good story. The first thing that you'll notice is the graphics. They're bad. I can't help but wonder how much of a better game it might've been if it had been developed in, say, the Dreamcast. The Blade Runner inspired level design cannot be fully appreciated because the engine is so incredibly flawed. Those who played the original will be disappointed to discover that the horrendous draw-in problem has not been dealt with. The developers tried to alleviate this major flaw by engineering what could quite possibly be the weirdest graphical feature in the history of games. Instead of using fog or a fade in effect, the G Police team created a green grid (reminiscent of those good ol' vector graphics). Naturally this becomes a great distraction for the player. At times I was confused about whether I was playing G Police or Battlezone.
A lot of people complain that the industry sacrifices too much attention to graphics and not enough to gameplay. Well, they certainly didn't spend too much time on the graphics and the gameplay should be great, but this happens to be a game that needs good graphics very badly. When you first start the game, you're greeted with some interesting architecture and so you say to yourself, 'Cool, this game looks like it could be fun even with all of those chunky textures (well, that's what I said).' It all goes downhill from there. The minute you take off in your little hover-battle-copter-thingy, the screen is almost completely blank except for these suspicious looking green lines. The green lines get closer and closer and you begin to feel like you're in the Tron sequel, but all of a sudden'''BUILDINGS!! Lots and lots of big, tall buildings popping up all around you! Before you know it, you're fighting for your life. Not against any sort of enemy, mind you. You'll be struggling against those evil buildings for the first five minutes, at least. Yeah, they're just sitting there, engulfed in darkness, waiting for you to run into them. This problem causes so much confusion that it makes it almost unbearable to progress at first.
The sad thing about this game is that it has so many great play mechanics. Some new features are the more varied missions as well as the inclusion of some new vehicles (five altogether). In the all too unlikely event that you can overlook the visuals (or at least what somewhat resemble visuals) you'll find that the can be enjoyed to a point. Sure, the control could've used some tightening, but there's some fun to be had. The game almost plays like a police patrol simulation. You fly or drive around the city and take care of hostage situations, hijacked 'sploogie' transports (don't ask), and perform other supercop tasks within each of the levels. Luckily, the game is kept focusing solely on the player and you actually feel as if you're part of a team rather than the Lone Ranger. Your wingmates, in the earlier levels, seem as adamant as you are to wipe the city clean of the criminal scourge. Feeling like you're part of the team is always a good thing. The sound effects are also really nice and crisp, but no one will ever care about this game enough to notice.
It makes me feel really bad to give this game such a lukewarm review because there are some really great things to say about the game, but the graphics' glitches and discrepancies overshadow anything that would make the game worthwhile. If Sony plans to hold on to their fanatical followers, they need to focus on putting out more killer apps like Dino Crisis, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, and Omega Boost. Otherwise, they'll just be showing off what their arch-nemesis can do better.
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