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Let’s face it, Western companies, at least for the moment, have the market cornered on first person shooters. Japanese developer Feelplus does little to change that with this uninspired, lackluster effort. The problems are abundant, the concepts are poorly implemented, and the story is lacking in variety.
Mindjack’s story is an almost laughable affair. In the far future of 2031, a year just far enough way to pretend to be futuristic, you play Jim on his way to topple an evil corporation that has risen to control everything. Jim is joined by Rebecca and together they must shoot hundreds of generic soldiers and traverse identical rooms to stop the NERKAS Corporation. The story is unimportant and vague. What little story presented is shown in the form of hazy, incomprehensible flashbacks that offer little to clear up the muddled story. On top of that, the voice acting is atrocious, some of the worst I’ve heard this generation – and I’ve played Dynasty Warriors.
Mindjack plays like a poor man’s Gears of War. Players can snap to cover and fire around it, but fairly often you end up firing into the invisible edges that extend beyond the cover. That being the main component really hurts this game. On top of that, Jim throws grenades anemically and his melee attacks do little to convince you that you’re actually hitting anything.
Mindjack has more to offer than just being a straight shooter, with players able to mentally enslave NPCs to do their bidding. Most NPCs can be enslaved, including the giant robo-gorillas everyone is talking about, but it always seems that if you hit an enemy with just one extra bullet than necessary it will kill them and you will be unable to take them over. If you do manage to actually take over a body, you can use it to cause a distraction or control it directly. This is where the game completely falls apart, as pressing the sticks in will allow you to float around in a sort of ghost form. This form is slow; you can snap to bodies using the bumpers but the camera is too close and its near impossible to tell where the body is in relation to you or the environment. Most of the time you will want to ignore this feature and just play it like a straight shooter.
The game also features a 6 player mode, which allows players to jump into your campaign alongside you or against you. This sounds fun in theory, but can quickly get exasperatingly frustrating, because players will join against you. In normal games, you are allowed to plan and formulate a strategy against the AI, but when three human opponents take up arms against you it’s incredibly easy to die. You will die a lot in this mode causing you to replay large chunks of levels. This mode is a good concept but a headache, avoid this at all costs.
Then there are the minor annoyances like the inconsistent checkpoint system and the fact that the game strips you down to a pistol at the start of every level for no apparent reason other than to infuriate you. Be prepared to replay long chunks of levels because you hit 5 checkpoints in 3 minutes and then you won’t see another one for an hour.
There is little to be excited for in this game other than the inspiration it might prove to other multiplayer games. The graphics are last gen at best, the controls are awkward, story and voice acting are some of the worst around, and the main character is just plain generic. Mindjack is a good example of a half-baked idea that should’ve never seen the light of day.