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Volume 8, Issue 3                                    University of Houston

'Zero' is far from perfection

The eagerly anticipated sequel to ‘Perfect Dark' is saved only by its multiplayer modes

By Shaun Rodriguez
Breaking News

Ah, GoldenEye. Just about anyone who has ever played a Nintendo 64 will recall this game as one of the must-own titles of its era, with four-player, split-screen death matches that would last for hours and the great cooperative mode. 

Perfect Dark was the pseudo-sequel to GoldenEye, running on the same game engine, but with enhanced game play, more weapons and more game modes. This, my friends, was the Halo of its day. So it was with much anticipation that gamers awaited the sequel.

Perfect Dark Zero, for the Xbox 360, is a peculiar beast. When fans of the first game travel through the single-player campaign, they may be left scratching their heads. For starters, the enemy artificial intelligence is not sophisticated at all — it's almost as if developer Rare took the same AI engine from the original Perfect Dark and just stuck it into the sequel. 

Once enemies see you, they gun straight at you, with no use of any real advanced tactics or strategy. It seems that sometimes enemies will spot the player from miles away and start blasting away with almost pinpoint accuracy from behind several tree branches or other not-so-concrete obstacles, with no real visibility between the leaves and the player. This is one of the most frustrating aspects of the game on some levels, as you simply cannot return fire effectively through those leaves, assuming you even know from where the enemy is shooting you to begin with. 

The storyline of this game is far less compelling than its predecessor. Be prepared to be underwhelmed by most aspects of the plot. 

Perhaps the worst of the game's problems is the extremely hard aiming system. Unlike Halo, which has a large amount of auto-aim (the stickiness you experience when the reticle is on an enemy) to compensate for the thumb sticks and their lack of precision, PDZ has almost none. This means that, more often than not, you will miss your shots because of your inability to keep the reticle on your enemy. The AI opponents, on the other hand, do not have this problem, and will blast you repeatedly with a much higher accuracy rate.

Multiplayer, thankfully, saves the game from being a complete flop. Rare really went to work with the customization options and game modes, allowing for very high replay value. The game modes are divided into two categories, Killcount and Dark Ops. Killcount has killcount, team killcount, capture the flag and territorial gains, all of which should be very familiar to anyone who has played Halo 2 multiplayer. Dark Ops has eradication, infection, sabotage and onslaught modes, and feels more like Counterstrike

Rounding out the multiplayer is the ability to play the singleplayer mode cooperatively online with a friend, something sorely lacking in most console coop first-person shooters. These modes make the multiplayer alone worth the price of admission, even with the difficult aiming system.

Overall, Perfect Dark Zero is a game that is far more enjoyable in multiplayer than it is in singleplayer. Gamers should consider renting it before buying it to see if it appeals to their run-and-gun tastes. And don't pick up the controller thinking this is the next Halo, or you'll be in for a large disappointment.

Perfect Dark Zero

Rated: M for Mature

Microsoft Software

Verdict: It's no Halo, but PDZ has its own perks.

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