Perfect Dark Review

UPDATE – We have one code for Perfect Dark to give to a lucky reader. Further details can be found after the review.

Perfect Dark. It’s finally here – with it’s slick new visuals running in full 1080p HD and moving at 60 frames per second.  After nearly 10 years since it was released on the Nintendo 64, is Perfect Dark still as incredible as we all remember it? Read on and we’ll tell you all about it!

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Rebuilt from the ground up, Perfect Dark now exhibits completely reworked visuals in high-definition. You’ll see more textures, deeper colors, improved lighting, and simply a really nice polished style in general. Even with all the upgrades, the game still holds that retro style that older first-person shooters always had – and it’s great to see that they didn’t take that away from us. Character models haven’t changed too much and the laughably-bad animations are still present, another bonus to those of us playing for the nostalgia factor.

The gameplay hasn’t changed, and newcomers may find the game rather difficult. Level design isn’t so straightforward in Perfect Dark, and you’ll often have to backtrack to finish your final objectives. There are absolutely no waypoint or map systems in the campaign missions, and although you can hit the Back button to view your objectives, it will offer no help of where to go and what to do. You can literally spend hours in one level, while it may be possible to complete in 10 minutes or less if you know what to do.  The game offers 3 control schemes, the first being ‘Classic’, and also offers ‘Spartan’ which is modelled after the HALO controls, and of course, ‘Duty Calls’ after Call of Duty. No matter which setting you choose, it’s going to take some getting used to, but it gets moderately comfortable after a short while.

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In life, nothing is perfect, including Perfect Dark, these few points are minor but worth mentioning. You may encounter a few glitches in the game, sometimes involving graphics in the cinematic scenes, and so clipping issues where you get shot through a wall or cement floor.  It’s annoying, but you can avoid it if you keep your guard up and see as much as an arm clipping through a wall and shoot it. The other point I want to mention refers to mission objectives. Often, you’re required to activate numerous computers – but a specific order is required. If you activate in the wrong order, you don’t complete the objective, and you may not understand why. Luckily, you can redo the process in the proper order to complete the objective. A slight annoyance, and it would have been nice if the game wouldn’t allow you to perform these tasks in the incorrect order. If you accidentally enter an area prior to when you’re supposed to, you may find yourself stuck there, requiring you to restart the mission from the pause menu. Part of that is minor, and the other part we can just chalk up as a learning experience in Perfect Dark.

For those of you wondering about the music – it’s all back. Classic themes are all back, and slightly higher quality for the music of course. Voices weren’t really changed, and some characters voices are very compressed, but it’s not an issue as that’s the way it used to be anyhow. All weapons have their sound effects, and while they are obviously unrealistic, they all sound wonderful and powerful.

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Perfect Dark offers a massive amount of content including 9 overall missions, each made up of 1-3 sub-missions. On top of that, the game offers co-operative play so you and a friend can play through the campaign together. Also, counter-operative is available, where one player acts as Joanna Dark in the campaign, and the other player spawns as one of many guards in the levels and attempts to kill you and end your mission. Finally, the mode that will clearly see the most attention, the combat simulator, which is your standard multiplayer mode. Of course, all co-operative and counter-operative modes are fully supporting Xbox Live!

As multiplayer is definitely the most popular, let’s talk about it in more detail. Combat simulator supports 1-4 players offline, and 1-8 players over Xbox Live. If you’re unpopular or nobody is online, you can enabled simulator bots to battle against you. A variety of bots are available and cover all skill levels and behaviors. Also, you’ll find a variety of modes to play, including King of the Hill, Hacker Central, and Capture the Case.  Like the solo missions, the multiplayer runs at a silky smooth 60fps. A variety of options can be tweaked, including the use of radar, auto-aim, simulants, and more. If you’re not satisfied with one of the 10 pre-set weapon loadouts, you can go random, or create your own setup and save it to use any time. Regarding lag, though the number of players are very limited right now, the game appears to be free of any lag, following a 4 hour multiplayer session yesterday

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After all is said and done, it’s clear that 4J Studios has done a fantastic job on re-creating Perfect Dark for old and new players alike. It’s fast, it’s challenging, and jammed full of content for everyone. All modes support both local multiplayer and Xbox Live multiplayer, something we’d love to see more often. Perfect Dark is coming to XBLA on March 17, for a mere 800 :MSPoints:  – an unbelievable price for the content included. For you achievement hunters, Perfect Dark offers 20 new achievements! Do yourself a favor, head over to the Marketplace and buy Perfect Dark, of if you’re not a returning player, check out the demo.

Review by Bryan Tremblay


Original N64 and XBLA Versions Comparison Video

A chance to win a code for Perfect Dark

We have one code to give away for Perfect Dark. To enter, all you need to do is answer the following question in the comments below.

Tell us why you want to play Perfect Dark.

Does it bring back memories of playing the original N64 version or maybe you never got the chance and want to see what all the fuss is about? Either way, let us know and we will pick a winner at random tomorrow, March 17th at 10PM GMT.

Rules and Information

– The winner will be decided at random after the deadline on March 17th at 10PM GMT and will be emailed the code within 24 hours.

– Include your correct email address in the field as this will be used to contact you if you win, the email address is not shown to the public.

– Please only enter once. Multiple entries and/or using multiple accounts may be banned from this and future competitions.

– No alternatives will be offered, you can either give the code back to us and we will pick another winner or you can give it to someone else.


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