When gamers have a choice of a few hundred or so games of the same type a developer must do something to make their game stand out from the crowd. Many times these new ideas are nothing more than fancy gimmicks that donít do anything to really improve the gaming experience. So now Namco comes along with kill.switch for the XBox which, besides trying something funky with the title, has added a new fancy sounding term called ďOffensive Cover System.Ē What is it and should you be interested in it? Read onÖ
Take a quick glance at kill.switch and you will see a third-person shooter. The story, which at times is nothing more than a good excuse to move you from one geographic hotspot to another, has you in the role of a special solider that can act like a one man wrecking team. Look a little closer and you see a game that uses its environments in more interesting ways than any other game to date. There are some twists in the story that play out pretty well, but I wonít be giving those away.
Kill.switch is along the lines of a hybrid stealth/shooter game. While it may not place as much of an emphasis on the sneaking around as a Splinter Cell or Metal Gear Solid, this is still a game that you will not do very well in if you just go running down the middle of the street trying to shoot everything in sight. This is where the Offensive Cover System comes into play. What the deal is that you really have to make use of your environment by hiding behind obstacles, like a burnt-out car, and use it as a shield and as an offensive advantage. Youíll do a lot of crouching in this game. Pressing the left trigger when close to a wall will make you hug the wall. From this point you can execute a blindfire where you literally shoot your weapon without the aid of being able to see what youíre trying to hit. Obviously this isnít a very effective way to wipe out the bad guys, as you will rarely hit anything, but it will allow you to lay down some cover fire that will make your enemies take cover. You can use this to your advantage by doing a blindfire and then when everyoneís ducking you can either scurry off to a better hiding place or set yourself up to have a good aim for when the bad guys pop their heads up again. Another part of the Offensive Cover System is that you can also lean around a corner or over an obstacle and fire from that vantage point. This makes you a much more difficult target. The Offensive Cover System (OCS) feature is the big original selling point for kill.switch and as far a gimmicky ideas go itís not too bad.
After the OCS the rest of kill.switch is straightforward. You have many urban street fighting environments, night missions, inside and outside missions, among others for a total of 15 different campaigns. Your HUD view shows the expected stuff like health indicator, current weapon and ammo, and a targeting reticule. You also have your standard reality based weapons like grenades, AK47s, AKUGs, and a nifty sniper rifle. Itís a good thing that you have a healthy variety of weapons because you will need all of them throughout the game. The main reason of that is the enemies in kill.switch are a little smarter than your average game. They will take flanking positions against you and often seem to work as teams as the move in closer. They also are able to use the same crouch and shoot techniques that you can and they are not afraid to lob a grenade or two over at you.
Graphically kill.switch isnít ground breaking. I found the main character animations odd for some reason. Itís not that they werenít smooth or anything, but there was just something a little unnerving that I could never put my finger on. Kill.switch also uses a variation of the rag-doll physics effect that is starting to show up in all action games nowadays. Overall I did like the look of the game and feel that it holds it own against the majority of the games out there. The sound is not quite as good as I would have liked. While it does have times where you can ease drop on guards conversation, it doesnít take full effect of the XBoxís 5.1 sound and in a game like this I feel that the sound should really help set the mood. The controls are fine, with one thumbstick controlling your movement as the other controls your aim. Takes a little getting used to, but soon everything is moving along nicely. One nice surprise, and itís unfortunately always a surprise when someone comes close to getting it right, is the camera. More often than not it isnít a problem! Woo-hoo!!
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 81%. Kill.switch is a little better than your average shooter and worth checking out for the unique Offensive Cover System.