Perfect Dark Zero Review

Let’s start off by putting all of the hype surrounding Perfect Dark Zero off to the side. There will be no talk of killer aps, system sellers, and Halo in this review, well, after this sentence that is. Starting … … … now! OK, I usually don’t start off a review by talking about a game’s presentation and graphics, but in the case of Perfect Dark Zero it’s really a necessity. When you fire up the game for the first time you can’t help but notice how slickly put together the whole thing is before you even kick off your first game. Seriously, this game has an entire introductory sequence that is an obvious homage to the opening credit sequences of James Bond movies while simultaneously putting them to shame. Most of the time it takes a game about fifteen seconds or so to get me to start looking for a “skip” button, but with Perfect Dark Zero I sat there mesmerized by the whole thing. Then came the menus, which really look slick and in HD look so sharp and so very cool. Alright, alright, you know it’s a very well-produced game, but I bet what you really want to know is how well it plays.

Welcome to the jungle.
Well, you’ll have to bear with me for just a bit longer here because I need to get the story’s basics out of the way. In Perfect Dark Zero you are bounty hunter Joanna Dark, a gun for hire who is just as deadly as she is sexy. The words “bounty hunter” may evoke a picture of a burly guy in a leather vest and cowboy hat who packs a shotgun and chews tobacco (well to me, at least), but you’d be way off base here. Joanna looks like she is ready to club hop between the hottest spots in town and she’s better equipped than MI6. Anyway, you get it, hot super-spy type who collects bounties for a living, on with the story. The story takes place in the near future in a world that is under the tight control of giant corporations. One of these corporations is dataDyne and Joanna and her team soon learn that they plan to distribute software with a deadly side-effect to the entire world. What they’re really up to is something that you as Joanna Dark will have to find out for yourself. If you do, then let me know because the story is a bit convoluted. However, if we were all playing games for their plotlines we’d all be stuck hunting pixels in adventure games right now. Shiver.

OK, phew, we’re finally ready to take a look at the gameplay. Well, the single player gameplay at least. Perfect Dark Zero is a first-person shooter that is most akin to various first-person shooter secret agent games that have come before it. Pure running and gunning will get you killed pretty quickly, so stealth and discretion are more prudent approaches. If you’re trigger happy, don’t worry; I’m not talking Splinter Cell here and you’ll still find yourself in plenty of shootouts. Overall Perfect Dark Zero is a mix of realistic and conventional action. On the realism side your carrying capacity is limited so you won’t be able to carry every gun you come across in the game. Also, the guns don’t have gigantic magazines and they take a realistic amount of time to load. On the flipside, a more liberal approach is taken where your health is concerned. If you are hit and become injured you can get out of harm’s way for a bit and your health will recover automatically. Take too much damage and your max health will start to decline, so the health mechanism used in the game is not a license to approach things Rambo-style.