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Spy Fiction Review for PlayStation 2 (PS2)
Posted on Monday, September 27, 2004 @ 11:34:39 pm E.S.T

The state of the free world is at risk. As a member of the elite Phantom organization, it is your job to stop the terrorist group Enigma in their tracks. Enigma’s plans for terror are a global threat, and playing as either agent Billy Bishop or Sheila Crawford you will have to use your elite skills and advanced technology to keep the terrorist threat at bay.

The “stealth action” genre is one that has become increasingly popular in just the past few months. Spy Fiction has arrived on the scene just in time to make an impact, hitting shelves just after the release of Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow and before that of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Much like the genre’s giants (MGS and SC), Spy Fiction involves a lot of sneaking and a lot of shooting. Do not be fooled: at the very start of the Spy Fiction any gamer will find that it is much more than simply a mediocre knockoff of one of these two genre leading series.

The basic formula for “stealth action” games usually has been made up of two parts stealth, one part action. This is where Spy Fiction breaks from the mold by reversing this formula and putting more emphasis on the action and gunplay than on the stealth and sneaking. In many aspects this works both for and against the game. Firstly, it provides gamers with a more unique “stealth action” experience. This helps Spy Fiction stand out against many of the established series in its genre. However, it does a much better job delivering on stealth and strategy than it does action and gunplay.

For what stealth aspects Spy Fiction does provide, it does a brilliant job. Offering unique spy gadgets and the ability to become mostly invisible when you stay still with your back pressed to the wall, Spy Fiction sets itself apart from many of the other games in the genre. Some of the game’s gadgets fall short of filling their awesome potential. One such gadget being the Spider Grips which allow for you to spider along the tops of walls, many of which do see plenty of use throughout the game. One such gadget is the 3DA camera. The 3DA camera allows you to take a picture of an enemy and capture both their clothing and face data. Once captured, you’ll be able to change into that enemy and sneak through tight areas.

Spy Fiction really is quite frustrating when it comes to the action-oriented side of the gameplay. Basically, it suffers from mediocrity. Most noticeably is the ho-hum aiming system. Tapping the fire button will snap you to your target, and all you’ll be left to do is tap the fire button until you take them down.. It sounds simple, right? That’s because it is simple, too simple to deliver an enjoyable gunplay experience. Spy Fiction attempts to makes up for this by offering a somewhat interesting hand-to-hand combat system which will allow you to duke it out with enemies from time to time. This helps to keep things interesting by offering you an alternative to the basic run and gun style of gameplay for those who prefer to take things slower. Disappointingly, Spy Fiction falls short of delivering a deep action experience.

Two things that Spy Fiction does exceptionally well are without a doubt the lighting effects and characters models. Character models look smooth, interesting, and are well animated, while the lighting helps to add the sharp character designs to stand out further. The camera is another story. The camera is manual and it will rarely provide a suitable angle for the task at hand; however, after playing for a while you’ll find that the camera can be just barely acceptable when you master the art of controlling it.

The sound in Spy Fiction suffers from just a few minor drawbacks. Voice acting that was done for the game is great. Characters sound wonderful and their voices help give them a personality all their own. Due to the fact that Spy Fiction involves plenty of interaction between characters the brilliant voice acting adds quite a lot to the quality of the gameplay as well. The same can be said for the sound effects done for the game. Really, the only shortcomings Spy Fiction has in the sound department has to do with the music, which is acceptable, but can seem that it is a little out of place at times.

Finally, Spy Fiction scores high in the replay area. At the beginning of the game you’ll be prompted to choose between two characters, both of which will explore the same areas throughout the story. However, the paths taken through these areas differ slightly from character to character. While this may not sound like much, it definitely helps bring gamers back for a second run through the game.

All in all, Spy Fiction is somewhat of an average experience that is actually quite enjoyable. Good presentation coupled with decent gameplay makes Spy Fiction a suitable game for fans of the genre. If you’re looking for a Stealth Action game to whet your appetite while the wait for MGS3 narrows, Spy Fiction is the game for you.

Review By: Kent Mackowiak - 901 Reads

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