|System: Xbox 360, PS3|
|Dev: Feelplus Inc.|
|Pub: Square Enix|
|Release: January 18th, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by James Trujillo
Coming up with a great idea for a game is an important thing. With so many games that are cookie-cutter efforts in their respective genres, it's nice to have a fresh take once in a while. The unfortunate downside to some of these games is that the wrong developer has come up with the idea. A prime example: Mindjack.
The idea was simple. A third-person science fiction shooter that lets you "mind hack" into anyone or anything, giving the basis for great conceptual gameplay, and a conspiracy-laden story to give the whole thing meaning. The developers behind the game, Feelplus Inc., may have had a little trouble along the way, considering they were shut down in 2010. However, I have a feeling things wouldn't have turned out very differently even if they were still around.
The year is 2031, and you play as FIA (Federal Intelligence Agency) agent Jim Corbijn. During what appears to be a standard mission, his objective is to pursue an anti-government activist named Rebecca Weiss who is just arriving on a flight from Shanghai. The airport suddenly comes under terrorist attack, and the two are left with only each other to fight for survival. As they make their escape through what seems to be an endless amount of attackers, they reluctantly agree to a truce and slowly begin to unravel the truth underneath the surface of their meeting.
Normally a conspiracy plot can be pretty engaging if it is told in the right way. Unfortunately, there are so many things wrong with its presentation that I don't even know where to begin saying how bad it is. The two main characters have no depth and very little personality, mostly due to the poorly written dialogue that's reminiscent of a stereotypical action film. The plot itself is incredibly hard to follow and feels like it was made up at random, especially since there is no real explanation of anything that's actually going on. You'll understand what I'm talking about when you fight your first mechanical gorilla.
A story can get away with begin utterly bad, if it has great gameplay to back it up. Sadly, this is probably one of the worst aspects of Mindjack. The cover system is downright atrocious, as it can get very choosy about what you can actually hide behind. Even when it does work, enemies will miraculously find a way to kill you due to the lousy hit detection, which works both ways. Pulling off a headshot can sometimes take anywhere from four to six bullets depending on the weapon. Often times cover is not even necessary due to the horrible enemy AI, who will either charge at you directly or just stand in the open during a gunfight. The same thing goes with your teammate AI, which is annoying because if both of you are downed, it's game over.
Another very frustrating component of the game is the inability to continually carry weapons. After each scene is completed, your basic inventory is reset and you're left with scrounging the ground in front of you for a new set of weapons and grenades. It really breaks up the flow of the game, almost as much as the setup of each combat sequence. You're basically walking through one glorified hallway after another until you reach the next action scenario. Pause, wait for loading screen. Rinse and repeat. Then you're left with an incredibly mundane boss fight, which usually consists of finding a rocket launcher to defeat the enemy. I suppose it's a good thing that nothing happens when you're wandering to the next gunfight, because there is also no functional pause screen. If you go into the menu, the environment and everything around you is persistent, so stopping during a battle is not an option.