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PC / Review / Daikatana
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Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Developer: Ion Storm
Release Date: Available Now
ESRB Rating: Mature
Graphics: 4.0
Control: 4.5
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Review by: Brian Wright
Posted: 06/01/00 [view screens]

After an assortment of rumors and scandals, a series of setbacks, and years of delay, Daikatana has finally been released to an audience of gamers, anxious to see if it was worth the wait. The question everyone is asking is: Just how bad is it? The answer: It's not that bad.

In fact, had Daikatana been released two years ago, it would have impressed gamers with its involving story, intricate levels, and unique sidekicks. But by coming out long after games like Half-Life and Unreal shook up the gaming world, Daikatana ends up looking less than spectacular.

The story, which concerns Hiro Miyamoto and his quest throughout four time periods to find the legendary sword, Daikatana, contains elements of Snow Crash, Soylent Green, and countless anime films and, despite its cliches, is somewhat intriguing.

The Quake II engine looks good for its age and there are some nice lighting and weapon effects, like the sparks that fly off the Ion Blaster. The levels are well designed and you'll spend a lot of time hunting for passageways and crawling through tight corridors. Quality music and voice acting create a movie-like atmosphere, but some sounds, like the repetitive screaming of workers and the aggravating buzz of the giant mosquitoes, grate on the ears.

Several other nuisances bog down the gameplay and distract from Daikatana's fun. For one, this game is dark-you'll probably have to manually adjust your gamma setting just to see where you're going-and the black and neon green colors of the early levels certainly don't help. Add to this a rain effect that makes the game look like an old movie and you may curse the day John Romero was born. Eventually, though, the levels brighten up.

The console-style Save function-limited saves based on discovering Save Gems located throughout the levels-is simply annoying. Being forced to play through the same 10 minutes of gameplay over and over because of one perilous jump or a particularly difficult roomful of enemies is just plain frustrating. Developers should know by now that gamers should be allowed to save their game when they want and as often as they want.

The weapons look good but the delayed reaction of some makes them impractical, and you will lose a lot of health to ricochets and splash damage. The much touted AI sidekicks are fun for a while, but their lack of actual intelligence grows wearisome after the third time one gets crushed to death by a door.

Multiplay is available through in-game support courtesy of GameSpy, but with only three player models to choose from and fairly standard game modes-Deathmatch, Capture the Flag-Daikatana won't steal many players away from Quake III or Unreal Tournament.

Still, beneath all of these flaws, Daikatana is a pretty good FPS with well-designed levels, quality voice acting, and tons of bad guys to shoot. Gamers who have already played through Half-Life and Opposing Forces and are looking for a good single-player experience, should give Daikatana a chance.

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