Games such as Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell have been really successful on the market by successfully integrating stealth elements in the action genre. And we have witnessed developers trying to cash in on the success of the two titles by mimicking them, with limited success. Namco has decided to take the plunge with kill.switch, a tactical military shooter that has actually been given a lot of attention, and looking like it was shaping up to be a top-notch title. For the most part, it lives up the hype, but does it warrant a purchase? Read on and find out!
Action titles are always in high demand, and it has been a while since we have had a good solid tactical shooter hit store shelves. Splinter Cell was my pick for the Xbox game of the year for 2002, and with that being on the Xbox library, it is quite difficult to overthrow a game such as that. So Namco decided instead of trying to go just like Splinter Cell or Metal Gear Solid 2. Mixing elements from both games, and adding a few minor twists, they’ve come up with kill.switch.
Unlike most games where you find out who you are and what you’re supposed to do from the very beginning, kill.switch starts out mysteriously. You really aren’t given much information, but if you listen closely you will find that you are actually playing the controller of a "super soldier". This whole idea doesn’t come into play much in the game itself, but the idea behind it is actually quite different. The unfortunate part about the story is there is no plot. There is nothing to drive you to play on, and for the most part there is no story. This really does hurt kill.switch because a good storyline has really shown to be crucial in tactical shooters.
The game starts off with a Basic Training level, and many of us are probably really sick of going through these types of missions, and yes, you get to go through another one in kill.switch. This basic training mode is pretty useless for those of us "shooting gurus", but for the newcomer to the genre it will be quite useful. It isn’t an overly long basic training mode (thankfully), and does do a nice job of preparing you for the intense action that lies ahead.
Once you complete the basic training, you are immediately thrown into the game and the action starts. Another big problem that plagues kill.switch is the mission/objective design, which is just plain boring. Talk about a one sided game; you do the same thing over, and over and over again. The missions consist of you running through the linear levels shooting enemies and fighting the boss. This also doesn’t help when you have a game that will take you less then ten hours even on the higher difficulty settings.
I must say though Namco did an excellent job of accomplishing one of their goals, and that was to make a solid tactical shooter that really made you utilize cover. What this means is that you use everything possible to protect yourself, like walls, cars, ect. That really make this quite interesting. Never has a game used this type of gameplay to the extent that Namco has taken it. You have several different ways to fire your weapons while taking cover, and fully utilizing these abilities is how you become successful in kill.switch. The one issue here is that once you really master this ability the game starts to really become easy, and therefore you will find that completing this game won’t be very hard at all.
The biggest problem with kill.switch isn’t so much the simplistic level design or relatively short length, but actually is that everything in this game has been done before and in most cases (besides the taking cover) done better.
With the gameplay having its fair share of faults, the graphics in some ways makes up for it, except in certain areas where it exhibits faults of its own. The graphics of kill.switch are actually quite average in most sections, with the character models being pretty standard and the environments although very linear, looking pretty decent. There really are not a lot of things going on in most of these environments, but for the most part they look pretty well detailed and don’t do much wrong.
The one big issue with the games graphics is the camera, which seems to become a problem when the game gets into tight corridors. The camera will get stuck at times and can totally block you from aiming and killing enemies. This is just something you would hoped would get cleaned up before the game would be released, but there are problems like this that hold it back.
Overall the graphics are right on the line of average and it is a shame because there are a lot of areas for improvement. The camera proves to be a problem throughout the game, which is quite a large irritation.
This is one of those games that is quite a bit of fun, but unfortunately ends really early. Without any extra modes holding you in, there is really no reason to go back and play this one again. Though the first time through the game has its moment, the repetitive nature of the game really holds it back from being what it could have been. The game has its ups and downs and in the end you’re just looking at a game that can be fun, but unfortunately the fun doesn’t last.
When you look at kill.switch you see potential in every department, which unfortunately wasn’t taken advantage of. It would have been much better had the camera been fixed, and the storyline been beefed up, but unfortunately there were not. With that said kill.switch makes a perfect rental, because you can easily complete this one before you have to take it back.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.