As the gaming industry continues to move forward into the future, it is interesting that developers are going back to classic video game franchises and brings them onto modern consoles. Spy Hunter from Midway was once a top of the line arcade racing/action experience that succeeded due to its over the top crazy nature. But since then the games have struggled with their own identity and it has been a while since we have seen a game. Well now they are creating a movie starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and that of course means bring back the game series? Does it successfully revitalizes the franchise? Read our full review to find out!
I am almost surprised to say this but Spy Hunter: Nowhere to Run really feels like a totally different game from what other Spy Hunter games have played like. First off, the biggest change of all is that of the on foot action, something that has never happened in these games and I don’t think anyone ever foresaw this change either. Just the fact that you are getting out of your car is huge, but as you will find out through this review more than just that has changed, but is it for the better?
The game of course has much more of a story being that it is based on the movie, which has a fair share of problems finding a final release date. You play as Alex Decker, a special agent helping the government it its fight against an evil corporation entitled NOSTRA. The story itself seems pretty bare bones, and although it is nice to have The Rock lend his voice to the game, unfortunately it is not enough to push this game further.
So this is no longer just your everyday driving and shooting experience, but instead it is a game that tries to combine both. Let’s first talk about the driving sequences, which can be frustrating at first try. You control the car with the left analog stick, and aim the weapon with the right, which manages to be a lot to do at one time. Another problem is that the controls being frustrating like they are also make you pretty uninterested in the action on screen as it can be a hassle switching weapons, which means you will probably use the same one over and over again. This is not like the Spy Hunter games I remember, because what was once just fun and fast paced action is now feels disjointed and doesn’t flow all that well.
So let’s talk about the all new portion of the game, which actually gets you out of the car and take on the baddies head-on. While the fighting isn’t as interactive or refined as the recently reviewed Yakuza for example, it is complimented by some really entertaining combos and pretty big moves. The game isn’t anything revolutionary in terms of the on foot action, but it is surprisingly at times more entertaining than the car sequences, something that the series has been known for since the beginning of the series.
In the end, I have to say although the on foot action is interesting, the gameplay itself just feels rushed, unpolished, and uninteresting. The controls feel like a game that is in the middle of the development cycle and not a boxed final copy. As much as I wanted to see Spy Hunter succeed with its new aspirations, it’s unfortunate to see the game struggle. The mission designs are uninteresting, the story is generic, and the gameplay doesn’t manage to do anything worthy of much praise.
One of the biggest issues that Spy Hunter: Nowhere to Run has is the visuals, which make matters worse for the gameplay. First off, you are talking about a game that on the PS2 pales in comparison to really any other good action/racing game out there. This game feels like something from a few years ago, with a lot of "jaggies", lack of details, and some extremely uninspired environments. Another thing I should mention is the frame rate, which unfortunately doesn’t seem to be solid at all, making the action even less enjoyable.
Even though this is a game that has a list of problems; it is still a game that has an arcade style feel that packs in at least some amusement. The on foot action, although somewhat clunky, does provide some fun beat em’ up action. The controls for the racing are frustrating, but once you do get them down you do get a bit of enjoyment. For me I had some fun in this game, but the overall appeal of this game was lost with the fact that we have seen this game done better more than once.
I have to say that in the past I have liked Spy Hunter a title, but unfortunately Nowhere to Run just doesn’t have the needed elements to make for an enjoyable experience. The game definitely is going for a more up to date style, but this transition is plagued with new problems and some unfortunate shortcomings. Fans of the series might want to pick this up as a rental, but anything more would probably be unwarranted.
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.