When something becomes popular, whether it is the simulation style of The Sims, or the open ended Gameplay of the Grand Theft Auto series, developers usually and intelligently follow what works and throws away what doesn’t. The game we are checking out today is a game that tries to take the idea behind the Grand Theft Auto series and put it into their own game called Total Overdose: A Gunslinger’s Tale in Mexico. So does this game manage to improve upon the whole GTA idea? Read our full review to find out!
One thing games like Total Overdose have to do in order to really be recognized as a great game is separate itself from the game it is taking notes from. In fact, it is in these types of games that you hope to find something that expands the ideas of the original and to keep the competition strong in order to get even better games in the future. So can Total Overdose improve upon what has already been done in this open ended action genre?
One of the key factors of Total Overdoes is its very different storyline, which takes place in the late 1980’s. Now the story is really not the easiest to follow, but basically the game is all about guns and taking out every single bad guy imaginable. You play as Ram Cruz, a man who was just hired by the DEA to go down in South America to stop a big drug cartel. The story will remind you of many of the drug cartel type movies like Traffic, except for the fact that this game actually has some very weird quirks about it that we will discuss more later on. The story itself is good but never did anything out of the ordinary.
At the top of this review I spoke about how this game is taking a lot from the Grand Theft Auto series. Well, at the same token, the game has a lot in common with Rockstar’s other popular game, Max Payne. Your character Ram Cruz actually feels a lot like Max Payne, and this can be seen just merely by the heavy use of bullet time in this game. What is funny about Total Overdose is that you are going to be constantly using this ability, probably twice as much as you would in a Max Payne game. With this bullet time comes an entire point system that gives you points for pulling off great bullet time stunts. This is where you begin to get the idea that this game really doesn’t care about reality, but instead just wants to give you a totally weird experience.
Now the game does take most of its ideas from the Grand Theft Auto series, and this is in the environment, which pretty much is the same sort of open ended feel as GTA. You will be going from story mission to story mission with some side missions thrown in along the way. The developers of Total Overdose decided not to put as much emphasis on side missions and therefore you won’t find as much need to do these types of missions. The side missions, however, are varied and do give some breaths of fresh air from the grind of the story mode, but still are nowhere near as entertaining as the GTA series.
Where Total Overdose really comes down to earth is in the story missions, where the game just does not manage to make things overly varied. The game has you doing a lot of different missions that sound different on paper, but in the end are dragging and don’t really try to do anything different from what has already been done before. The story keeps the game moving at a nice pace, but really the missions are not all that entertaining.
Total Overdose is a weird game and there is no doubt about that, and this is one of its strongest qualities. Total Overdose started out strong, but as time went along I felt as though the game really became dry. There are only so many times that you can use bullet time and actually get a kick out of it. Driving around the environments doesn’t give the same amount of satisfaction as in the GTA series, and this is mainly because the driving controls are a bit sketchy. Total Overdose has some "different" qualities, but in the end is just an average open-ended game that does not bring anything new to the table.
The visual department of Total Overdose is what separates the two, as of course you’re in a much different style of environment. Mexico is a much grungier environment, and the developers did a solid job of making this all come together. The environments in the game were good, with a decent amount of detail and a pretty good use of colors. I can’t say that the environments were perfect but they definitely give you a good feel of what you pretty much figure the Mexican environment would look like back in the 80’s.
The frame rate is a bit sketchy at times, especially when things get busy on screen. This isn’t a huge problem, but an annoyance nonetheless. The character models in the game are good and have a decent amount of detail, but don’t do anything overly impressive. The overall look of Total Overdose is good, but in the long run just doesn’t do anything to take this game anywhere past average.
One of the biggest factors that has made Grand Theft Auto a hit is the great amount of variety that these games have been known to contain. Total Overdose doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of what we saw in the GTA series, which is unfortunate because it does have some potential. The story mode in the game at times can be kind of funny, and so can help the flow of the game as well. The action in the game is pretty standard, with the bullet time becoming quite old after some time.
Total Overdose is a good game, but with that being said, it just does not bring anything new to be on par with Grand Theft Auto. The story in the game is good, the action is good, but nothing in the game is ever better then good. If you enjoy the GTA style of gameplay and want to check out how that would feel in the Mexico setting, then try out Total Overdose. I recommend this as a solid rental, but nothing more.
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.