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Alias PlayStation 2 Official Website

Published by Acclaim
Developed by Acclaim Studios Cheltenham
Released - Out Now
Price : £39.99

As you probably already know, Alias is a game based on the TV show of the same name. I have to say that I've never watched the program so right from the very start I can't make a judgment on how close the game is to the TV show. In some ways this has it's advantages because I've looked at it from a gamers point of view rather than a fan of the show who might be expecting the game to play in a certain way.

Alias puts you in the shoes of Sydney Bristow, a multi-talented special agent for the CIA. The game begins with Bristow being called in on her day off. An operative, Agent Jacobs, has gone missing whilst working undercover and keeping an eye on the machinations of Bristow's arch enemy, Anna Espinosa. The opening cutscene shows Espinosa finding out who Jacobs really is. Bristow begins the search for Jacobs and the sensitive information that Jacobs had acquired before he went missing. The game begins in a Monte Carlo casino but you'll soon be globe-trotting in your attempt to thwart Espinosa and her supposed partners Mr. Sark and Arvin Sloane.

The game is a mix of stealth and combat. This gives the game a bit of a strange feel. The stealth moments feel lightweight and it seems quite random when it comes to the enemy spotting you. There is also a lack of visual aids to help you carry out the stealth effectively. For instance there is no indicator to show you how well you are covered and this can limit your stealth efficiency. However, most of the time it's possible to throw the stealth out of the window and just fight the enemies that are on offer. Whilst there are various weapons that you can use in the game, and you can also pick up items to use as weapons such as frying pans and bottles etc., you can also just use your fists and feet to defeat the enemies.

The biggest problem is that the combat is just too easy. Whilst this is not a massive problem it does undermine the importance of stealth. Most stealth based games will discourage you taking an all guns blazing approach by making it impossible for you to survive. As Alias doesn't do this it makes it very tempting to just take on the enemies. This temptation is further increased by how easy the combat is and it makes the game feel unbalanced. The enemy AI is pretty poor and you'll often notice, when taking on multiple enemies, that the enemy you're not concentrating on will make little effort to attack you. Even when they do it doesn't seem to do much damage. The combat system also lacks refinement. Bristow has a normal attack and a special attack as well as a block manoeuvre. It would have been better had there been individual kick and punch buttons. The system used makes the game feel like a simplistic button basher, which is unfortunate as it could have been so much more.

Graphically the game looks OK. From the pictures I've seen of the TV show characters the game characters look fairly close to their 'real-life' counterparts. The character animations are a mixed bag with the best ones definitely belonging to Bristow. The frame rate can fluctuate somewhat and whilst this doesn't cause any problems it's a bit disappointing to see. The games camera can be controlled with the right analogue stick but there are still moments when the camera angles can be problematic during combat. Bristow has a thermal vision and enhanced vision mode and these have been done quite impressively.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment for deaf gamers is that the games cutscenes are not subtitled. Such an omission means that you won't be able to enjoy the story, which is always disappointing. Thankfully though all instructions and tutorial messages, that are received from radio messages, are shown in text. During the game you'll occasionally have a puzzle to solve and all the information you need is displayed in text. The conversations between Bristow and the other characters are shown in text so apart from the cutscenes there isn't anything to worry about. Pressing the start button, followed by the R1 button will allow you to look at objectives, messages and maps etc. that you have acquired.

Alias could have easily been a much more impressive game. However the lightweight stealth elements and the all too easy, unrefined, combat do a lot to damage the overall feel of the game. It's unfortunate that the cutscenes are not subtitled though. Despite these problems, the game is by no means a bad game but the main problem is that there are better choices out there. Fans of the TV show will probably be more forgiving than most and will appreciate what's here. If, like me, you don't watch the TV show then it might not be so appealing.

Overall Game Rating: 6.0/10
Alias is probably a game for fans of the TV show only. People who don't watch the TV show will simply notice the aforementioned problems and will feel disappointed.

Deaf Gamers comment:
It's rather unfortunate that the games cutscenes are not subtitled.