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Ghost in the Shell - Stand Alone Complex PlayStation 2

Published by BANDAI
Developed by CAVIA
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £39.99

Ghost in the Shell – Stand Alone Complex, an introduction.

There have been several games based on anime over the years. Most of them don't have a European release and those that do tend to be disappointing. Ghost in the Shell is an incredibly popular anime so it would make perfect sense to release a game, based on the licence, here in Europe. Is Ghost in the Shell – Stand Alone Complex a game that will please fans of the anime? Let's take a look.

What's the game about?

The game places you as part of a futuristic rescue team, Security Police Section 9, and throughout the game you'll control the cybernetic Motoko Kusanagi and similarly cybernetic Batou who is the 'muscle' behind Section 9. Motoko is the lithe, action girl who can perform amazing jumps and martial art-like attacks whilst Batou is the heavier artillery-wielding type who prefers to move on the ground. You'll also get to control the Tachikoma spider tank too. The game's plot is pretty much throw-away stuff which is disappointing, although not essential to this type of game.

What's good about the game?

As far as actions games go Stand Alone Complex is a pretty easy one to get into. No prior knowledge of the Ghost in the Shell phenomenon is required so if you are keen on action games, that have more than their fair share of platform game elements, you may want to give the game a look. The support for deaf gamers is also worthy of mention and it's great to see so much of the game subtitled. In fact given the very poor voice acting I suspect many hearing gamers will turn off the voices and read the text. Some may also point to the one button combat as being a good thing although personally I prefer a combat system that's a little more engaging. The game has a few twists of its own such as the Ghost Hacking that temporarily allows you to control a body of one another in order to help you out of a sticky spot. It works well but it's not a major inclusion.

What's not so good about the game?

Whilst Stand Alone Complex isn't that bad a game there are couple of issues I have with the game. The amount of jumping you have to do in this game is insane and gets irritating rather quickly. To make matters worse the control scheme isn't that well thought out (using R2 to jump for instance) and this adds to the irritation. The game's length is also disappointing and I suspect many will be done in 6 hours or so. Enemy AI is also rather dumb and never really poses much of a problem. Playing on the most difficult of the 3 difficulty levels offers more of a challenge but even then it's not difficult.

How does it look?

Graphically Ghost in the Shell – Stand Alone Complex is OK in that it offers pretty much standard PlayStation 2 graphics. The cutscenes are probably the highlight of the game as they are very anime-like and suit the game well. Some of the game environments are rather bland though and add to the uninspired feel of the game. Character animations, like the graphics, are simply OK and are nothing out of the ordinary.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

There's not a lot to complain about with the game's support for deaf gamers. Subtitles can be enabled and when they are you're not going to miss out on the games story and important information. The game's tutorials are delivered exclusively via text so you'll have no problems here. The game's cutscenes are subtitled too so you'll be able to follow all the cheesy dialogue. Conversations during the main game are also subtitled. Rather impressively you can also access a communications log from the pause menu which lets you recall any of the messages you received during a mission.

Final thoughts.

Whilst there's not a lot wrong with Ghost in the Shell – Stand Alone Complex, there's not much here that you haven't seen before in other games. All things considered it's an average affair that once played through will probably be never played again. The jumping puzzles (if that's the right word) can be irritating and the game is too short. Still fans of anime will find something to like here but in truth others will probably feel there's not enough quality about the game to justify a purchase.


Overall Game Rating: 6.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification

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Fans of Ghost in the Shell will probably like the game but it's going to be an uninspiring game for everyone else.