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Stolen PlayStation 2

Published by Hip Games
Developed by Blue 52
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £29.99

Stolen, an introduction.

Stealth games have increased in popularity over the last few years. Games such as Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell managed to build on the previous Metal Gear Solid games and take the stealth genre that bit further. This year we have sequels to both games with Metal Gear Solid 3 and Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory both arriving. With titles of such quality it was always going to be difficult for a new title to stand out. Can Stolen manage to compete against the likes of the Splinter Cell and Metal Gear Solid series?

What's the game about?

The game is set in a city that's plagued with criminal activity and it's a city where the central characters are on the wrong side of the law. One of these characters is Anya Romanov, a high-tech thief. Anya is assisted by Louie Palmer, who through radio communications, advises here when she is on a mission. The story begins with Louie and Anya being hired by a mysterious client to steal a precious gem from an historic Samurai Statue. Everything goes to plan until a mysterious onlooker deliberately sets off the alarm and Anya only just escapes.

What's good about the game?

Perhaps the best aspect of Stolen is its control system which has actually been well thought out and didn't cause any problems at all. That said though the combat is rather weak (more on that in a moment). Anya has a nice collection of gadgets that help her complete her tasks and she's also a very nimble young woman which is a good thing given the jumps and moves you'll have to carry out to complete your goals.

What's not so good about the game?

Stolen has very little that makes the game stand out from other titles in the genre. The biggest complaint comes with the AI of those you're trying to avoid. It's all too easy to avoid those guards. This is just as well because you can't kill them (only knock them out for a short while). The guards don't even seem to notice if you move quickly near them as long as you're not in their line of sight. They even seem to ignore the shadows you cast which is silly. When the need for combat arises all you need to do is tap the triangle button as quickly as possible. Yes I realise the main focus of the game isn't combat but something more substantial than tapping the triangle button wouldn't have caused even the most casual of gamers any problems.

How does it look?

Graphically Stolen looks quite good. Don't get me wrong there's nothing particularly outstanding about the visuals in the game but they are on a par with most games on the PlayStation 2. The frame rate does dip from time to time though. Strangely enough I found the frame rate to be lower when you were indoors. Although the frame rate does dip it never causes any problems.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Sadly Stolen isn't that deaf gamer friendly. Tutorial tips are shown in text which helps you to learn the basics of the game. Objectives are shown in text and can be recalled at any time by pressing the start button. There aren't any subtitles though. As a result you'll be unaware of the dialogue in the games cutscenes and the radio communications that you'll receive from Louie. The lack of subtitles makes things awkward too. One of the early cutscenes (a conversation between two guards) reveals the location of the jade statue you're after but this isn't shown in text. You'll miss out on the wafer thin story that the game has which may not be much of a loss but nevertheless it should be accessible to deaf gamers. Whilst there is a gauge that shows you how visible you are there are no audio captions and no method of showing you how much noise you're making. Fortunately as long as you stay in the shadows, enemies don't seem to take much notice anyway.

Final thoughts.

It's difficult to recommend Stolen because of its uninspired feel. Yes it isn't deaf gamer friendly but even if it was it still wouldn't be a game that's worth paying almost £30 for. The game lacks that certain quality that makes you want to play and keep coming back for more. Whilst the only thing that's pretty disastrous in the game is the AI of your enemies, the rest feels lacklustre. With better titles available Stolen is going to struggle against its competitors in the genre.

 

Overall Game Rating: 4.5/10

Deaf Gamers Classification

(Click here for full details)

Stolen is a below par stealth experience that's not really deaf gamer friendly.