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24: The Game PlayStation 2

Published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £39.99

24: The Game, an introduction.

Games based on TV shows are becoming big business. CSI, Law & Order, ER and so on, have all had games that attempted to capture the essence of their programs and why not? After all, some TV shows get whopping audiences and if only a small percentage of those audiences picked up a game based on the TV show you would have a game that's hailed as a big success. 24: The Game is the latest TV show to make its way into the gaming world and it's a game that will please fans of the show.

What's the game about?

The chances are that if you're reading this you are a fan of the TV show and it will come as no surprise to you that you'll play as Agent Jack Bauer (of the L.A. Counter Terrorist Unit) and once again L.A. is under attack. The game is set between the second and third TV show seasons and fills in some unanswered questions. The game begins with Bauer and his team at Los Angeles Harbour at 6am. They have to carry out a raid on a ship, that has an illegal shipment of weapons, and prevent the detonation of high quantities of the bio-toxin ricin. It's a tense start for sure and the pace never seems to slow down as you'll encounter numerous hazardous situations during the game. You'll get to control other characters too such as Chase Edmunds, Tony Almeida and Michelle Dessler to name just a few.

What's good about the game?

Penned by 24 TV show writer Duppy Demetrius and designed with co-operation from Fox, the shows producers, directors and scriptwriters, it's no surprise that the game manages to succeed in capturing the show's essence. The story manages to grab you straight from the beginning and doesn’t faff about with unimportant and trivial details, which is always a bonus. Whilst it would certainly be an interesting idea to have the game span out over 24 hours, the game is only around half of that. At key points during missions a timer will appear giving you 6 minutes or so (of real time) to complete an objective which manages to inject suspense into the game. At other times there isn't a time limit which in some ways is a blessing, otherwise you'd be cheesed off having to go back and complete a mission that had taken you too long.

What's not so good about the game?

Ignoring the TV show licence for a moment and taking the game purely on its own merits, you have to say the game is a distinctly mediocre affair. The game has a fair amount of variety in what you're asked to do but none of it is particularly memorable and it's only the flavour of the TV show that gives the game its appeal. There are on-foot shooting sections, driving sequences, interrogations and various other tasks. You'll also encounter some tasks that feel like mini-games (for instance defusing the ricin bomb early in the game). Most of this is actually very basic stuff though. The on-foot sections for instance, simply require you to press the L1 button to lock-on to your enemy and then keep pressing the R1 button to shoot at your enemy until you've taken all of his health away. Taking enemies out from a distance is a breeze, although when they come up close it's really tricky thanks to the camera going a little crazy. Enemy AI is not the greatest either and they'll make themselves easy targets for most of the time. The driving sections again feel basic (the vehicles don't handle that great) and the frame rate suffers a little here too. The various mini-games you'll come across aren't really that engaging and don't really pose a challenge.

How does it look?

The graphics in 24: The Game aren't the finest you'll ever see on the PlayStation 2 but they are more than acceptable and fans of 24 will be satisfied with the key character likenesses. Full marks have to go to the developers for the game's presentation however, as it's very slick and mimics the TV show to good effect. The game is played from the third person and most of the time camera angles are not a problem. When enemies come in close proximity to your character though, it's quite a different story and you'll find yourself attempting to avoid these close encounters.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Fans of 24 will be pleased to learn that the game is actually quite good in catering for deaf gamers. Subtitles can be enabled (you'll find the option to enable them in the language options menu). Most of the speech in the game is subtitled. The few bits of speech that aren't subtitled aren't important (it's usually from nearby enemies that are easily dealt with when they come into sight). Objectives are shown in text and you're notified in text when objectives have been completed and when new objectives are issued. Yellow pointers on your mini-map will show you the location of your objectives too. As we said earlier, some parts of the game have time restrictions and an on screen counter will let you know exactly how much time you have left. It would have been better if the game's subtitles had been colour coded but overall the game is adequately deaf gamer friendly.

Final thoughts.

Your opinion of 24: The Game will really be shaped by your opinion of the TV show. Fans of the show will forgive the simplicity and unsatisfactory nature of most of the game's elements and will be impressed by its presentation and plot. If you're reading this and are a fan of the TV show then feel free to pad the score at the bottom of this review by a couple of marks. However, if you are just looking for a good action game then 24: The Game may not be for you. In fact the whole game is mediocre if you take it on how it compares to other action games. Even those who don't watch the TV show though will have to admit the style of the game is refreshing and the plot is better than we are used to in most action games these days.

Overall Game Rating: 6.5/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

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As an interactive version of the hugely popular TV show 24: The Game definitely succeeds. As a game though it's a distinctly average affair.