A stunning action-shooter with one of the coolest background stories ever to the playstation.
Super-well made graphics that really catch the feeling and that drive the storyline onwards. The helicopter-thingy (Havoc) is seen from a third-person perspective but can be changed to better suit the purpose. If you are about to engage in strafing ground units or bombing buildings you can change to top-view for a better perspective. If you are shadowing someone and need to maintain your distance and need to maneuver with precision you can use the first-person simulator perspective to your advantage. The game is relatively free, and you can roam freely from ground level to the top of the domes, the "ceilings" which look like a red octagon fence. Buildings DO have a tendency to look the same but after a few missions you can start to tell different areas and domes apart. The linear approaching missions invariably take place during night, to make some sense of the limited range of vision and pop-ups due to the Play-station's limited hardware. It's a nice save. It enhances the sense of a game that is as far away from a cozy, mainstream, good-natured and happy game as it gets. The intro and the cut-scenes in general in between missions are the best-looking ones ever made on the Play-station. The briefing screens and the menus all look great and Psygnosis has even developed their own text-font for the game. There are quite a few vehicles to encounter during the missions. The thing that amazes me the most about this game's visuals is how the atmosphere and story is perfectly embedded in the layout and general design of the game.
The controls are very advanced and, to be honest, a bit clumsy. The game is also way too difficult for casual gaming. This is not just a game you pick up and have a go at. Fortunately there are several tutorial missions that teach you the basics. The Havoc feels clumsy and slow at times which makes dog-fights very frustrating. Without the good story and the beautiful visuals to go with it, it wouldn't be much of a game but as it stands now, you feel compelled to press on. It's fun once you forgive the controls and difficulty though, and in the booklet of the European version the codes for all missions except the last five are included, should you really get stuck. Like all difficult games, there is a sense of satisfaction once you finish it though. The relative freedom of movement inside the domes adds to the game-play, as does the option to change the view.
The music, which is dark, doom-laden and militant, adds to the sense of being on Callisto, fighting corruption and whatnot. The sound effects during game play are all well made and there are quite a few different sounds like different weapon-fire, explosions, vehicle sounds, com-radio voices, radio scratching, bumping-into-buildings and general sounds. They are all well made and together with the music and the perfect voice-acting send your mind to Callisto.
There are the training missions and 35 "real" missions to carry out. In each mission there are several objectives that need to be completed. Usually one or two primary objectives that NEED to be completed and several secondary missions that don't need to be completed to advance to the next level, but that add points and ranking. If you are really die-hard, you can re-play the missions and try to get all the secondary objectives completed. It's almost impossible though. If you oversee the flaws of the game you'll be hooked throughout the game and maybe play through the cool missions again.
A stunning action-shooter with one of the coolest background stories ever to the playstation. Also one of the best looking games on the little grey box of awesomeness. Annoying gameplay at times and a very high difficulty make this game not suit everybody.