PS2 REVIEW: 24: THE GAME

In an attempt to emulate one of the most popular and intense action drama shows on TV, 24: The Game, the resemblance is only skin deep. by Cole Smith

March 13, 2006 - At the core of the gameplay of 24: The Game is a generic and inconsistent third-person shooter with some stealth, puzzle solving and mini-games thrown in for apparent good measure. Fans of the show may enjoy the novelty of interacting with some of their favorite characters but even they will be hard-pressed to be impressed with this misadventure when all is safe and sound.

On the surface the game looks good, sounds good and has a story that's so engrossing that it could have been an actual episode. Considering that it was written by one of the writers of the TV show, that should be a given. For those that aren't in the know, 24 takes place in real-time, during a 24-hour time period. It typically involves the lead character, played by Kiefer Sutherland, having to break up some terrorist plot by rescuing hostages, diffusing bombs, interrogating suspects, sneaking around, and shooting it out with bad guys. All of which you will do in this game. Knowing that there is a time limit, or "dead"line, adds a great deal of immediacy and stress to the drama. There is plenty of stress in the game but most of it is attributed to poor programming.

In this story you are about to seize a boat that is packed with dangerous weapons, including chemical weapons. The boat is docked in the LA harbor and it obviously requires a degree of finesse when dealing with the terrorists so as not to cause tensions, and ultimately, the boat, to ignite. Jack Bauer (played by Sutherland) is a member of the Los Angeles Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU). He's tough as nails, takes no crap and is always willing to risk his life for the innocent - and ratings - each and every week. In this game, he's actually risking his credibility. The game also features many of the show's main characters including Chase Edmunds and Jack's daughter, Kim, whom you will also get to play as. There are three playable characters in all with different abilities that you will need to exploit during the 100 missions. Some missions require hacking into computers to retrieve information from the hard drive. You will diffuse bombs, break codes, perform stealth missions and run and gun.

Shooting is inconsistent, thanks mostly to the camera angles. Shooting from a distance is relatively easy but as soon as you close in the camera goes wacky. Your peripheral view is diminished as the camera focuses too tightly; and usually not where it should be focused, allowing the enemy to take pot shots at you while you scramble to find your bearings. This is about the only time the enemy AI has the advantage since most of the time they will stand out in the open and offer themselves as targets. I would say that a quarter of the enemy AI actually do act intelligent and take cover but the rest are just brain dead.

You don't have to make many decisions about what weapons to arms yourself with for any particular mission as the CPU will automatically choose the best weapon for the job. For instance, if you're on a stealth mission you will automatically default to the gun with the silencer - or a sniper rifle. When preparing for a big shootout in a warehouse, you will be armed with the biggest and baddest gun in your arsenal inventory. It's not a big selling feature by any stretch but it keeps you from having to access the interface since the s CPU's selection is usually right on the money.

Vehicles in the game are just not fun to drive. The control system is stiff making them even more annoying to drive than GTA 3. They are slow and slippery. There can be up to 10 cars in a chase and it doesn't take long until someone spins out of control creating a chain reaction that looks like something out of demolition derby - or the Keystone Kops. I appreciate the fact that the developers did attempt to add some variety to the gameplay with the vehicles but this just feels like a half-hearted attempt. The mini-games fare a little better where variety is concerned.

The mini-games include computer-hacking, bomb diffusing and interrogation where you monitor the suspect's stress level in response to Jack's tone of questioning. If he's too aggressive the suspect will get stressed and will be uncooperative. At the same time if you're too friendly he won't be intimidated. You have to find the right balance which you can gauge on a meter. It's all about careful timing. Get Jack to be calm, aggressive or normal at the precise time and you'll get a confession out of the bastard. It's a fun diversion and takes some practice to get right. It's too bad not all areas of the gameplay were this challenging.

The cutscenes look great. Almost as good as the TV show. You even get the split screen effect so that you can see what's going on in other areas and where the bad guys are hiding. Bauer looks just like Sutherland and sounds exactly like him - because Sutherland supplied the voiceover. The actual cast did all of the voiceovers for their counterparts and while it lends an air of authenticity to the game, the acting is a little suspect in places. The soundtrack follows the drama perfectly with subdued music during the stealth and sniper missions and adrenaline-inducing music when the action heats up. The in-game graphics can be downright ugly with stiff animation, clipping and some framerate slowdown during the shootouts.

The game will only take you about eight hours to complete and with no multi-player modes or unlockables, there is no actual replay value. If you want to get 24 hours out of it, play it three times.


Features:

  • Over 100 missions, including gun fights, stealth, sniping, driving, satellite tracking, phone tracing, interrogation and more!
  • Three Playable Characters; begin as Jack Bauer and jump to new characters of the show as the plot unveils
  • The authentic 24 experience, featuring past and present 24 cast members, plus the show's signature double-bluffs, multiple plot strands and cliff hangers
  • Like the show, the game present s the story in Multi panel windows explain events that are happening with different characters, simultaneously.

By Cole Smith
CCC Senior Writer

Rating out of 5
24: The Game (PS2)
3.3
Graphics
The cutscenes are great but the in-game graphics suffer terribly.
3.1
Control
The cars and the camera are difficult to control. They can easily cost you a few lives.
4.3
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The original cast supplied the voiceovers. The soundtrack is great and the sound effects are very realistic.
1.5
Play Value
Don't expect much replay value unless you've got a poor memory.
2.8
Overall Rating - Average
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
Preview by Vaughn

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe today announced an exclusive licence deal with Twentieth Century Fox to bring '24' onto PlayStation 2. 24: The Game lets gamers take control and live a 'brand new day' in the life of Jack Bauer and the Los Angeles Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU).

Developed by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe's Cambridge Studio, and in a working partnership with Fox and the TV show's producers, directors, scriptwriters and stars, '24: The Game' is set between seasons two and three and provides the answers to many unanswered questions: Who was really behind the assassination attempt on President Palmer? How did Kim Bauer get a job in the L.A. CTU? How did Jack Bauer and Chase Edmunds first start working together? The game has jaw-dropping revelations for '24' fans and thrilling, non-stop time-pressure gameplay.

Featuring many of the stars from the first three seasons, '24: The Game' showcases the most extensive cast of Hollywood actors ever seen in a game. Their voices, likenesses and characters have been faithfully captured and recreated so players really become Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), Kim Bauer (Elisha Cuthbert), Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard) and other characters from the show.

'

High production values make the whole 24 game experience completely authentic. The game's music has been written by the TV show's award-winning composer Sean Callery, and an all-new script has been penned by 24 show writer Duppy Demetrius in collaboration with the 24 production team.

The game also includes all signature graphical devices and sound effects; uses the unique visual style with cut-scenes produced in conjunction with the series' creator and cinematographer and multi panel windows showing concurrent plot developments as they happen.

Gamers who think they can cope with a brand new day in Jack Bauer's shoes should look no further than '24: The Game' coming exclusively to PlayStation 2 this Autumn.

Features:

24: The Game has multiple character plots and strands and over 100 missions covering multiple genres of game-play including:

  • on-foot sections with shooting, stealth, puzzles and sniping;
  • driving challenges varying from stealthy tailing to high-speed pursuits;
  • interrogations where you have to coerce information out of suspects and
  • gadget sections including decoding information and examining satellite images
System: PS2
Dev: SCEE
Pub: 2K Games
Release: Feb 2006
Players: 1
Review by Cole

Review Rating Legend
1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor
2.5 - 2.9 = Average
3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
3.5 - 3.9 = Good
4.0 - 4.4 = Great
4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
5.0 = The Best