PS2 REVIEW: MICHIGAN: REPORT FROM HELL (UK)

Unlike Hollywood, game developers have been increasingly smart in thinking new ways to 'spice' things up. Examples: Fatal Frame didn't use any 'real' action, it was just you and your camera and Katamari Damacy had you rolling up random things. And now, a new game lets you play as a camera man. Sounds exciting, huh?

Michigan: Report From Hell takes place in the windy city a.k.a Chicago. For some reason Chicago has been completely covered in fog. Why is there so much fog? That's where you and your crew come in. You are a part of the Zaka TV crew (which include, Jean Phillipe Brisco, Ann Anderson and Pamela Martel) and your job is to record everything that's going on and to get 'scoops' for suspense and eroticism. Why would they feature eroticism? Looking at other games, sex sells, even if the game sucks. So, you can guess where I'm going with this. So your just a normal guy with a camera that gets to record some women it tight pants and short skirts while trying to evade a bunch of crazy creatures. Every mans dream, right? Probably not.

The controls are fairly easy to use due to the fact that a camera man can't really do anything. You'll mostly be using the controls to look around for 'scoops'. You will zoom in and out of certain areas of rooms or people. And when I say people, I mean the girls. So, for example, when the camera is on one of the girls or another person or thing, a little green dot appears over a certain area of them. If you find something, a little yellow dot appears and if you're 'in action', a red dot appears over certain things. Once you find something, you press X which then either opens a door, starts the dialogue, or finds out what is on a table or on the floor. Also, every now and again, you'll have to ram into something, whether if it's used for saving one of the girls or if it's just used to ram into one of the girls for no reason (which I found extremely funny and was one of the high points in playing the game, at least for me). Ramming into things is about the most exciting thing you'll get to do. There are parts where one of the girls will have to shot at the monsters and you will have to point them in which direction to shoot. Why not just give the cameraman the gun?

Even though, this game was clearly meant to be scary, the voice acting made me think otherwise. For example, during the beginning of the game, Jean Phillipe gets drunk and the voice acting for that was just horrible. There would be awkwardly long pauses when he would be talking and even when he would talk, it just didn't give me the impression that he was drunk. Another example of the bad voice acting is, like I mentioned before, if you ram into one of the girls, they say something like,"Stop being a jerk!" It just sounds so generic. They probably should have invested more money or time into the voice acting.

The only thing that I thought was good in the game was that it looked pretty good. I was actually expecting something like Grand Theft Auto, with the weird looking characters and oddly shaped items. The facial expressions that the characters had were fairly decent and the 'monsters' in the game looked average as well. Although, there was one flaw which was the whole physics thing. The way the monsters crawled and the way the people would fall and move just look weird at times. The only thing that looked great was, of course, the cut scenes. But nowadays, every cut scene looks good, so they don't matter as much as the game play graphics do. They weren't the best graphics, but they got the job done.

Remember playing Resident Evil? I remember that I would only play it in the daytime because that's how scary it was. Although the graphics are bad, playing it now, it's still scary at times. And if a game from 9 years ago can still give me a good scare and a game from present days can't, well then, that's just inexcusable. So if you want a good ol' fashioned scare, then I recommend that you dig up your copy of Resident Evil and play that instead.

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System: Xbox, PS2, PC
Dev: Grasshopper
Pub: Spike
Release: Nov 2005
Players: 1
Review by Luis
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
2.0
GRAPHICS
3.0
CONTROL
3.5
MUSIC/FX
2.0
VALUE
2.0