Save Your Fifteen Dollars, Not Earth
Why is it that Earth just can’t ever seem to catch a break? It seems like every time there is a video game made about first contact with aliens it involves them invading and attempting to take over. Are we that arrogant as a species to think that aliens from all over the vast expanses of the universe are watching view screens of our planet, wringing their hands (or whatever their equivalent is) together, and hatching plans about how best to take over our out of the way, and likely inconsequential, blue spec? As clichéd as it may be, that is the driving story behind 0 Day: Attack on Earth. Aliens have begun attacking large cities all over the world, and the only ones who can stop it are you and your small crew of fighters.
If only some good gameplay helped to make up for this overused story, but alas, not in 0 Day: Attack on Earth. This game uses basic right stick shooter controls, having you move about with the left analog stick and firing your main weapons with the right one. Players are also given a secondary weapon, which is a bomb that damages enemies in a fairly sizeable radius around their ship, but these are extremely limited. You’re only given three of these with every new life and with no way to earn more without simply dying, you’ll need to be very judicious with their uses.
I know that stuff sounds pretty standard, and admittedly it is, but seemingly just about everything else in the game feels like it is going out of its way to ruin any fun you might have otherwise been able to derive from this shooter. Starting off with the game’s perspective and camera, 0 Day is played from a ¾ three-quarter view. Because of this choice, it is very easy to lose your ship behind clouds, groups of enemies, and larger enemies when trying to outmaneuver foes and projectiles. As a result, you are given direct control over the game’s camera with the ability to spin it right or left using the right and left triggers. Besides the fact that this can get rather nauseating during a firefight, it is also painfully slow. Since it takes so long to get the camera into a useable position, more times than not, by the time you get it where you wanted it, you’ll need to start spinning it to help with your next target.
Having to constantly fight with the camera is only further aggravated by the fact that every level has a time limit. Each mission gives you five minutes in which to complete your objective, or else you’ll have to start the level again from the beginning. While five minutes can be more than enough time for some of the missions you’ll find in 0 Day, there are many where it seems almost completely unrealistic. However, no matter whether you’re playing a longer or shorter mission, it feels as though the game is just trying to push you through the experience as fast as possible. Unfortunately, this has as much to do with the actual design of the missions themselves as it does with the constantly ticking clock.
Every mission in 0 Day is set up in the exact same way. Players will start off with various orange spots on the map, with orange arrows pointing the way towards these destinations. These orange spots denote the locations of massive enemies, which all need to be destroyed in order to move on to the next level. The maps that these levels take place on are quite large and full of various enemies that present different challenges and rewards for destroying in the form of green and yellow power up orbs. Sadly, due to needing to destroy all of the large boss characters within the five minute time limit to be able to move on, these missions turn into just flying straight to these orange spots and hoping that you can manage to wipe them all out in time. This gets worse in levels where you’ll be required to take out upwards of six or seven of these bosses, especially when it can take around a minute to kill each one, and that’s if you manage to not die while doing so.
Another thing that further makes these other issues even more asinine is the game’s complete lack of competent A.I. When playing by yourself it is common to see your A.I. teammates, three in all, flying straight into hazards, other ships, and barrier walls. They also do an absolutely awful job of helping you take out any enemies, since they are more likely to fly straight into a poisonous death cloud than actually take a shot at any of your foes.
However, the best example of your teammates’ worthlessness comes in the form of a small, spherical orange foe. When these enemies find you and get close enough, they’ll attach themselves to your ship, making it impossible for you to fire or break free by yourself. As your life continues to dwindle due to this enemy, you are completely reliant on the rest of your squad to save you. All I can say is don’t hold your breath. Your A.I. teammates are more than happy to just let you die, not even attempting to take a stray shot at this parasitic enemy. This is truly frustrating when you are on your last life and your final target has only a few shots worth of health left in them (and at any other point in the game, honestly).
Things work slightly better when playing with friends online. At least you can call out for help when paralyzed by the spherical orange enemies and actually expect to get some aid. Of course, good luck convincing your friends to pay fifteen dollars (1200 Microsoft Points) for a severely flawed game that only lasts about four hours (if you’re lucky). After all, this game’s infuriating to play by oneself, and it doesn’t have an extremely strong online component.
Besides the online co-op, your only other options are for eight player competitive matches of capture the flag and control the points. There are already plenty better shooters available on XBLA, most of which are cheaper than this one, that are way more deserving of your time and money.
Unless you like constantly fighting with a sluggish camera, brain dead A.I. that refuses to do anything but fly straight to their deaths, or are just really into realistic looking aerial photographs of cities (which is about the one thing this game got completely right), then I’d suggest saving your fifteen dollars for a better title.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.9 Graphics
Truly the best part of 0 Day. The environments look good thanks to the very detailed depictions of New York, Paris, and Tokyo, and the various enemies you encounter are also rather unique and interesting-looking. 2.8 Control
Handling your ship is easy and accurate, but the sluggish and unwieldy camera constantly mucks things up. 2.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Nothing really good or bad worth noting; truly average. 1.6 Play Value
Almost unplayable by oneself and difficult to find others to play with online. 0 Day is a really short game that you’ll likely not come anywhere close to getting fifteen dollars worth of enjoyment out of. 1.9 Overall Rating – Avoid
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.