Rare Review: Perfect Dark

Diagonal buildings may not seem stable, but they scream “future”.

The spiritual successor to GoldenEye. Without the Bond license, Rare made their own spy thriller, set in the near-future with the kick-ass Joanna Dark. Then on the Xbox 360, the game was improved with better controls, widescreen, HD and nicer graphics that still maintained the feel of the original.

The campaign mode has an interesting story of spy twists, sci-fi tropes and aliens, you will shoot (and sometimes sneak) your way through a bunch of varied levels, completing side objectives as you go (the higher the difficulty, the more objectives you have to complete), some of which requite gadgets such as the CamSpy, a small remote camera.

You’ll start off in a futuristic office building, explore the secret labs beneath, fly on Air Force One to save the president, sneak through a rather stylish Chicago, infiltrate Area 51 and even visit more remote locations. Every area looks fantastic, with a great style throughout.

To help you out on your mission are a vast array of guns, all of which have secondary functions. Some are fairly simple guns, while others are very creative such as the laptop gun which can be deployed as a turret, the farsight which can shoot through walls and a bouncing pinball grenade. They all have unique reload animations that look fantastic (especially some of the alien ones), and overall each weapon has a distinct feel to them.

Accompanying this are more singleplayer featured dotted throughout the Carrington Institute (which you explore from the menus), such as a combat simulator with challenges and a shooting range with different challenges for every weapon. There is a lot to do as a solo player in Perfect Dark.

Multiplayer is also vastly improved over GoldenEye (which was amazing for a last minute addition mainly made by two people), there are a ton of modes, maps and characters to choose from, and the bots in Perfect Dark are still some of the best bots in any multiplayer game. Bots aren’t just an “on” or “off” option, there are a wide array of different bots with different personalities and playstyles, letting you customise your game a lot.

Within the multiplayer are also a ton of challenges where you face off against groups of bots in different scenarios. These can be played with others or on your own, and get very difficult. Other multiplayer modes include co-op campaign and a “counter-op” mode, where player 2 controls random guards to stop player 1 from completing the levels.

Perfect Dark is a phenomenal game, surpassing GoldenEye in every way. The 360 version improves things further, and I feel it would still be a great experience for someone playing today.

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