Area 51 Review (PS2)

FPS games are coming out almost every other day. With this many, it's hard for one to really shine since most are just long and forgotten in the midst of the marketing madness franchises such as Halo, Doom, or Quake. However, Area 51 seems to be more popular then others coming out. The game still doesn't hold up well as a FPS that your just dieing to spend your hard earned cash for.

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Following the same name as the older light-gun Area 51 arcade game, Midway change the game a lot by adding a story to the game. The story of a Hazmat operative named Ethan Cole, sent down to help out at Area 51. With his team by his side, he plans to do a routine mission, get in and get out. However, things go seriously wrong. Now the team must go and find out what is going on and what is causing it. Now that they are there, turning back is not an option, they must continue on. How long can Cole and his team survive a mass alien race?

The gameplay in Area 51 follows the same formulas that have been tried and tested in the past. Best said, it's a FPS with great eye-candy and a interesting story. Sadly, it really doesn't get much further then that. The gameplay mechanics should be nothing new to old school FPS players. For people new to the genre they will pleased to know that the game takes advantage of all the things that make FPS games one of the most loved genres. You still get the old feel of, you have a mission and 3 or 4 things will be in your way at getting from point A to point B. So you must kill these things that get in your way and find ways around blockages. Luckily, the enemies can give you a good run for your money. The AI in the game is above average, most of the time they know what you are going to try to do. One thing the game does do is let you "mutate" which will give you a few new abilities then human. It's really good to have when you are low on health and there's none around. You can mutate and proceed to throw parasites that will infect the enemies and give you health. Its not the first time this has been done, but its nice to see it in this game because it fits well with the story. Area 51 just doesn't bring anything to the genre. It reminds me of Doom 3, when I first played it maybe the first few hours it was awesome and great. Then you start to notice that you're basically doing the exact same things over and over and these cause some serious repetition. The story is great, but that can only carry the game so far. About mid-ways into the game you may not think about the story because they start giving you less and less of it until the end.

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As soon as you start the game, you will notice that the graphics are great. They really put some time into these places and all the objects that are just around as you are walking through. All the models of the characters are great and move appropriately to their actions. One thing that stood out to me was the amazing amount of detail that was put into the explosions. You can see bits and pieces of fire and debris that gets thrown by the blast. Also the alien areas toward the end are just awesome looking. It may not seem like much but when you see it in a battle fire fight it really puts you in the action and makes you feel all the action going on around you. I was really shocked that the graphic quality would be this good and I am sure that it did help the game just like graphics helped Doom 3.

The sounds in the game are good but nothing really astounding. At times in the game you are in a fire fight and this really nice fighting style music comes on that really gets you pumped while you're shooting away mobs of these alien pests. Other then that, the sounds are anything that you would expect from the moans and groans of the enemies and to the explosions and gun shots. The best about the sounds are the voice-overs and demon style sounds that come from these already dead enemies. They really come to life and seem to fit the characters very well. Sometimes it's even scary, giving you a respective feeling as the next level comes up.

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Overall, this game is great for those who just want a good game to play. If you're a big fan of FPS this isn't anything you haven't already seen. I had a great time with the game and I would consider it a rental since its not very long, 15 hours at the most. Its graphics and presentation are appealing, along with its story.

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