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Take cover, take aim, take over...
..this is Namco's tag line for their latest action shooter kill.switch for the XBox and PS2. The question though is what can this game possibly bring to the table that hasn't been recycled a million times over in every other action shooter. Namco is hoping to breed a new type of genre with what they call "blind fire", this allows players to take cover behind almost any object and shoot blindly at enemies. Is this hook enough to penetrate the already overcrowded genre or will it fall slowly into demise at the hands of the gaming public and press. Only time will tell and of course this world exclusive review we have cooked up for you, so sit back and find out just how original kill.switch is.
The premise behind kill.switch is pretty cut and dry, you are an elite military operative sent on a mission to infiltrate several areas and complete certain objectives. Yeah this all sounds vaguely familiar but what sets it apart is that your superiors always suggest that you kill and destroy as much as possible, this isn't a game about preventing war it's all about starting one. What is unique though is the game's play mechanics, this is no run and gun fest by any means. Each level has conveniently placed areas to hide behind which is where you spend most of the game. The left trigger will let you hug the wall and from there dispatch of any enemies in the vicinity. This can be done in one of two ways, you can use the trademark blindfire which basically allows you to shoot without exposing yourself to spraying bullets but alas your accuracy is next to nil, or you can pop up from your concealment and take them out commando style.
There is certainly no lack of violence in kill.switch, along your journey of ass whoopin' you will be able to equip yourself with such classic weaponry as the AK-47, M4 and of course the M249 squad automatic rifle. Enemies leave you plenty of ammo so be sure to empty each clip with a smile on your face. The levels consist of the traditional simplistic geometry with lots of 90 and 180 corners perfect for cover fire. The frame rate is blistering fast which lends itself nicely to the action, no this is not a fast paced game it is more of an intense experience. Not since the glory days of the NES have my palms been this sweaty with excitement, it also doesn't help that some missions are time based. Your foes are also not of the stupid caliber, they will take cover, dodge your bullets and grenades, and slowly work their way towards your position. This makes for some interesting fire fights throughout the game, it gives off a very good sense of "being there".
What can drag down kill.switch though is it's ramping difficulty, one minute you are blaring through a level without thought and the next you are replaying a section over and over simply because you are overwhelmed with enemies. The game also requires you to always use the cover of the level which will definitely frustrate some players who want to dive straight into the action. Going head first into a battle with guns blazing will only get you killed that much faster. Though for those with the patience and dedication to learn something new kill.switch does a nice job of re-inventing the action shooter, there really isn't any other game quite like it.
Overall kill.switch is a great alternative to the overcrowded action genre and truly a step in the right direction. With some minor tweaks and better pacing this game could easily become a new genre all in itself. Superb graphics and dynamic sound round out the great package and make this one to look out for this holiday season. If you are a fan of action games you owe it to yourself to give kill.switch a shot. Definitely recommended for fans starving for some innovation!