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kill.switch Preview

publisher: HIP Games
developer: Bitmap Brothers
genre: Action

PIII 800, 128MB RAM, 16MB Video Card, 900MB HD
ESRB rating: T

release date: Mar 30, 04
» All About kill.switch on ActionTrip

Namco's third-person shooter kill.switch launched on PS2 and Xbox consoles last year in October. In spite of what some gamers may think, kill.switch is not a casual rip-off of games like Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell (or the PSX title, Syphon Fitler). Even though there is a likeness to these games, kill.switch is a straightforward modern-day military action game with its own traits, skillfully tied to a compelling storyline. The console version was okay, and due to largely positive feedback, HIP Games saw a golden opportunity to publish a PC port. Lately, the word around the block is that kill.switch should be out on the PC on March 09, 2004 and will be created by UK-based developer, Bitmap Brothers (a team with a long-standing reputation - actually, they created one of the most popular shooters on the Amiga, entitled Chaos Engine). Reports are also coming in that the developers are planning to release a playable PC demo for kill.switch (possibly in March or April).

As players enter the world of kill.switch, they will step into the shoes of a highly trained military operative, with a specific and rather dangerous agenda. This slippery character is assigned to march deep into hostile territory, taking on enemy forces single-handedly. Many deadly missions await our hero throughout the regions of Caspian Sea, North Korea, and the Middle East. On the surface, the game appears to have nothing more than your usual action-filled one-against-all kind of plot going on. Things are not what they seem though. As players progress, they will find a variety of surprising and riveting set pieces characterized through unexpected twists and turns. The game is intermitted with flashbacks, further revealing details about your character and the predicament he finds himself in. The plot thickens as you move further on, increasing the tension and suspense.

As stated earlier, kill.switch is wrapped in a traditional action game premise with straightforward gameplay. At the beginning of the game, players will be given a specific objective which usually boils down to gunning down as many opponents as humanly possible. During your mission, you can pick up glowing bluish spheres - special items that set off cinematic scenes, which will reveal bits and pieces of the storyline. These segments are delicately set to correspond with the game's relatively quick pacing and should provide an adequate breather from the constant action. As far as new content goes, the development team decided to stick with the same features and levels we've seen in the console versions. So, there basically won't be any additional story segments, bonus areas, new weapons, or similar extras. All in all, the PC version remains true to its PS2 and Xbox counterparts.

Those of you who are partial to having some kick-ass firearms by your side should know that the game includes a satisfying mixture of state-of-the-art weaponry. Each weapon is designed to fit a particular combat situation. As you shoot down baddies along the way, you'll need to consider which weapon is best suited for the situation. For close combat it would be most appropriate to use an M1 12-gauge shotgun or an AK47 (definitely my all-time favorite). Through it all, it's likely you'll have a fair chance of employing every weapon the game has to offer. Naturally, heavier firepower is included, so you will find things like the AKUG Grenade Launcher; perfect for annihilating multiple foes at once. The HK5-SD 9mm was also thrown into the mix; a handy silenced sub-machine, perfect for gamers who prefer a stealthier approach. For ranged attacks, kill.switch lets you wield a lovely MCRT-300 Sniper Rifle. The developers weren't reluctant to fit in a few all-around weapons, such as the aforementioned AK47 and the M4 assault rifle. Both weapons are versatile and good for almost any battle situation. It'll probably interest you that most weapons are equipped with a zooming scope, which will allow you to discern enemies more easily when bullets start flying all over the place.

Heavy equipment and solid firearms won't do you any good unless you figure out a way to compete against the enemy AI. To begin with, all enemies are going to act according to the situation they find themselves in. Enemy troops work in groups to gain tactical advantage, often using flanking and other combat maneuvers. Also, they'll effectively combine accuracy, skills, and tactics, in order to associate with your style of play. This means that the experience will be different for each gamer out there, depending on how the player wades through the combat zone.

Your character has a few neat tricks up his sleeve, while slipping through enemy formations (after all, you are a slick and skillful military operative). Almost any environment can be used to your advantage. Since foes often attack in groups, players have the opportunity to hide behind walls, crates, pillars, etc. Such tactics are likely to be useful on many occasions. One of the most impressive feats we've seen was the character's ability to duck behind obstacles and fire at enemies without looking. Our hero simply stretches his arms above the obstacle and fires a rain of bullets into his adversaries. Such a move ought to be pretty darn useful, especially when you're down on your health and forced to deal with numerous enemies at once.

Character movement will be simple enough for all gamers. Incidentally, everything works in third-person perspective, so all maneuvers shouldn't be hard to pull off. The controls are going to be optimized to work even better than they did in the Xbox and PS2 versions. According to the developers, character movement and aiming will be easier to handle on the keyboard and mouse than on the console gamepads. Still, that's not suggesting that the console controls suck. In fact, it's just the opposite. Many have regarded kill.switch on consoles as a game with one of the best control schemes out there. So, what the developers are doing now is making the whole system intuitive for the PC gaming crowd.

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