You are John Cord, an MI6 Secret Service agent who has been sent to Vologia, USSR, at the request of CIA, to help track down a missing agent. Captured by Nagarov forces, you are alone in a hostile country. You must escape, infiltrate, sneak and shoot your way through increasingly dangerous locations. Find out who betrayed you and get closer to the ruthless mastermind behind the plan to trigger a nuclear holocaust!
Enter the world of espionage and conspiracy in which intelligence and self control will be your only way out. Stealth or brute force... The choice is yours!
Age requirements: ESRB Rating: MATURE with Violence, Blood. PEGI Rating: 16+ with Violence.
Minimum system requirements: Windows XP or Windows Vista, 1 GHz Processor (1.4 GHz recommended), 512MB RAM (1 GB recommended), 3D graphics card compatible with DirectX 7 (compatible with DirectX 9 recommended), Mouse, Keyboard.
Posted on 2009-02-04 22:55:32 by Aliasalpha:
It is a time of civil war. Rebel spaceships striking from a hidden base… No wait, that’s Star Wars, sorry.
International tensions between America and China are very high, the new cold war is threatening to become substantially hotter and the former soviet republic of Volgia has made a discovery with the potential to change the future of the world. The American CIA sentread more an agent to Volgia to investigate but he promptly vanished.
Enter MI6 agent John Cord, sent into Volgia to locate the missing CIA agent and investigate the situation, he is captured and tortured into revealing the details of his mission. These interrogation flashbacks form the core of the game and it’s not until towards the end of the game that you actually begin playing “now” rather than “then”.
In Cold Blood is a hybrid action and adventure game which actually manages not to mess up either the action or adventure parts. Unlike many genre-hybrid games, the 2 elements don’t feel like 2 separate mini-games clumsily yet enthusiastically stapled together (I’m looking at you KOTOR! Swoop racing indeed…), the action and adventure elements are near seamless, the stealth and gunplay become 2 more tools to get the job done.
Indeed the options for sneaking, talking or shooting through a situation are fairly broad, many puzzles have alternate solutions and you can approach the game as an action player or as an RPG player and still have a pretty good feel for it quickly. Despite the options you do get, there’s times when you have to fight, sneak or talk so getting good at each is essential
One of the major departures from the normal adventure game is the lack of handholding, it’s not only possible that you’ll die, it’s nearly inevitable. The game is rather unforgiving about walking out in front of armed guards in a location you’re not supposed to be in. The death also links nicely to the interrogation flashback setup, when you die, Cord realises he made a mistake in relating the story and you get prompted to reload. It’s not a big deal and if you die 20 times on the same section it can get bloody annoying but it’s generally a nice touch.
A firefight between one man with a pistol and 45 rounds versus a trio of men armed with the infamous ‘AK47 of infinite ammunition +1’ is going to be a short firefight indeed. What can you do to minimise this? Well perhaps crouching in darkness and watching them patrol, waiting till one guy is out of the room, another looking towards the door and the last standing near your hiding place but facing away. Quickly sneaking up behind the nearest man, you crack him in the back of the skull, you then run down the corridor, draw your gun just as his colleague turns and shoot him twice in the head then lie in wait to give the same service to the man outside the room as he runs in to see what the commotion was about.
Sadly the controls make such dynamic action a bit harder than it really should be, moves take longer to execute than you expect and things such as running can get a little confusing when your character is deep into the screen and hard to spot obstacles stop you in your tracks but that’s rare enough to forgive. One of the better things about the controls is the ability to remap every button (which was a bit of a rarity) and the option to make movement character relative or screen relative. The difference being that in character relative, pressing the up arrow would walk the character whatever direction he was facing whilst in screen relative, it would always move him towards the top of the screen. The game also supports joysticks and gamepads if that is a preferred input method, as it was also released for Playstation, it kind of feels right to play it with a gamepad.
Probably the best description of the controls would be clunky but not unusable, for the adventure parts you’ll occasionally miss the trusty old point & click system (Unless you’ve mastered Broken Sword 3, Monkey Island 4 or Grim Fandango) and for the action parts you’ll miss the 3rd person shooter fluidity.
Generally the game has a very serious tone, moreso than the Broken Sword games but there’s plenty of amusing little moments, Cord bluffing his way though talk about a soccer game, being threatened with violence by an accountant, the changing reactions of people when they have a gun in their face and there’s also a less than subtle reference to Broken Sword when you’re trying to get to the roof of the Pentagrad that made me laugh.
The sound in this game is really one of the best features. The acting, particularly that of John Cord and his controller, Alpha is very good, the incidental effects are really atmospheric and the music quite good. There’s the odd dodgy accent but that’s part of the charm really and considering that Volgia is a fictional country, you can’t really nit-pick.
The character voices are definitely a highlight, Cord has just that perfect blend of cynicism and British stiff-upper-lippedness, Alpha has a good upper class English voice in the vein of Judi Dench or Honor Blackman (I thought it was Blackman for a few minutes), Nagarov sounds delightfully sinister and Kostov sounds like a sleazy bastard which is just perfect for him.
Like almost every other game I’ve ever played, this suffers from music downout syndrome. The default volume of the music is far too loud and has a tendency to overwhelm the dialogue. Thankfully the game comes with sliders for the music volume so you can change it but it’s a bit puzzling that a largely dialogue driven game has this problem.
Ahh this is where the game is really showing its age, it was made in the era where 3D was still a bit experimental, especially so for a traditionally 2D genre. As such, the facial textures, especially when walking, tend to get a bit messed up and that can be a bit disconcerting. Hopefully if you’re reading this review, you’re the kind of gamer mature enough to forgive a few flaws in favour of a great game. The majority of the game’s items and characters are quite well realised and interesting to look at. The character movement in both the game and in the cutscenes tends to be somewhat robotic but again this was pretty standard back then.
The highlight graphics wise are the background graphics which are extremely well done, giving a good feel of heavy industrial, cavernous subterranean and modern office locations. Each place feels unique and the set pieces are really well defined. As a nerd, I really want to be let lose in the Pentagrad computer room or allowed to play with that particle accelerator at the mine, firing a few test bolts and one pin & cable through it wasn’t enough for me.
In conclusion, In Cold Blood is an outstanding adventure game with excellent characters, sprinklings of humour, a solid espionage story and pretty damn good gameplay, it’s also $6, don’t be a cheapskate! The only thing stopping In Cold Blood being the best James Bond game ever made is the fact that Revolution didn’t have the licence.
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Posted on 2009-03-31 16:33:48 by laffer:
I had no idea what to expect when I got this game, judging from the most recent reviews here I thought it might be seriously flawed.
However, I was very pleasantly surprised to find that it's actually a very good game.
It's very long, has an interesting 'James Bond'ish storyline, nice atmosphere and very nice background graphics. And the locations are extremely varied, tons ofread more nice backdrops.
The only problem I had with it is the controls, but they're not much worse than the Resident Evil controls (the games play in a similar way).
The puzzles are generally very easy, but it's not really an adventure game, so I didn't mind that too much.
All in all, great game!
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Posted on 2009-02-13 23:09:36 by Blackthorn:
As I said in my BS3 comments, I normally do not play adventure games but I had so much fun with BS3 that I decided to give ICB a shot. A few frustrations here and there were outweighed by the story and quality voice acting. Very enjoyable and well worth the price.
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