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Without Warning review

Disappointing
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AT A GLANCE
  • Cool storytelling method
  • Graphics are actually quite good
  • Occasional minigames are fun
  • Everything reeks of blandness
  • Tries way too hard to be clever
  • Dumb, inhumanly durable enemies

If you literally asked the third-person shooter Without Warning to justify itself, it might rave enthusiastically about its unique storyline, which follows six protagonists over twelve hours of terrorist-foiling shenanigans. It might continue by pointing out that it’s nothing at all like the TV series 24... but that would be a lie.

In practice, the only real difference between this and 24 is that you don’t necessarily play the scenes in chronological order. Time jumps back and forth, just like in the film Pulp Fiction, as you guide the six different characters through a plot which pieces itself together before your eyes. It’s like Tetris with guns. But only in the most abstract, tangential of senses, so really it’s not like Tetris at all. After all, Tetris doesn't have a plot and Without Warning does, even though that plot sucks. Which we guess makes two differences between this and 24.



Here's the synopsis: roughly five thousand (give or take) terrorists who all look nearly identical have taken over a chemical plant. They plan to blow it up unless thwarted by three Special Forces operatives and three slightly less trigger-happy civilians: an ex-cop, an annoying cameraman/journalist and a pepper spray-toting secretary (hello, stealth missions!), none of whom are charismatic enough for you to want them not to get blown up.

But enough about the plot - you don’t watch a game, you play it, right? Unfortunately, Without Warning suffers from appallingly stupid opponents who have no concept of using cover or implementing any tactics other than, "run straight at him!" Furthermore, almost as if trying to compensate, developer CiRCLE (made up largely of Tomb Raider veterans) has dropped in enemies by the ton, made them as durable as Iron Man, and made your targeting erratic.

We do like the bits where you do odd things, like when you play a rhythm-action game to defuse a bomb, but these moments are too rare and often too simple to save the game. The result is that Without Warning plays more like a kind of arcade light-gun shooter with legs, and feels like it needed a better script and about six more months of development time. There’s got to be a "be warned about Without Warning" joke that hasn’t been done already, but screw it: just stay away from this game, OK?

More Info

Release date: Nov 01 2005 - PS2, Xbox (US)
Available Platforms: PS2, Xbox
Genre: Action
Published by: Capcom
Developed by: CiRCLE Studio
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood, Language, Violence

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