Armed and Dangerous Review (Xbox)
by Joshua Griffin
Based on a true story, players take on the role of Roman, a cockney criminal mastermind and leader of a gang of accidental heroes known as the Lionhearts. Armed to the hilt with an arsenal of outrageously powerful firearms, Roman and his crew of Robin Hood wannabes - Jonesy, Q1-11, and Rexus - set out to pull off the ultimate heist and are unwittingly drawn into a rebellion against a tyrant king. In the process the Lionhearts learn some treasures aren't worth stealing and some things are more valuable than gold.
This game is flat out fun.
Take a lot of Brute Force, stir in a dash of Halo, a bit of Serious Sam and recall fond memories of Planet Moon's own Giants and you've got Armed and Dangerous the hot new third-person shooter from LucasArts. The big shooter fan that I am, this game is absolutely entertaining and exciting - not to mention absolutely hilarious. The only pitfall come at the expense of even moderate tact in the humor, riddling an other wise near perfect game with profanity and plenty of sexual references. I'm surprised this game got a "T" rating, to be honest.
My problem is mainly with the story - I loved the action. Humor is not an easy thing to do and games have always been one of the most difficult mediums to pull it off. While much of the humor was genuinely funny - feeding frozen dogs and gardening defense robots was literally laugh out loud funny - some of the subject matter moved from bad to worse. I understand the comedy here is meant to be more dark than normal, think of how the Farrelly Brothers would make a video game and you're pretty much there.
The graphics are sharp and realistic - the high cliff level near the beginning is particularly good and the later levels really shine with serious water effects, fog and rain. The movies in the Xbox version aren't nearly as sharp as the PC counterpart, but overall the graphics are very clear with several visual cues from other familiar big time games. The menus are laid out well - the game loads incredibly fast as well which is great since you have 21+ levels to wade through. Overall the game is sharp - though I wished for a few more dazzling effects from the guns but still a solid presentation.
I read reviews saying that by the end of the game you'll be finishing it for the story and laughs and not for the shooting - and I have to disagree. For me it was all about the action - the story was hit and miss with each cinema. But the gameplay was rock on through the entire game. There's the fun save points at the local pubs on each level, innovative weapons like the JAWS shark gun and the bomb that turns the world literally upside down. Gameplay is where this title shines - what is better than shooting over 20,000 rounds to finish the game?
That having been said, the game was a bit too simple on the easy setting (finish it in one day easily), and way more difficult when you attempt the hard (finish a few levels after countless frustrating restarts). The control feels familiar right out of the box even if simplistic - lots of attention has been paid to other games for inspiration here. The jet pack that has the glide feature is a huge step forward over the simple third-person mode, this really lets you have fun flying around and blasting enemies. Great stuff! One minor note is that the turret/wall levels lacked the same spark as the rest of the game, they just don't compare to sniping people down on the cliff levels or blasting foes in the rain as waves crash into the shore.
For me, this game was all about shooting.
The voice acting has never been better - the accents and loads of dialogue are so funny. The game has tons of cutscenes all beautifully acted. One minor problem though is that as a cut scene ends we move so quickly to the loading screen that is ends very abruptly. Adding a subtle pause in there would hold the momentum of the cut scene long enough to
Overall, I loved this game - it is addicting, easy to learn and fun. If it had just tamed down the sexual humor a bit more and given me more control over my friends I would have been in heaven. And in this day in age, should we not expect System Link for a shooter - maybe even full Live support? Still though, a hilarious and fun shooter, if you can put up with the team shooting a few blanks here and there.
Breakdown+ Hilarious plotline and great cinemas between levels
+ Fantastic innovative weapons and plenty of them
+ Huge, varied and detailed levels
+ Great graphics
- Some of the humor just goes too far over the line
- Looks a bit too much like Brute Force
- Barely any control of teammates
- No System Link or Multiplayer Live support
Score: 85 out of 100