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Perfect Dark - 360 - Review

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Posted by: Steven Hopper

Review Rating 8.5 Great
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One of the standouts of the Nintendo 64’s late library, Perfect Dark was a great FPS and a taste of bigger things to come for the genre. The game combined awesome multiplayer and a deep single-player campaign to make for one of the premier FPS titles for the Nintendo 64 or any system at the time, even outshining its beloved predecessor, GoldenEye 007, in many ways.

Now, the shooter is getting the Xbox LIVE Arcade treatment, as the original Perfect Dark is hitting Microsoft’s downloadable platform exclusively. The game has received a once-over courtesy of developer 4J Studios and now features a 60 frames-per-second clip, slightly updated textures in both the environments and character models, and several other small tweaks. However, make no mistake, this is still very much the same shooter it has always been, warts and all. While it may not have aged as gracefully as we’d all hoped, it’s still a solid shooter and worth a purchase for nostalgic shooter fans.

Perfect Dark follows Joanna Dark, a secret agent for the Carrington Institute, as she takes on rival corporation dataDyne, an organization that is attempting all manner of sabotage and conspiracy against the Institute. You’ll infiltrate dataDyne through a 17-mission single-player campaign, performing a variety of missions both primary and secondary. The XBLA port doesn’t offer anything in the way of new missions or objectives, instead leaving this campaign just as you remember it.

The controls have been changed a little bit to take advantage of the Xbox 360’s dual-thumbstick controller, handling a little bit more like other FPS shooters. You’ll be able to turn and look with the right thumbstick while the left thumbstick will control movement and strafing. Still, the majority of the controls still feel like the original game. There is a generous auto-aim feature that carried over from the Nintendo 64 version (very generous if you have the game set to easy mode), and a manual aim that you activate by pushing the left trigger. The game feels a little different from what modern day shooter fans are used to, but the learning curve is short. Additionally, there are preset control schemes that you can change to, although there is no way to use just one analog stick, a la the Nintendo 64.

One new feature in the Xbox 360 port is the addition of online multiplayer. The game allows up to eight players to take each other on in a variety of different maps and game modes. While the stuff here is pretty standard at this point, they were fairly revolutionary back in the day (albeit restricted to split-screen multiplayer). That said, they still hold up very well, and the online element of the game is one of its best features.

At 800 Microsoft Points, the game clocks in at a comparable price to Nintendo 64 games on the Wii Virtual Console. However, instead of a straight port, you’re getting an updated game that runs at a silky smooth framerate and benefits from a boost to high-def; more than what you could expect from a Virtual Console title. Additionally, considering that Rare is now owned by Microsoft, the chances of this one making an appearance on VC are slim at best.

While the game is showing its age both aesthetically and gameplay-wise, this is still a solid campaign with a ton of features and a great multiplayer element. At 800 MS Points, this is definitely a great and value-packed way to get in on one of the best shooters of all time.

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