The Mark ReviewCain Dornan
Youve probably never heard of The Mark. Hell, we hadnt either, until we received a rather curious press release that marked the games only form of promotion. Chances are, the only reason why youre reading this review is due to seeing the game at a local retail outlet, hidden away in the shadows amongst various other long forgotten PC releases. The cool boxshot undoubtedly grabbed your attention, sporting a very dangerous and serious looking soldier ready to fire at any moment. Then you flip it over to the back, where youre greeted with a bunch of text overhyping the experience offered within that is backed with some fairly impressive looking screenshots.
Since youve never heard of the game, youve probably already thrown it back down onto the shelf and marked it as a no hoper title, one that is sure to be awful in quality when compared to todays blockbuster releases.
If youre reading this review in the hope of learning anything remotely good about The Mark, stop reading now. Theres nothing that warrants the purchase of the game, no matter for how cheap you can get it. Hell, its not even worth wasting the time installing it on your computer.
Im sorry, its a little harsh, I know. But the truth is there really isnt any space in todays market for games like this. It offers no sense of innovation, creativity or uniqueness. It doesnt implement any nifty gameplay ideas or offer breathtaking visuals. Theres a complete absence of any form of storyline, giving little reason to play through the horribly bland experience. It essentially lacks everything that makes a good game, instead opting to throw in everything that makes them plain boring. It tries to be accurate, serious. But it just trips and falls on its clown feet in trying to do so. Youre left laughing at the horrible state and wonder how the developer could have possibly thought that anyone would purchase it, let alone enjoy it.
But before continuing to moan about the huge list of problems that the game suffers from, lets talk about the games storyline. Which, as you may have guessed, really lacks any sense of creativity, uniqueness or hold any worth. You see, you choose to take on the role of either US Marine Steve Fletcher or ex-British SAS officer, Austin Hawke. The story and gameplay sequences change little between the two players, so it really comes down to whose weapons are more favourable. Steve prefers to carry the typical American automatic rifle, while Austin prefers a more close-quarter tactical approach with the shotgun.
The story features everyones favourite current-day topic, terrorism, which sees another crazed terrorist organization getting their hands on a nuclear-tipped missile, which they plan to land in the middle of London. To help launch their attack, theyve managed to persuade a Russion billionaire to donate a ship in which they can launch the missile from. Only one man, the aforementioned Mr. Fletcher, is capable of stopping the missile launch, for whatever reason, leading the terrorists on a full-on strike to rid of the threat that the US Marine poses. Hawke is subsequently hired to protect Fletcher, leading the two gun-totting vigilantes through terrorist-filled locations as they fight to survive and stop London from becoming a nuclear wasteland.
Sounds somewhat epic, doesnt it? Unfortunately, its anything but. The story isnt interesting, the gameplay is far from exciting and seriously lacks in variation from start to finish. This ultimately restricts a players interest in the game, as there is little reason or incentive for plowing through the substandard gameplay. The characters are lifeless; the story offers no real interesting progression. Youll never really care what happens in the end, as youll never feel compelled to play through the entire game.
The games presentation is, to put it simply, horrible. Its graphical flair is equal to those found in the late 90s, and the voice acting is so shockingly bad that it becomes painful to listen. Theres no emotion, no personality behind the voices; no reason to believe what is being said. The music is also equally bad, with its outdated repetitive nature that quickly becomes annoying and results in heading to the options screen to select the mute option. Character models and environmental detail severely lacks detail, with animation so bad that youll laugh. It raises the question as to whether there actually was an art department behind the game, or just a bunch of high school novices working on a quick afternoon mess-around.
The review may sound a little harsh at times, but given the extremely low quality of gaming on offer, its well deserved. There are hundreds of quality games being released onto the market every week: theres absolutely no need for such low quality imitations like The Mark to infest retail shelves. It lacks originality, creativity and imagination. The development budget must have been non-existent, as the graphical detail, animation, voice acting and buggy gameplay is severely outdated and of a painstakingly low quality. Avoid at all costs; this game is not only a waste of money, but also a waste of time.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.