24: The Game Review

PlayStation 2

February 27, 2006 by

24: The Game Image

It’s the perfect idea: create a game based on a popular television series and sign on the cast, scriptwriters, directors and producers from the show to help make it. One would think that the end result would be a high-quality, action packed game that stuck true to its popular television series roots. However, as many gamers have now come to know, this encouraging prospect is often never fulfilled, with a half-hearted and disappointing attempt often forming the end result.

24: The Game is equipped with almost everything a fan could want; the famous voices from the show, a compelling storyline that constantly twists, turns and evolves as each passing minute goes by and the classic multiple-camera-view that has become somewhat of a trademark for the series. While the game does offer all of the above, there is just one key ingredient that it is severely lacking: solid gameplay.

24: The Game opens with the player taking control of Jack Bauer, an agent for the Los Angeles Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU). You’re preparing to invade an anchored ship, which has had its entire crew held at gunpoint and is suspected of carrying material that can be used to make nuclear weapons. In classic 24 fashion, this is only the start of a long day for the CTU crew, as a series of kidnappings, invasions, car chases, interrogations and trudging through various drug and bad-guy ridden locations soon follow over the next 24 hours. Of course, this is just another regular day for the CTU crew.

Most of the game’s storyline is told through the regular cinematics, which are constructed with a level of quality and style that is present in the television series. Character models during these cinematics are not outstanding, but they do offer a pleasing level of quality that sees some great facial animation and accurate lip-synching. While the core of the game’s storyline is presented through the between-mission cinematics, small parts are found and pieced together with items and conversations that occur in-game. The game’s story is definitely one of the positive aspect of the game, as it sticks true to the same style used in the television series and it keeps you engaged from start to finish, as the non-stopping action never ceases. It also manages to fill in some of the storyline holes that were formed in-between each of the series on TV, making the game more of an enticing option for 24 fans.

Unfortunately, not everything shines in 24: The Game. One of the immediately noticeable issues is the camera system, which fails to succeed in anything it sets out to do. It jumps, dives, skips and gets stuck in the most pointless, frustrating and purely annoying ways. Whenever you are trying to focus on a specific enemy to shoot, you’re almost guaranteed that it will focus in a completely different direction. Even worst, it occasionally gets caught looking towards the sky or ground, which not only becomes disorientating but also offers enemies a cheap chance at pumping you full of lead. I’ve lost count at how many times I was killed due to the camera issues that the game suffers from, which detracts from the experience heavily.

The gameplay itself also suffers from some minor problems. Outside of the camera issues, it can occasionally grow stale. You’ll find yourself running through endless corridors shooting enemies, which can be as simple as tapping the left should button to target the enemy and then the right to fire your weapon, that is, as long as the camera doesn’t begin kicking in with its various problems. Considering that 24: The Game is presented in a third person view, the targeting system is both a crucial and welcomed addition. However, the system that has been put into place suffers from its fair share of problems. It often fails to target correctly, leaving you to fiddle with the right analogue stick as you attempt to gain a lock-on. This, of course, offers enemies a good chance to get in a few shots, which further adds to the level of frustration that the camera originally causes.

While the repetitive nature of the on-foot gunning missions can grow slightly repetitive, the developers have attempted to inject some variation into these missions and it clearly shows. At times, you’ll find yourself fighting alongside fellow CTU members, with the various different environments seeing you busting your way through drug dealers’ apartments or carefully making your way through a civilian-filled subway station. These on-foot missions aren’t bad, especially when compared to the occasional driving missions that are thrown at you. Here, you are tasked with either reaching a specific location within the allocated time, or reaching a location whilst evading fellow road users who are trying to stop your progress by repeatedly smashing into your vehicle. These driving missions are not enjoyable in any shape or form, providing little more than pure annoyance and frustration as your slow-moving vehicle attempts to evade large, faster moving cars and trucks that are repeatedly smashing into your vehicle.

24: The Game boasts over 100 missions to play through, each varying in length. While you are faced with the occasional 20-30 minute long mission, a large majority of the missions last anywhere from 2-10 minutes in length, which is then followed by a story-driven cinematic.

While it does shine in some areas, it also fails miserably in others. 24: The Game ultimately wraps up to be a mediocre experience, one that is plagued with countless camera, control and gameplay issues that lower the experience and enjoyment that can be earned. Fans of the television series will no doubt enjoy the game more so than a non-fan due to the interesting story revelations that are revealed, however, even the biggest fan cannot turn a blind eye to the countless flaws that the game suffers from.

Rating: 6.0/10

Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.