Without Warning Review

PlayStation 2

September 13, 2005 by

Without Warning Image

Attempting to utilize a concept that was recently perfected by the popular television series 24, Without Warning pits you into the role of several characters, each offering their own version of events that eventually combines to form the games storyline. While the concept could potentially set the game apart from the countless other shooters that are currently on the market, the extremely poor execution and complete lack of any further innovation certainly does aid the games original interesting concept.

Whereas reviewing most games involves picking out the small number of problems, Without Warning is the complete opposite. From the beginning level through to the painstakingly boring end, the game suffers from countless problems that prevent Without Warning from being enjoyed in any shape or form. Its certainly a struggle to spend any longer than twenty minutes with the game, let alone playing through the entire game and then produce a full-length review explaining why this game should never make its way into your collection. To this point, Im yet to find a positive aspect of the game that is worth mentioning.

Before I elaborate on the countless thoroughly annoying problems that plague the game, its important to acknowledge the story behind the game the very limited, unimaginative and certainly boring storyline, that is. Without Warning attempts to immerse the gamer into a world of several different identities, all of who are involved with the ruthless capture of a chemical plant by dangerous terrorists. In response to the hostile attack, the government sends in a team of apparent special forces to remove the threat, however, the terrorists manage to wipe the entire team except for three remaining soldiers. These three soldiers are soon accompanied by three civilians, which include a plant security guard, a plant secretary and a news reporter who is caught in the middle of the conflict after his helicopter is shot down. The game then attempts to build the storyline by switching between each of the characters at random points in the game, with each character beginning the game situated in different sections of the plant, and eventually build the storyline until each of the characters paths cross-over.

While the games core storyline basing and the effect of telling the storyline in six different views does have the potential to build a captivating experience, the poor execution in every aspect of the game fails to earn the game any positive comments. The storyline is boring and essentially useless, often requiring you to perform the same repetitive task several times over. Defusing bombs is all well and good when a quick button-tapping mini-game is in place, however, once you are forced to defuse bombs by playing through the same mini-game thirty times results in the entire process quickly becoming boring. Considering that one of the surviving special forces soldiers is an expert in bombs, youll be spending quite a number of missions doing nothing more than killing a terrorist, disarming a bomb, rounding the corner and repeating the same process. Exhilarating fun.

Of course, there are also other characters to play with, each offering slightly altered missions that vary depending on each character. While there are no clearly defined abilities that are limited to each character, the gameplay is slightly altered according the characters background and the weapons that they have access to. The security guard, for example, is equipped with a single pistol, making the dispatchment of enemies a slower and more tedious task than the soldiers who offer automatic weapons. The female secretary, on the other hand, is not equipped with any guns, resulting in her missions involving nothing more than sneaking through offices and evading the terrorists. Apart from the instantly noticeable differences, each character offers little gameplay differences over another, resulting in the identical bland gameplay being evident regardless of which character you are controlling.

Another problem in Without Warning is the games sloppy and frustrating camera. The camera regularly swings around the controlled character in fast, jerky motions that cause you to become completely disorientated, allowing terrorists to pump lead into you as you attempt to regain your bearings. While you are offered limited control of the camera with the right analogue stick, the auto-camera control often takes over and causes complete havoc and total frustration.

Poor sound effects may be acceptable by some, but annoying voice acting cannot be overlooked by anyone. There is not a single character in the entire game that offers even close to acceptable voice acting. While each character does offer a voice of their own, each characters voice does have one thing in common: the level of annoyance that they cause. Characters regularly over-act situations, yelling or speaking in completely inappropriate tones that simply doesnt suit the character or the situation that they are in. The voice acting appears to be performed by an unintelligent homeless person that the development studio found in the local alleyway and offered a burger to speak into a microphone. Then again, the performance of the voice acting is even downgrading to such a person.

Just like the gameplay and sound components of the game, Without Warnings visuals are also unimpressive. The levels are extremely basic and offer strict detail, with some areas feeling recycled from previous locations. The poor level detail is continued over to the games character designs, all of which offer blocky edges, blurry detail and poor animation that is further downgraded with the characters inability to open or move their mouth while talking. Im still yet to meet anyone who can actually talk without opening his or her mouth, however, the development team somehow feels that this is possible.

Simply put, Without Warning fails on every front. It fails to offer an engaging, interesting storyline that keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. It fails to correctly incorporate the views of six different characters and combine them to form an overall storyline. It fails to offer captivating gameplay that is pleasing to be a part of. It fails to offer any form of decency in its voice acting and visuals. Without Warning ultimately feels like a game that spent no more than a week in development, a project that fails in every aspect and is certainly not worth spending any money on, regardless of how cheap you can get it in the bargain box.

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