Reviews: Operators Side

In Defense of a Bad Game

Look, obviously it's not a good quality game. The voice recognition software was shoddy (it took my brother and I at least half an hour to get it to recognize "walk" IN THE TUTORIAL), the voice acting was painful (I had the North American version - I don't know how it sounds in Japanese), "conversation" was really "guess the noun/verb", combat could get frustrating (especially that *SPOILER* hotel manager *END SPOILER* boss), there's little replay value - it certainly isn't going to displace Resident Evil. But at the very least I can applaud the developers for trying something new. It wasn't the first PS 2 game to employ voice commands (I know SOCOM has that as well, though there it was optional), but it was the first I've heard of that made it a basis of gameplay.

I suppose this is more a philosophical thing (har har), but at the end of the day humanity won't know what's possible without trying to test the boundaries, and it's not like this is the Large Hadron Collider we're talking about here in terms of risk. Perhaps one day software for voice recognition will develop to the point where it can work, and this might be a foundation for it by learning what works and what doesn't. We just don't know right now.

Plus, I think it's helped me personally in annunciation (I tend to mumble and otherwise not speak clearly) and patience. There's probably more efficient ways to develop such things, but the story kept me immersed through it (and I did find the plot rather engaging and kept me coming back when I got temporarily fed up with the gameplay, though of course Your Mileage May Vary), and I do enjoy puzzles.

Would I recommend it? Of course not - I'd imagine all but the most determined (and/or those with good oratory skills) will not have the patience to put up with the game as it is, and it's just speculation on my part as to whether this will one day spark something bigger. I'm just saying that there might be those of us out there with favorable opinions of it even if it drives us up a wall.

For the record, I did eventually beat it.