Conspiracy

A review of the video game Conspiracy I wrote for the website www.square-go.com

Hands up who knew that PlayStation Home was two years old this month. Anyone? No? Well it is and in order to celebrate you can now enter the world of corporate espionage in Conspiracy, a game that you play within PlayStation Home.

And that’s the first and biggest issue; you play the game within PlayStation Home. Now, this shouldn’t be that big an issue as Home comes with every PlayStation 3 out there baked into the console as standard. Well, once you download Home and then make your avatar and then download Conspiracyitself.

The point is that to play this game there are a lot of obstacles and none of them of the fun kind. Which is a bit of a pity as the concept of the whole thing is pretty interesting. You play as someone breaking into buildings to steal secrets and then get back out without dying. There are computers lying around which you access to get snippets of the story and information about the corporations you are either breaking into or working for which you can share with other people playing the game. It sounds a whole heap of fun.

Then you remember that you have to play it in Home and the walls come crashing down. They come crashing down because this game should be like the early Metal Gear Solid or Splinter Cell games. The controls should be all about the sneaking but they aren’t, they are pretty much the same ones you use to navigate around the usual Home environments. Which means, in this game about sneaking, you can’t do any fancy sidesteps or crouching or hiding behind cover or anything like that. This is echoed in the graphics which are pretty much the same as the usual Home environments.

There are obstacles along the way like laser tripewires and cameras that you can only see when you put on goggles. Everytime you trip or walk into them the threat level rises from green, get it into red and there’s trouble. Robots also patrol the corridors which you can shoot in a painfully boring way. As noted before the controls are pretty basic which means you can’t lock onto enemies or strafe around them. You simply point yourself at them and hammer the shoot button until they explode.

The strategy in the game comes when you try to hack into computers to open doors or turn off gun turrets. Here you play a mini game which generally comes down to matching symbols either in a Tetris style game or finding a hidden pair. They look okay but get repettive very quickly. You can get ‘code’ from accessing computers which can help you in the games but, frankly, they aren’t too difficult in the first place and only get harder due to tighter time limits.

It’s just annoying. There’s a germ of a really interesting world and game buried in here somewhere. The problem is it’s smothered by PlayStation Home and it can’t break free of it’s constraining limitations which is a bit of shame. The idea deserves a lot better.

Two stars out of five

Reviewed on PlayStation 3

Originally published on 7th February 2011

 

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