The President elect is under fire! It%26rsquo;s up to the Secret Service %26ndash; basically, you and a load of idiots who get shot all the time %26ndash; to protect him. If the plot seems like it%26rsquo;s courting disaster, especially in the current political climate, the action is playing it decidedly safe, doling out genero-gunplay and genero-terrorists like they%26rsquo;re going out of fashion.
You play as Agent Pierce, a man who shares a name and job with the bald bloke occasionally seen in 24, but is presumably very different, for copyright reasons. You%26rsquo;ll need to take down bad guys, hack computers, disable bombs, and eventually become a rogue agent. Er, just like 24 then. But without that pesky license that would have made it 10% more entertaining. The truth? It%26rsquo;s a reasonably solid experience. Stages may be artificially extended (trekking miles through tunnels to fix the power is a highlight), but the White House environment makes a welcome change from the muddy trenches or space-corridors we typically get to kill people in.
However they%26rsquo;ve painted the backdrop, though, there%26rsquo;s no denying the substandard package underneath. Everything shooters are legally required to include %26ndash; regenerating health, some sort of cover mechanic %26ndash; is in here, but executed clumsily, lacking any of the polish of something like Call of Duty 4.
It%26rsquo;s a surprisingly lengthy title %26ndash; unlike CoD4 %26ndash; but while Infinity Ward%26rsquo;s quick hit left you with a craving for more, Secret Service will leave you praying for the comedown to end. Weapons have a bit of oomph to them, and there%26rsquo;s a wide variety to discover, but there%26rsquo;s little joy in using them on enemies, when all they%26rsquo;ll do is vanish in response. A bit unsporting, considering how gleefully ready the terrorists were to explode in Cauldron%26rsquo;s last shooter, the gory Soldier of Fortune: Payback.
Things may have gone super-quiet for David Braben%26rsquo;s Presidential assassination adventure The Outsider, but this is not a worthy stopgap. Similarly, if you squint a bit, this could almost be 24: The Game. Except there was already one of those, and it was dumpo. Until Braben%26rsquo;s game emerges, it%26rsquo;s better, perhaps, to pop an episode of 24 into the disc tray, scrunch up your eyes, and pretend you%26rsquo;re playing Secret Service. Much more fun.
Jan 6, 2009