Stick with me and I can make you like Perfect Dark Zero. I have a system. You too will believe that Xbox 360's launch FPS isn't the hot mess it's often derided as, but a 9/10 gem. Or 8/10 at least. Let's say 7.
Look, Perfect Dark Zero was doomed from day one. Expectations in 2005 were off the scale. It had to carry a new console, leap a launch bar set gallingly high by Xbox mega-launch Halo, cement Rare's god-tier reputation, and live up to its Nintendo 64 dad (and, by extension, spiritual granddad GoldenEye 007). Joanna Dark was the cover star on an issue of FHM, for Pete's sake.
In 2015, you can play it objectively. But you have to play it right, by using my system. Which is called, er, 'Perfect Dark Zero'. Perfect: because that's the difficulty level to play it on. It's no wonder the default Agent mode upset everyone - it literally paints your level path on the floor. In Perfect Agent, levels are transformed: routes open up, new objectives are added, Joanna is as fragile as someone blithely trotting about in a tank top should be, and brain-dead blasting is replaced by stealth, planning and patience.
Dark: Because you have to get mad, channeling the dark misery that comes from dealing with the truly atrocious AI. Head-on, guards happily eat bullets like they're Rice Krispies, or dance like jerks to dodge your fire altogether. But as you hang back to scope out patrol routes, master the cover system (pre-Gears of War!), and carefully headshot one daydreaming goon after another, your rage breeds sweet revenge.
Zero: because that's how many levels to leave uncompleted. You can't judge PDZ without seeing it through to its astonishing climax: a colossal bridge swarming with troops, explosions, tunnels and ziplines that's the perfect playground for guns that can see through walls, make you invisible or project hologram doppelgangers.
Slavishly obey my command and you can enjoy the game for what it always was: an FPS with '90s sensibilities and depths missed or ignored by the CoD crows (CoD2 was a fellow launch title). To stay alive at top difficulty, you're forced to be the precision assassin Joanna's painted as.
Ten years on, I can still pirouette deftly through the subway level, tiptoeing around crates to karate chop guards in the back, pressing Jo's back against walls and carefully knocking out cameras with a silenced pistol.
Sounds good suddenly, doesn't it? That's the beauty of my 'Perfect Dark Zero' system, patent pending. Now all you have to do is get over the cutscenes and voice acting that would be outclassed by a primary school Nativity. No system on Earth can help with that.