STAFF REVIEW of Predator: Concrete Jungle (Xbox)


Wednesday, May 25, 2005.
by TheCovenant

Predator: Concrete Jungle Box art Prey for this game.

Predator: Concrete Jungle

Like most 80s sci-fi movies, Concrete Jungle is very flashy but has no real substance. The premise of the game is interesting, but falls short of anything good due to clunky controls, and unbalanced gameplay. A disappointment, as this title has been in production for over a year. It even had a playable demo at last years e3, with the same clunky controls and camera that are present now. If youre a fan of the predator franchise, then this title may end up just being for display on the shelves, because it doesnt belong anywhere near a console.



Gameplay

In the middle of CJ I stopped and wrote this review. I didnt need to finish the game to know that it was bad. First and foremost, I have to bring up the bad animation from earlier, Get used to falling. A lot.
Then comes the four visions granted to you for absolutely no reason. Not once did I feel compelled to use them, although I did, just to see what everything would look like through them. It did not help my aiming, or my ability to find anyone like in the Splinter Cell series. Instead, it convoluted my enemies, making me unable to distinguish one from another. Not that it matters, as you swing away at everything mindlessly. Using your cooler weapons would be kind of fun, except that they run on a battery that depletes after 2-3 shots. Afterward you get your staff, which is the equivalent of a knife in a gunfight. You start of with only this weapon, and in the end, you really end up using only this weapon. Beating up the street scum felt like chores, with no allowance. I did end up finishing the game, but to no avail. I didnt find one thing I like about the gameplay.



Graphics

Its best to start with the good news. Although not astounding, CJ does have some redeeming graphical qualities. He has a multitude of visions which all look neat. Its another look into the predator universe, and although the visions are pretty much useless, you cant deny that they are interesting to look at. That shine wears off quickly though. The animation suffers from inconsistent collision detection, and visual tearing. The game quickly becomes very clunky and awkward when you see people running around, however, the Predator himself looks great. Reminiscent of a one Sam Fischer, the Predator has skulls and tools hanging from his belt, all of which bounce realistically as the predator runs around. His locks also bounce around and are animated fairly smoothly. The level design is weak, and uninspired. Sometimes placement seems random, as youll see that you have to jump out of a building and walk to the other one, when you could have simply walked to the second building to begin with. However, the outdoor areas have all the right lighting, and the usual normal mapping, which is admirable compared to the rest of the game. Theres not much more good I can say about this game, however.



Sound
I expected to hear lots of quotes from the movies, or sound clips from the movies. None of both, however the sound clips did sound realistic enough to belong in the Predator universe. The moans and healthy growls the Predator makes when he needs health or replenishes it; is familiar, but not the same. As good a mimic as it is, some female voice narrator is introduced early on that doesnt sound like she belongs anywhere in the predator franchise. Also, she sounds very amateurish. I think I could have recorded a more believable segment in my garage, using old sound clips from Terminator 2 and a tape player/recorder. Other than that, the random announcements of the pimps that you have to kill is annoying, but gives you a reason to dispose of them quickly.

Alien to good gaming

Developer Eurocom has done their best, and with one year at the helm, this is truly a disappointment. With almost nothing to offer, CJ was made only for the die-hard predator fans. So those 12 people will love this game, even if they dont end up playing it. The graphics are mediocre, and everything else is below average, and thats the with-sugar-on-top version of the review. CJ Serves better as a coaster than a game.




Suggestions:
BAlance is the keyword here. SOme of the weapons are actually pretty fun to use. Too bad they dont let you use them. This game is in dire need of extensive testing, and should be recalled for wasting time. If you\'re the die hard afforementioned Predator fan, then by all means, give this one a rent. If not, i\'d stay far away from this one.


Overall: 5.0 / 10
Gameplay: 4.0 / 10
Visuals: 6.0 / 10
Sound: 5.0 / 10

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