STAFF REVIEW of Raze's Hell (Xbox)

Saturday, July 2, 2005.
by TheCovenant

Raze's Hell Box art In the same week Majesco releases its revolutionary, one-trick pony: Psychonauts, I completely forgot about Raze?s hell, whose trailer popped up in the middle of summer last year. Its premise seems interesting, but not completely original. Play a bad mamma jamma who kills cute animals that are sadistic, and violent in nature. Before anyone mentions machine gun wielding, bad-mouthed squirrels, I was talking about Raze?s Hell, a new creative license by the publishers of Psychonauts. Although the premise is interesting, and has some unique gameplay elements, I can?t help but feel like this has all been done before.

Raze?s Hell is a third person action adventure shooter, with a heavy emphasis on shooting. All the typical weapons are there, sniper, rocket, etc. The thing that separates this title from the rest of the live enables shooters out there is probably the difficulty level of the offline campaign. The game was unfairly hard, which makes it fairly not fun. You are so overpowered by these annoying creatures, whenever they land a frag on you it feels like a noob just killed you with a rocket launcher and wont shut up about it. Shooting enemies gives you health, but even with this little boost, you still get punished hard for not staying behind cover every second of the game. Co-op, is a different story. The game offers a small co op mode, where you and a friend who can join at any point in the game, can take on the 20 levels of frustration together, so when you both die, you have someone else to blame, instead of blaming the A.I. (which I did, and will do in this review). Friendly fire can?t be turned off, and there was more than one instance where I accidentally killed my friend. This ended up in my friend throwing his controller across the room, and leaving. We are no longer friends.
On a lighter note, multiplayer is fun, but suffers from framerate issues. Killing humans controlled enemies is much easier than killing the perfect A.I. However, trying to find a decent game is hard, and all your friends are on Halo 2.

The graphics are there. Not too shiny, not too bland. The design of the arenas are usually large open spaces, which are usually a welcomed aspect of level design, but these deserts are so barren that I get excited whenever I go somewhere in doors. It seems like I?m surrounded by miles and miles of sand, mortar craters, and cute little enemies with the precision of -well that?s more of a gameplay attribute. The enemies look good, detailed, and high res. Raze doesn?t look so hot, but it?s forgivable. Particle affects are found all over the game, from the pods you collect health from, to the blood that sprinkles unto the screen whenever you melee a cute little enemy. My personal favorite part of the game. There are many enemies on screen at once, all shooting brightly colored and often slow moving projectiles, so you know right off the bat framerate can?t be good. Well I have good news. The framerate holds up, for the most part, but go on live and that changes dramatically. I didn?t catch any technical aspects of the game to be missing, so they got the basics down. Even the draw distance can be semi impressive in some levels?it just depends on how impressed you can get with miles of sand though.

This could be less annoying by having less of it. The cynical little bastard enemies they put you up against in this game feel it necessary to let you constantly know how cute, yet evil they are. The splash of blood they make when you run em? over with your rolling melee is oh so satisfying, especially when you get them in mid sentence. Cutscenes are composed of News updates hosted by Kewlett anchors, and although the high pitched noises are about as welcome as an episode of Chip n Dale, they do often make you chuckle. Unless you don?t have a soul, then you should be in therapy, not killing cute little animated animals.
There is a soundtrack to the game, which is a high bass eerie score, but is usually over powered by the sound of battlefield combat. It?s not a bad thing, but it kind of seems like a waste of money to have a score that you can barely hear half the time.

Hell for a reason:

No one said hell was going to be easy, and if you like challenges such as Enclave, Halo 2 on legendary, or Ninja Gaiden Hurricane Pack, then this one is up your alley, and still I would only suggest a rent. However, those games are much more satisfying to beat, and have much higher production values. If you want a neat break from Halo 2, and you and a few friends are willing to pick this one up, the live components can offer some interesting gameplay, and some genuine fun. Otherwise, thereare other third person shooters out there that are well worth your hard earned cash.

Overall: 6.6 / 10
Gameplay: 6.0 / 10
Visuals: 7.0 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


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