I just completed Perfect Dark Zero’s singleplayer mode on the easiest “Agent” level. While I remain enthusiastic about the game’s sports-like approach to levels and statistics, I have to say that this game would’ve been much better off without voice actors and cutscenes. This would’ve rid us of the plot.
I can’t say much about the plot, because I couldn’t make any sense of it. There was a dead father, crazy old Chinese man with tubes in his head, his mean daughter and the Graal, of all things. I don’t know how these things connect, or why was Joanna there, etc. Most of the plot is carried in conversations during the missions, but without subtitles I couldn’t make out much of it. Which is just as well, because the voice actors are so horrible that I don’t want to hear them. The cutscenes are short, but add nothing to the experience.
The end sequence is so lame that it reminds me positively of old videogames! Spoiler ahead, be warned, although really I’m beyond why anyone would actually care, in this case. When the final bad guy is shot down (I couldn’t make sense of the instructions, so I just shot him until he dropped), the arena crumbles around Joanna. Allies rush to scene. Joanna rises from the rubble, wobbly. Chief ally steps up to support him (I still don’t know why they’re working together). “Are you all right?” “I could use an aspirin.” The allied boss (a Scotsman, total mystery to me) comes on stage. “So how did I do?” Both salute. Fade to black.
Why did this game have a plot at all? It serves absolutely no purpose. The stages are sensibly accessed from a mission select screen, one at a time, and all the story bits do is add to the confusion. This would be so much better with mission-specific goals, without an overarching sad excuse for a plot. Thankfully, all of it is skippable.
And really, you spend years and years making a game, then leave your audience cringing at god-awful voice actors. That’s just dumb. Surely there must be no one anywhere who would applaud the acting. I actually feel bad saying that, but they substantially take away from the game. I don’t know, maybe it’s just a director who doesn’t know his job, but it’s a mess of a job regardless.
Oh, and I only realized in the second to last mission that I could choose my gear for every mission. I don’t know where that was explained, I just stumbled upon it.