XBLA Review: Perfect Dark

Joanna Dark is back in this near-perfect remake…

Ah, Perfect Dark. An FPS from an era where games were harder, yet simpler. Despite being a spiritual successor to Goldeneye, Perfect Dark was a much better game in my eyes and even though it’s been almost a decade since I last played it, it still remains one of my all-time favourite games. Can the 1080p remake do justice to this gaming classic?

A quick answer would be yes. Everything that made the game memorable like the story, weapons and multiplayer remain intact with a few extras like online play and achievements. I’m currently half-way through the game on Perfect Agent, but 10 years ago…I couldn’t even do the first level on Perfect Agent. What has brought about this change? From playing numerous FPS’ over the years? Or from a refined control system?

The controls remain the same, but they have been tweaked for the 360 and make great use of the second analogue stick, making me wonder how I ever coped with the N64 controller. You can even choose controls that mimic that of Halo and Call of Duty, but Perfect Dark isn’t’ like those games at all…for a start, there’s no checkpoints or regenerating health/health kits. There’s also numerous objectives for each mission which go far beyond the simple “Go from A to B” formula that has been common in FPS games over the years. I wish more FPS’ would have these types of goals and maybe with this remake, it might inspire change.

The game contains 17 missions with 3 difficulty settings. Each extra difficulty includes more objectives, while making the AI tougher and more accurate, while damage done to you is deadly. On Perfect Agent, just a few shots will kill you, it’s damn tough but I hope to overcome it and defeat the game that has been beating me for the best part of a decade. PD also contains a huge arsenal of weapons with great secondary functions like grenades, remote control rockets, a gun that can be turn into a turret and be placed anywhere and the deadly Farsight which can through X-Ray Vision and shoot through walls.

I really HATE the Skedar!

After the campaign, there’s 29 incredibly tough challenges to tackle in the Combat Simulator. In this challenges, you are put against a number of Sims for matches like CTF, King of the Hill, Hacking and versions of Deathmatch. You can also play these types of matches with other people online, ensuring plenty of replay value. There’s also the inclusion of classic Goldeneye maps that were included in the original Perfect Dark, as well as some classic weapons like the KLOBB.

This version of Perfect Dark has been polished really well. It’s in 1080p and runs at 60fps, textures have been improved all over and there’s been a few, funny improvements in the character models. One dataDyne enemy is actually Peter Molyneux of Fable fame! It’s just a better looking game and doesn’t stutter in framerate like the original game did on the N64. The voice-acting, music and sound effects are the same as the original…so it will feel nostalgic for old-timers, and quite funny for newcomers.

The Verdict

I’ve been looking forward to the HD remake of Perfect Dark since it was announced last year. Now that it’s here, I remember why I loved it so much. There are some many great moments that put that rubbish prequel to shame. For 800 Microsoft Points, this is an absolute bargain and must be played. It may have been 10 years, but Perfect Dark is STILL a classic.

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