When playing Mindjack, two sides of me were torn between loving and loathing this game. On the one side, this game infuriated me with a plot that I literally couldn't even begin to explain to you and the most frequent framerate drops. At the same time though, I fell in love with the multiplayer aspect of Mindjack. Because of this concept, I view Mindjack as more of a crude example of what we can expect the future of multiplayer gaming to become.
In order to get the annoyances out of the way first, let's do a rundown of what really didn't work in Mindjack. First, the UI of all the menus in the game are drab and convoluted. Choosing between multiplayer and single player isn't difficult, but it seems unnecessarily complicated. The plot of Mindjack is dry to say the least. I didn't know who was who or what was going on throughout the entirety of this game. Instead, I chose to really focus on what Feelplus was trying to accomplish with this game which in my opinion was definitely not an award-winning plot.
The gameplay mechanics of Mindjack consist of a mix between a generic third person shooter with a watered-down leveling system and some very interesting concepts that don't get the opportunity to fully embrace their potential. From the first time your character gets killed you'll realize that you can't actually die fully. If both you and your partner (some girl) die together and aren't revived in the allotted time then the level will reset. When you die, you become a "Wanderer". This basically means you're a soul without a body that looks like a fat, electrified and wingless Navi from Ocarina of Time. Throughout each level cowering pedestrians are scattered in corners for you to "Mindhack" if you so happen to die. While this does present an interesting gameplay mechanic and seems necessary in some ways, I found it hilarious and stupid to find pedestrians hiding out in some strange places like on the top of fire escapes or in burning tunnels.
As a shooter, Mindjack is very skeletal in regards to its depth. You can carry two weapons at a time, and throughout most of the game this will consist of switching between three main guns (one handgun and two machine guns). There are sniper rifles and rocket launchers here and there but they are scarce and usually used for some sort of boss. While on the topic of bosses I should probably mention the lack of direction that the game gives the player. Yes, the game is extremely linear, but there were times where I would die over and over because I had no idea how to kill a boss. The camera feels sluggish at times and the constant drop in framerate will most likely cause your demise from time to time. I didn't hate the shooter aspect of Mindjack. I just felt as though I played the same thing before and didn't like it then either.
Now that the nonsense of Mindjack is out of the way, I can finally talk about why a little part of me absolutely loves this game. When I first began playing I naturally just started a campaign. Right away I was worried that this was going to be one of those games that is a test of patience to get through. After a few levels I stopped and went back to see what else the game had to offer. I entered the "Hack Portal" to figure out how the multiplayer aspect worked. When I saw that you could either help or hurt someone else's playthrough of the campaign I became giddy with excitement. Since I found the game to be pretty easy, I figured it would be nice of me to hack into someone's game and try and stop them from completing their level. The enjoyment I received from stopping people from getting past the first level over and over again was completely new and amazing. I can't recall every influencing someone's campaign in a game so heavily from a multiplayer standpoint.
The game is capable of having up to six players in a game, but the most I was able to find was three. Even so, having two individuals to stop was much harder and changed the strategy of each section completely. There were also times where I would be playing through the campaign and someone would join to help me instead of fight me. If there were no players on the enemy team, the game became overly easy in a cooperative setting. My conclusion from all of this is that Mindjack is not meant to be played solo, even when you start the campaign you are asked if you would like others to be able to hack into your game. The concept is incredible and it opens the door for tons of future games to incorporate these mechanics into their titles, but the subpar gameplay of Mindjack somewhat overshadows this great idea.
What else can you say about Mindjack other than wishing the gameplay could match the great concept used clearly to build this game upon. This is a prime example of how poor of a taste a game with potential can leave if it is hindered with some ugly and annoying visuals and gameplay. I still managed to find fun in the multiplayer experience of Mindjack if only for the fact that I was directly impacting another person's story. I expect many developers to see this and avoid the mistakes made in this game that kept it from being as fantastic as it could definitely have been.
[Mindjack]-$56.99 (XBOX 360)