Very much agreed, but anyway here it is....:
The Da Vinci Code: Unravel the Collective Mystery
It is not rare that one goes into a video store, browsing the gaming shelves and sees a game that he had no idea existed. What is rare though, is that he rents it out, takes it home and enjoys it beyond belief. Like a great book â€“ impossible to put down. The Da Vinci Code, surprising as it is, actually is a game that fits into this category. The Collective along with 2K Games have crafted something brilliant that combines some of the major gaming genres: puzzle solving and code breaking, adventure, stealth and combat. Combine this with some ingenious controls and original gaming concepts and you have a superb gaming experience.
The most important aspect of the Da Vinci Code is puzzle solving and code breaking. The entire game relies on this; without this part, it would be nothing special. Throughout each level there are objectives that you have to complete to progress. These objectives are mostly relevant to the code breaking aspect, which will have your minding ticking over. The puzzles are always hard and require a lot of thinking, however sometimes having knowledge of the story does help. The answers to the puzzles are fairly obvious when looking back on them, but to get to them is difficult. To help the completion of puzzles you will need to recover clues throughout the level, which will be held in the Visual Database: An inventive knowledge â€˜storage centreâ€™ that will contain information on ART, HISTORY, PEOPLE, PLACES, CLUES and SECRETS â€“ all of which you will uncover while playing the game. Other physical pieces of the puzzle that you find can be stored in the Inventory, which is also home to healing objects, or objects that will grant you entrance to certain areas. Although sometimes long and tedious, the puzzles are what make the Da Vinci Code unique.
Some puzzles may require some exploration throughout the level and this is where the three other aspects come in. Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu (the two main characters) are on the run from the police and are being chased by monks including the albino, Silas. To make matters worse there are also mercenaries looking for them and they will stop at nothing to nullify the protagonists. Although, not really tying in with the story, you are going to have to help Robert and Sophie defeat the enemies. Using the Stealth mechanic, you can hide in the shadows, distract those hunting you down, or sneak up on them and complete a Stealth Attack, which if done properly will knock the receiver out cold. Should you come in the line of sight of the enemy, a Combat sequence will begin. The fighting is very GTA-esque, but requires a little more skill. First you must decide whether to run or fight. If you chose to fight, you will then be given the option to Attack, Push or Throw your opponent. Next you will be required to complete a button pressing (not mashing) sequence â€“ completing it correctly will cause the most damage. When defending you will need to do something similar as to avoid damaging your health. Once your opponent is knocked out, you can hide them. This is suggested as they can wake up if someone finds them. The adventure aspect is more or less the same, however you will have to move the analog stick in a certain direction, to move large objects or use bolt cutters to break padlocks. If the puzzle solving doesnâ€™t take your fancy, this certainly will.
The game play is quite simply superb and using some of their own creative licence, Collective has included some locations not included in the book or film to lengthen the game somewhat. Unfortunately though this doesnâ€™t hide some flaws that are expected in a low budget game.
Graphically, the game is alright particularly in the movie-like cut scenes, and the lighting sets the mood perfectly, the animations, though are just poor. Also some may be disappointed at the sound, with a fairly dull dialogue where the characters laboriously recite long historical references. Thankfully though, the backing music gives a sense of tension.
Depending on location or objective, you will control either Robert or Sophie. Sadly they may as well be the same person as they react to their surrounds in exactly the same way. An improvement in this area could really have been made before release, with each character having different skills, and styles. This would create a need to switch between characters at will, throughout the game if both are together. This was pioneered in the accompanying game of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, only a few years ago. Also I would have enjoyed a co-operative play option â€“ this game is only in single player.
A few annoying glitches will get on your nerve. Sometimes you may get stuck between your accompanying character and an immoveable object. Usually you will be able to escape, but if not you will have to start from the last checkpoint you reached and thus lose items you had acquired since then. Of course with a greater budget these bugs would have been ironed out, but I have seen far worse.
The game is incredibly long so donâ€™t expect to get this through in one sitting. Youâ€™ll need at least ten hours to finish it. Also, be aware that this is quite simply a game â€“ as good as it is â€“ and once completed, you will find little reason to run it through again as it will become quite a bit easier. Thankfully you can adjust the difficulty of Combat so you will be able to experience problems in completing each level.
The Da Vinci Code is a highly underrated game that probably deserved more publicity. It seems that through the hype of the Ron Howard movie (based on the Dan Brown novel) the game has missed out. Such a big name probably deserved to be taken by EA, but Collective has done just fine. I will be sure to go out and buy this game soon as my EB Games has it at 75% off!
Game-play: 9/10, a superb combination of three major genres that ties in to a captivating storyline.
Graphics: 7/10, very clear and highly detailed but the animations are average at best.
Lifespan: 6/10, sadly there is not much extra to do once the game is completed.
Sound: 7/10, music gives a sense of tension and suits the story perfectly, but the dialogue is quite dull.
Overall: 7.25/10, more than just a movie companionâ€¦ a long, well constructed game thatâ€™s worth playing.