Mace Griffin Bounty Hunter is set in the year 2412, two hundred years after aliens first made contact with man. Aliens have assimilated into the human environment now and both are getting along just fine. New planetoids for colonization are discovered and then it becomes a battle between factions who want to inhabit them. You are Mace Griffin a former ranger who becomes a bounty hunter to find out the truth about what happened in the past. You've just gotten out of the slammer and you want revenge.
Mace Griffin is a generic first person shooter with some space combat elements. The objectives you will have to undertake are fairly basic. Get from one place to another in one piece, set off a switch, find a person etc. Missions are given to you by the bounty hunter guild leader, Mascone. From there you will travel to your destination and sometimes along the way encounter enemy resistance in the form of fighter ships or other craft which must be destroyed. One impressive feature of Mace Griffin Bounty Hunter is the seamless transition between air and land combat. It is entirely possible to get up during a flight and walk to the back of your craft, sure you can't get off but it shows how seamless this integration is.
The main problem is that the game is so generic I found myself struggling to want to play it for an extended period of time. It was great in small doses but once you realise that you are basically doing the same thing over and over again each mission it does become tedious.
It is obvious that the developers have drawn quite a bit of inspiration from Halo, and why not its the best selling game on the console. For instance like in Halo when you get hit, your health won't decrease until your shield is gone and again like in Halo the shield will charge back after a period of calmness. However to call this game a failure due to the likeness towards Halo in some cases would be wrong to do because Mace Griffin has enough innovation for it to stand on its own two feet.
The AI in Mace Griffin has its moments but for the most part its fairly generic. They range from human soldiers, through to alien-like monsters with large weaponry. The AI for the most part will sit there and take a beating from you time and time again rather then trying to hide or co-ordinate a squad to hit you, this may contribute to the feeling of not wanting to push further into the game. The AI however are tough and can take time to defeat.
Obviously to rid the universe of this scourge, Mace has a variety of weapons, seventeen in all. Ranging from a basic pistol and machine gun and shotgun through to a sniper weapon plus many more. Each has their own benefits and weaknesses. For instance the secondary fire of the shotgun loads shells in for rapid fire. Very useful in a group situation.
Each mission is unique however you may visit some areas twice during the course of the game. You will visit a military fort, a farm, a nightclub area plus many more. Each of the environments is heavily detailed, for example the nightclub area features neon lights and lots of NPCs partying and dancing about. Whilst they are heavily detailed the environments look fairly generic and boring to look at. The environments are semi-destructible, boxes and other objects can be destroyed to either pick up items or to create an explosion.
Visually Mace Griffin is fairly good but there is in rare cases frame rate issues. Most of the game is played at a stable frame rate so the few seconds I encountered slowdown I didn't really mind to much. It is easy to tell that Mace Griffin is being released across three console systems because the graphics are no where near that of Xbox exclusive titles. On the sound front the sound effects are standard generic sounds and don't really offer to much variety and as expected there is a cinematic soundtrack. In game cut scenes are used but in an overkill fashion. Each time a mission is given a Mascone cut scene will play out and then the other information about the upcoming mission. Some of them can drag on for a long time, but thankfully they can be skipped
One thing that surprised me with Mace Griffin Bounty Hunter was the fact that there is no multiplayer. To not have multiplayer in a first person shooter in this day and age is a big mistake on the part of the developer. The reason Halo is still popular is the excellent co-operative play it has, so why Warthog chose not to include multiplayer is hard to understand. The game could have survived without it had the single player game been legendary, but unfortunately its not and multiplayer is sorely missed.
Mace Griffin Bounty Hunter is a great game with a few flaws. The storyline isn't very interesting and becomes boring fairly quick, the graphics are no where near the limit of the Xbox and the biggest flaw by far is the lack of multiplayer. However it does offer some innovation with some Wing Commander style combat integrated with land battles. Had they done it right, Mace Griffin could have been the next Halo and while Mace Griffin isn't what everyone expected, it does have its moments. Rent it first then buy it if you enjoy the game.
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