Release Date: 10/28/2003
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The Good: Fantastic shooting mechanics, great cover system that works well, technically looks decent
The Bad: Awful and lame story, boring and bland visuals, cover system is a little sticky and blind fire doesn’t always work, runs at only 4 hours, major difficulty spikes
Cover based third person shooters weren’t really a thing until the last console generation. Third person shooters took quite a while to evolve into something truly stunning, and the best example of this is Gears of War which is third person shooting perfected. Kill Switch was actually a sleeper hit back in the day and was widely talked about due to the great shooting and cover mechanic.
Kill Switch has a story that sees a male protagonist (I can’t even remember his name the story is so lame) trying to stop a dude named Archer from launching a nuke. In the process, you are trying to recover your memory of your wife being murdered by him? I don’t even know. The game is so short that it doesn’t allow any type of story to evolve let alone a bad one. The story is completely forgettable and I skipped all the dialog towards the end because it was a hot confusing mess.
The gameplay is where it’s at here. The controls are simple and the game is run and gun at its finest for the time. Holding R allows you to buckle against a wall or obstacle and you can blind fire over it, or you can pop up and shoot more accurately. I found that blind firing doesn’t quite work well if the obstacle is higher than you can raise your gun. Most of the time it did not work so I stuck to pop up shooting. You can throw grenades and flash bangs as well as dodge rolling and melee attacks. It’s pretty standard affair, but at the time it was done so well that there was nothing like it.
I have to say the level design is just plain bad and boring. Every level is a stereotypical military base with boring blank walls, stairs, and rooms. There is absolutely nothing to look at here despite the game being technically quite good looking. The textures are sharp, the models are nicely made, and the animations are pretty good. It just goes to show that you are literally just coming into this game for the shooting and that’s it.
Maybe it’s a good thing this game is so short. Clocking in at about 4 hours if you don’t die a thousand times over trying to get through the hordes of enemies. There were issues with major difficulty spikes and draw distance. I would have a guy shooting at me accurately beyond where I could see — even with a sniper rifle. The weapons are nothing to write home about either, just your typical military machine guns and your token shotgun.
Overall, Kill Switch is worth a buy for its great gameplay that fun and addicting. Just don’t expect a story or anything nice to look at. Is there a reason for there to be a sequel? Well, the story somehow manages to say that it hasn’t ended yet, but Kill Switch has no relevance today with better cover shooters like Gears of War. If it were rebooted into something fantastic that’s another story, but I honestly can’t see that happening. Kill Switch belongs in 2003 and should stay there — nice and snug.