The future is a scary place. Monkeys run around with guns strapped to their backs…and no, we didn’t make that up. But on the serious side, there are plenty of soldiers, robots, drones and underneath it all, some seriously complex mind hacking. It’s quite the premise for this experimental single-player/multiplayer hybrid that might actually change the way we think of virtual interactive experiences. As one plays through Mindjack, other players from all over the world can actually tap into your adventure by hacking their way in. Once inside, they can take control of your enemies – thereby making your life much harder – or opt to fight alongside you. It’s a very intriguing premise and one that has seemingly limitless capabilities. The question is whether or not developer FeelPlus can execute properly and provide us with an appropriately seamless experience.
You will play as Jim Corbijn who is battling against faceless, overpowering governmental powers. By his side will be Rebecca Weiss, and the two will face off against the evil oppressors that are threatening to crush humanity. Nerkas Solutions has created a nifty technology that lets users take control of other people and it’s causing a great amount of confusion and even chaos. At the start, you will choose to be either a host or a hacker: if you opt to be a host, you will take direct control over one of the game’s primary characters. If you go for the more eclectic hacker job, you will join a host’s game as an ally or a foe. For the record, certain parts of the game’s progression won’t allow for a hacker to jump in, which only makes sense; it would be impossible to present a cohesive storyline otherwise, right? Now, you might assume that most parts of the game won’t accept hackers but it seems to be exactly the opposite…
Also, don’t forget that hosts can turn potential enemies into “mind slaves.” He actually adopts the role of hacker for a short time, hacks into a combatant, and forces him or her to join the side of good. Basically, this lets you jump all over the place, taking control of all sorts of different characters around the immediate vicinity. Heck, there are even hi-tech robots and freaky sci-fi animals that can be “hacked” and used to your advantage; you may notice a giant gorilla with a massive weapon at the screenshots page… The hell is that, anyway?! General movement and control should be fairly straightforward, though, as we’ll play from the standard third-person viewpoint with a typical cover system. You will have access to a wide variety of deadly weapons and tools, too, and we imagine it’ll be super fun to experiment. We’re also looking for a decent story, because the setting and premise is just begging for a gripping plot with compelling characters.
But the key will certainly revolve around the nifty hacking/controlling feature. The idea that anybody, anywhere can suddenly leap into the game I’m playing – one that is not technically multiplayer, where I’m following a certain story – is pretty darn appealing. My only concern is that things will get a little too disorganized; they’d have to put a limit to the number of people that can try hacking into a certain situation, or couldn’t servers explode? And what if I don’t feel like playing with the Internet enabled? Then what? Does it just become a generic third-person shooter? Lastly, how often will I be totally frustrated with something someone else does? Mindjack does indeed sport one of the most promising theories we’ve seen to date, but questions remain…
Oh, and one other thing: the game comes out on the same day as LittleBigPlanet 2. Good thing they offer two very different experiences, right?
12/14/2010 Ben Dutka