Rants and raves about all the latest in video games and other forms of mindless entertainment.

August 26, 2005

Review: Geist (GC) - Metaphysical steaming pile



Geist is one of those games that does a few things right, but is hampered by another few fatal flaws that just ruin the entire experience. The game stars John Raimi, a medium and recon private in a futuristic army. You're sent into an undeground operation, only to be taken captive and have your ethreal spirit torn from your physical body. You then must use your powers as an invisible and haunting ghost to get your body back and stop the Volks coproration, which is using a portal to hell to create an army capable of taking over the world. Fairly thin on the surface (and arguably a total scam on Doom 3), but the plot of Geist, while not nearly as complex as say Metal Gear Solid, Killer 7, or heck even Killzone and Halo, is still a mature storyline that looks good on Nintendo and their second party developer N-space. The game, unfortunately, doesn't fair quite as well.



First and foremost, the game is at max a 10 hour game. There are only 9 missions, and each is do-able in under an hour, even when you run into one of the games many, and frequent glitches. I'm not one to complain about game length, but that rule only applies if the game I'm playing is worth playing again and again. This is not one of those games. The game takes a first person approach to the adventure game; and no it is not a "first person shooter", since there is equally a number of first person "adventuring" missions as "shooting". So for argument's sake, it's a first person adventure game. Fair enough...now where's my adventure? In ghost form, Raimi can scare humans and other living creatures into a state suitable for possessions. Geist plays up the possession of people and objects quite a lot. In fact, apart from the story, the possession is by and large the best part of the game. You aren't in any position to be fighting or attacking enemies in ghost (spirit) form, but you can solve puzzles that allow you to progress from one area to another. An example of this possession puzzle solving is when you possess a small mouse and return it to the owner, who then shoves you into a small cage. You awaken to a small room with a woman, a dog, a bird and a bunch of equipment to possess. In order to progress, you must possess a light bulb, which you can then explode using the "host action" ability, which then scares a talking parrot beside the exploded bulb. You then possess the scared parrot to sqwak and eerily screech ghostly voices, which then scare the woman. Possess the woman, and leash the dog, which then lets you scare one of the game's main enemies, who has an inate fear of canine kind. At times like this the game throws you into a daze of awe. The spirit mechanics are very fun, but only make up about one third of the entire game. The rest of the game is possessing people with official clearance to enter certain rooms, and last and certainly least, possessing people with guns who can shoot through the army of soldiers who apparently shoot to kill anyone who looks even remotely suspicious. Nice guys, huh?

The first person shooting is atrocious at best. First and foremost, there's an artifact of the Gamecube controller that will automatically make all first person shooters inherently bad on the the console: the c-stick. It's barely functional as an aiming/movement tool. So right there, any and all FPS'ing in any game will have that strong slight against it, unless you're smart and design the game around a control scheme that doesn't do that, a la Metroid Prime. Four years in, there's really no excuse for it. The aiming reticle is violently touchy. I can't even recount the number of times I swayed the reticle back and forth across an enemies head as the game's touchiness tempted me to toss the controller at the screen. The reloading has a fair lack of responsiveness, as pressing Y to reload, will sometimes and sometimes not work. It's a gamble each time really. It's not as bad as it sounds, but a problem none the less.

The enemy AI is dumbed down to the point of enemies standing in one spot and shooting at you from 50 feet away with pin point accuracy. No really, an enemy will be an entire room away from you, firing at you with unparalleled accuracy, while you try to empty entire clips into him and hit nothing but air. This flaw in the game doesn't even take into account the massive amount of glitching the game does. The enemy types also don't vary much, if at all. There are only a handful of human soldier enemies, and even less "demon" enemies. The bosses aren't even that varied. In fact, I fought the same boss 4 times throughout all of Geist, and another boss twice (including one very obvious rip off of Katamari Damacy). When the game only has 9 missions, a four times repeated boss encounter is unacceptable, even detestable. Weapons vary even less. Tsk tsk.

Now, I understand graphics don't comprise much, if any of the games overall quality, but Geist's graphics are sub-Dreamcast at their very best. For a game that was delayed again and again, and has been in development so long some even thought of it as vaporware, you'd better have something to show for it. This game has nothing. It's as hard on the eyes as the action is on your hands. Not something I'd be willing to pay top dollar for, not even close. In fact, there are Dreamcast games that look better than this, and when you're dealing with a console ten times more powerful than said ancient and deceased console, failing to even meet a 6 year old standard is pitiful. I should also note that collision detection is as broken as the control scheme. There are even times when enemies from the floor below you half pop through the floor you're on. Pathetic.

This is a great time to introduce the fact that Geist is a game that will glitch, and will glitch a lot. We're not talking simple collision detection problems, and not even severe collision detection problems. This isn't about a few textures not rendering, or even choppy framerates (which are all present in this game irregardless). No, these are game breaking glitches and they happen a lot. If you possess a living creature and back it against a wall, and dispossess them, Raimi's spirit exits through the back of the creature, and sometimes clips right through the wall into null space. You can't return to the actual game, and all you can see is the heads up display and a large black void. Restart! You'll be terrified to open every door, no not because of demonic minions lurking behind them, but for fear that the game will fail to load the next room. Three times in my entire experience with Geist, the game refused to load the room I was trying to enter, in fact it decided to stop loading all rooms. RESTART! There's even a point where you need to possess a key character in order to progress, but when I reached him he was a stand still mime, whom I couldn't even scare because his character model was frozen in place. GRRRR! RESTART! I counted a total of 9 game breaking glitches through the Geist experience. Glitches that forced me to restart the game on the console, while losing all of my unsaved progress. Unacceptable and utterly repugnant.

All in all, what Geist does right is the possession. It contains a decent plot, but nothing to go gaga over. The meat of the game is the possession, I just wish there was an even greater emphasis on it, and not the running and gunning. If enough thought were put into it, I'm sure an entire game dedicated to the possession of Geist could make for a remarkable title. There is a lot of potential in Geist, but it's fumbled at every opportunity. When it succeeds, it's fantastic, but the problem lies in that these instances are so rare, that they barely constitute any redeeming value. The game needs work; quite a lot of it. The glitches in Geist make the game near unplayable, and the shoddy controls frustrate the whole experience, especially during the shooting sequences. It's a technological blunder, and even worse as a total game. I for one would love to see the potential of Geist realized in a sequel, but for now, we're left with this terd of a game. If you're curious about the possession techniques of Geist, rent it, for the rest just stay away. Nintendo and N-space for now are completely inept at creating an adult, first person experience.

Verdict


4.5

29 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

biased tool

if this was on ps2 you'd love it

gg

August 26, 2005 12:04 PM

 
Blogger Erik said...

Meh...I am personally awaiting a review for Nintendogs.

August 26, 2005 8:23 PM

 
Blogger Adam said...

The Nintendogs review will probably be up next week. Probably Monday if I get around to finishing my next editorial this weekend. If not, Wednesday for sure, and soon to follow Indredible Hulk and Advance Wars DS.

August 27, 2005 12:03 AM

 
Blogger Erik said...

Sweet.

August 27, 2005 9:51 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd be so cool if you could give Nintendogs a score of 0.7/10! lawlz

August 27, 2005 10:52 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Huh, I wonder why I never encountered a glitch in Geist in the two times I've played through it.

Oh wait, I'm not Auron reviewing a Nintendo game. My bad.

August 27, 2005 11:58 AM

 
Blogger Adam said...

You're definitely not me, but you are an ignorant prude who thinks hiding behind anonymity somehow makes what he says credible. I don't care if you didn't encounter glitches, they are in there and they happened quite frequenty in my playthrough.

August 27, 2005 12:22 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

o i c

August 27, 2005 1:13 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow a review full of lies and bullshit, good read

August 27, 2005 6:57 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This game would be so much better on the OUR THE Xbox.

^5 Auron for continuing to expose how poor everything Nintendo is connected with is.

August 27, 2005 7:03 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done - love it...from a San Mateo Vet

August 27, 2005 7:09 PM

 
Anonymous Some Guy said...

You're definitely not me, but you are an ignorant prude who thinks hiding behind anonymity somehow makes what he says credible. I don't care if you didn't encounter glitches, they are in there and they happened quite frequenty in my playthrough.

Next time don't spill chocolate milk on your Gamecube.

I have never experienced the glitches you have. And your review of the graphics is just terrible. Pre-Dreamcast, yet they're better than most PS2 games? That's rich.

The other terrible part is that you mock the amount of enemy types and weapons. Have any clue about realism? This isn't a regular FPS game; there aren't a huge amount of different weapon-holding infantry in regular military labs.

August 27, 2005 7:09 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Newsweek says "A horrendous review plagued by bullshit and extreme fanboyism. This review only proves that Adam fails again."

Time Magazine says "I have never read a more biased piece of garbage in my life. Oh wait. I read his PM:TYD review. Nevermind."

August 27, 2005 7:16 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This looks much better than a DreamCast game. When it was first shown in 2003 gaming sites said it had pretty good graphics, and it's only improved since then.

It isn't on par with current games because as Penny-Arcade said, the graphics are the relics of a long development cycle. But DreamCast games? God, get a fucking life. Just because a game is on the GameCube doesn't mean it has bad graphics.

In fact, you should especially not be making comments like this because it has better graphics than half the games on your beloved PS2.

August 27, 2005 7:20 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Auron, you're such a douche.

August 27, 2005 7:30 PM

 
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August 27, 2005 7:52 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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August 27, 2005 8:00 PM

 
Blogger Adam said...

I must have missed it, but where did anyone bring something other than "You suck for rating teh Nintendo bad, boo yoU!"? Oh, they didn't. Right.

I have never experienced the glitches you have.

Good for you. The fact of the matter is these glitches exist, and this is further backed by most major reviews on major review sites.

And your review of the graphics is just terrible. Pre-Dreamcast, yet they're better than most PS2 games? That's rich.

Fact of the matter is most, if not all, Ps2 games look better than Geist. The graphics are pre-dreamcast. Soul Calibur for one comes to mind instaneously.

The other terrible part is that you mock the amount of enemy types and weapons. Have any clue about realism?

Of course I do. A game can still have a wide variety of weapons and still retain realism. Halo's restriction of only holding two weapons was realism, but the game still featured an arsenal that numbered in the tens.

If all you're going to do is sit here and say "J-00 suck cuz I think Geist is t3H sex!" then go away. Glitches do exist in this game, that is a cold hard fact. I did not experience glitches in the fabled crapfest Enter the Matrix, yet many people did. Even now, after never experiencing a glitch in that game, I will admit the game is glitchy because the evidence is far too great.

The graphics are sub-dreamcast, and are not better than most Ps2 games. The polygon counts are way down, and the texturing is even worse. Frame-rate is a serious issue in Geist as well. These are not things I made up, so please move on with your lives and start coming back to a place I like to call reality.

If I had given the game a 10/10 without changing the text, you'd have had no qualms, so move on. Your incoherent babbles are falling on deaf ears; or I should say ears that simply don't give a fuck if you're too childish and cowardly to come out of the veil of an anonymous person.

August 28, 2005 12:09 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your blog shithead

August 28, 2005 12:14 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just stop reviewing or talking about any other thing that wasn't made by Sony. It's obvious you have some grudge against Nintendo for whatever reason and have no reviews for any Microsoft game, except one. Oh hey bonus, you've never talked about any game for the PSP or Playstation that would have got less then a 6.8 in your eyes. Good job on that by the way.

August 28, 2005 5:24 PM

 
Blogger Warrior_King said...

Adam,

I am going to place your blog on my blogroll. You have great reviews!

August 28, 2005 8:10 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3143180

August 28, 2005 8:50 PM

 
Blogger Adam said...

Just stop reviewing or talking about any other thing that wasn't made by Sony.

Do you ignorant children say that to everyone that doesn't like a Nintendo game?

It's obvious you have some grudge against Nintendo for whatever reason and have no reviews for any Microsoft game, except one.

You didn't happen to read the reviews for Killer 7, Kirby: Canvas Curse, or Tales of Symphonia? You can also count on Nintendogs getting an 8.0+ score, as well as Advance Wars. Perhaps if you'd look into these things, jumping to unsubstantiated conclusions like that completely discredit what you just said. Poor you.

Oh hey bonus, you've never talked about any game for the PSP or Playstation that would have got less then a 6.8 in your eyes. Good job on that by the way.

I'm not sure how keen you are on common sense, but did it ever occur to you that I haven't played a game on the PSP game that ranks below that score in my eyes? I never said they didn't exist, because I"m sure they do, so once again you look like the ass, not I.

As for Ps2 games, I've only reviewed a few older titles, and have stuck to mostly newer titles. Once again, common sense would point to the fact that I haven't played many bad Ps2 games lately. Have I ever? You bet. More than any other console. So before you open your mouth and act like a boorish 5 year old, ask questions and check your facts. There's more than just a number, and there's more than just the few paltry reviews I've written for this site for the measly 5 or 6 months it's been operating. Grow up.

August 28, 2005 9:38 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You also gave the idea that Nintendo makes games for little kids only, and then treat it as fact. This was pretty evident in your PM2 review. Thats the "grudge" I was talking about.

And still, you never seemed to review games for the Xbox besides Forza Motorsport. Why not review Halo 2? Thats just begging for a bad score from you right?

And while you've played bad games for the Playstation, Clearly read the following line:

you've never TALKED about any game for the PSP or Playstation that would have got less then a 6.8 in your eyes.

Do not accuse me of being immature if you can't even understand a simple sentence.

August 29, 2005 5:01 PM

 
Blogger Adam said...

you've never TALKED about any game for the PSP or Playstation that would have got less then a 6.8 in your eyes.

Do not accuse me of being immature if you can't even understand a simple sentence.


Let's not start with the illiterate bull crap. Did you not hear me? I haven't played a PSP game like that yet, and why would I randomly start talking about bad Ps2 games? If I had a reason I would, but I haven't had a reason yet. So suck it.

August 29, 2005 6:55 PM

 
Blogger Adam said...

And still, you never seemed to review games for the Xbox besides Forza Motorsport. Why not review Halo 2? Thats just begging for a bad score from you right?

Why don't you review it? I frankly don't want to.

August 29, 2005 6:56 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't want to review that generic ass game either. I don't like how its so popular, but so bad.

Nice comeback. Reminds me of X-play.

August 29, 2005 11:22 PM

 
Blogger anonymous said...

Geist is better than 90% of PS2 games.

February 02, 2006 10:03 AM

 
Blogger alabaster mc said...

i happen to really enjoy this game and haven't experienced any glitches, you would probably have game play issues if you don't take care of your game cube or have a scratched game disc, the graphics were overall good but, they should have switched up the colors a bit,i did not like the shade controls but i worked real well with the wraith controls, multi player was very fun and i have to say this is one of my favorite games.

February 29, 2008 11:41 AM

 

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