Project IGI: I'm Going In is a realistic shooter similar to the Tom Clancy: Rainbow Six series. Promising a blend of stealth, covert surveillance, and high-powered firefights at secret military bases, the game fails to fulfill its potential with mediocre execution. As David Llewelyn Jones, a freelance operative for both the British and American governments, your mission is to retrieve a stolen nuclear warhead and prevent a secret terrorist organization from using it to destroy the world.
You begin by infiltrating a military airfield in Estonia to save a secret contact who gives you information on the nuke. As a secret agent, it's possible to sneak into an area, but getting out again usually results in a firefight, negating the stealth option. The real challenge is to avoid being gunned down by what must be the world's greatest marksmen ever seen in a first-person shooter. It's as if you're wearing lights and a red target, and you'll die often, even on the easy level. This exposes the major flaw of no save options within each mission, which, in turn, causes you to repeatedly start again from the beginning. With your type of clothing seemingly meaningless in stopping damage, you have absolutely no margin for error during a firefight.
The 14 missions, divided into small segments, are long and difficult, generally preceded by a briefing, which gives you objectives and various points of interest. Usually, you're dropped into a zone by chopper where you'll find a healthy supply of guards waiting for you, often materializing out of nowhere to take their shots. It's not as daunting as one would expect, though, since the AI is so bad that guards ignore you unless hit. Snipe at someone and miss, they'll fail to sound an alarm and keep walking. If you kill one, the others just press on, ignorant of the fact death is near.
Your huge arsenal of weapons is impressive, supplemented by those you can pick up from downed enemies, including hefty firepower like antitank weapons, grenades and various other automatic rifles. Unlike the AI for enemies, weapon handling seems quite real with automatic and high caliber weapons featuring noticeable kicks, which can wreck your aim. Bullets can pass through doors, walls and other parts of the environment depending on what you're packing.
With the emphasis supposedly on stealth and observation rather than firefights, gadgets, such as binoculars that offer impressive zoom capability for assessing situations in both day and night scenarios, come into play. Your trusty PDA keeps track of mission objectives, in order of receipt, and contains a handy map feature that negates the need for your compass. Additionally, the PDA keeps communications received from you advisor Anya safe and readily available for recall, which is fortunate, since her reports and tips are often received at inopportune times like the middle of a gun battle.
Picking up weapons and items may be easy, but interaction with other objects (e.g., ladders and computer terminals) can be problematical. Often you have to line up perfectly with an object to utilize it, and it's quite possible to wind up dead because you were fiddling with the mouse to get in place. The readjustment from a first- to third-person perspective as you approach objects can also be disorienting until you get used to the quick changeover.
The developers apparently focused on weapon realism to the exclusion of the story and action. When enemies fail to react to footsteps, noises, gunfire or other sounds, gameplay suffers immensely. This "out of sight, out of mind" philosophy leads to frustration; the alternative is worse -- when you're seen, you're most likely history due to the deadeye marksmen. Even with 14 missions, the gameplay is bland and repetitive, and with no multi-player options, there's really no point in "going in" at all.
Graphics: Graphics offer nothing innovative or special, though the outdoor environments will grab your attention. Indoor maps and graphics are very repetitive and boring, and the sheer size of the areas results in plenty of mindless wandering. Most of the designers' efforts were obviously devoted to realism with weapon and ammo reactions -- shoot a wall and splinters or dust fly from wood or cement, and enemies leak copious amounts of blood when shot.
Sound: Footsteps echo on the floor, weapons have distinctive sounds, cars sound real and ambient base sounds are accurate, as when elevators make that odd pinging sound when reaching a floor. The voice acting is decent enough, but the dialogue won't win any awards.
Enjoyment: Even with the problems, the game is a solid shooter, with gadgets and environments enriching the experience. Weapons react realistically, but the enemy AI is rarely challenging. Large levels lead to repetition and bland gameplay.
Replay Value: There's very little reason to replay the game, unless you're going for a speed record. Nothing changes and any secrets will be discovered during the first play.
People who downloaded Project I.G.I.: I'm Going In (a.k.a. Project IGI) have also downloaded:
I.G.I.-2: Covert Strike, Freedom Fighters, Soldier of Fortune, Project Eden, Soldier of Fortune 2: Double Helix, Age of Empires 2: The Age of Kings, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Project: Snowblind
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