Please, stay in the shadows.
Every once in awhile a game comes along that is so bad, you can’t help but talk about it. With the latest Hitman on the horizon, Alekhine’s Gun seemed like a nice appetizer before the main course. A stealth game that employed the same type of structure should be sufficient to whet my appetite for impending contracts. From the minute I booted up the game though, something was wrong. The logo stuttered, the menus were archaic, and from there on, nothing about Alekhine’s Gun was impressive.
From the minute I got into the game, things went wrong. I am an inverted aim player, 99% of games support this option, Alekhine’s Gun does not. Without the ability to invert my sticks at system level, this would have made the game unplayable for me. Next I noticed that the first level was extremely dark on my TV, oh, but there isn’t a brightness option inside the game. It feels almost as if the developers included only the minimal options for the game.
Platforms: XB1, PS4, PC
Price I’d Pay: $9.99
Poor design decisions aside, I get loaded into the game. Things feel familiar. The first mission is designed to teach the game’s mechanics. I start off creeping through the courtyard of a castle, boxes explain every move to make, and so far things feel pretty standard; generic but standard.
The game utilizes an instinct meter used to point out points of interest in the world. Think of it as detective vision in Batman. This is used to showcase the multiple ways each encounter can be approached, and there are certainly several ways to take down objectives. Sadly, the game never mentioned it did not autosave, so when my first attempt failed, I had to start over. Thankfully players can save anywhere, but noting that would have been helpful from the start.
At one point I decided to go guns blazing, just to see if that was a viable option. Oh boy was I in for a surprise. The shooting and aiming in the game is atrocious. It feels stiff and reminiscent of shooters before dual analog controls were even introduced. Not a deal breaker since a game focused on stealth shouldn’t have to resort to shootouts, but just another in a laundry list of issues the game has.
Of course the biggest issue surrounding the game is the AI. Sometimes enemies have zero interest in my character, or anything he is doing. Other times they spot me a mile away doing absolutely nothing. Toss in the weird animations and I can’t seem to tell what is going on half the time. Was I spotted? Should I start over? Nope, they are just glitching out. Everything about this game screams budget Hitman rip-off except the price, which is sadly $40 more than it should be listed at.
Then we get to the visuals and everything just falls apart. The game looks bad, I mean high resolution PS2 bad. Top that off with a frame rate that drops at the turn of the camera. Animations are glitchy, environments are boring, nothing about the game’s aesthetic is pleasing to any sense. Throw in the poor cut scenes with laughable voice acting and the package is complete. Nothing about Alekhine’s Gun screams quality.
If there is one thing that stands out about Alekhine’s Gun, it is the setting. Spanning from the early days of World War II to the Cold War, the atmosphere actually works here. It feels like this was the part of the game that was complete. Given another year or two this might have turned out to be a solid Hitman alternative, but as it stands Alekhine’s Gun fails on every level – poor AI, abysmal frame rate, sub-par visuals, and horrendous shooting. There is nothing here to salvage the premium price tag.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.