SiN Episodes: Emergence

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SiN Episodes: Emergence review


It's a solid FPS with run-and-gun quasi-tactical gameplay

Please note: this review contains light spoilers of the first few minutes of gameplay

Interrogated by a woman in a corset

"Tell me - how do you expect this to end?"
"He fell right into my hands."
"Hmmph. Don't be naive, Radek. I know this man. Trust me; he knows exactly what he was doing."

You click 'New Game', set a few options, and all of a sudden - dialogue and a rendered woman who shops for business suits at Frederick's of Hollywood (and bathing suits from Brazil). Not that it's a bad thing; you just don't expect to be interrogated by a woman in a corset and jacket in the opening scenes of a first-person shooter. Or maybe the name "SiN" should have given it away?

The game

SiN Episodes: Emergence is a first-person shooter developed by Ritual Entertainment. It continues in the rather bold footsteps set forth by Valve software, in that it is purchasable directly over Steam. As you may gather from the title, it is the first in the line of episodic content - as you may not gather from the title, it is a somewhat sequel to the 1998 game of a similar name ("SiN") and its expansion ("Wages of Sin", somewhat infamous for the "Rub-A-Dub-Dub" scene). Neither received much critical acclaim, and were released right around the same time as Half-Life and a handful of other instant-classic games - and thus were mostly overlooked.

The characters

A little less than eight years later and we're back in control of Colonel John R. Blade, leader of the "private security" organization HardCORPS. As mentioned earlier, your first view of this game is of the incredibly buxom Elexis Sinclaire, CEO of the appropriately named SinTEK Industries. She's a bad girl with an agenda that was scarier before most crops were bioengineered. Their rivalry is implied in the opening cinematic, and it's clear that she's "bad" from her manner of dress (scandalous outfits are a dead give-away - she might as well wear a black hat). Opposite her is another villainous caricature, resurrected from the Cold War and put into the dapper drapery of a Hollywood Exec. Viktor Radek's Eastern Bloc accent speaks of a vendetta, but does not deign to speak of it further. He simply threatens to put a bullet in your brain-pan - squish - and is scared off by Little Red Riding Hood.

Red - ahem, Jessica Cannon - scares away Lady Buxom and Comrade Goatee. She's clearly the Good Girl foil to Lady Buxom's "Evil Bitch", as she wears less revealing (but only slightly less tight) clothing and sports pigtails. The sides of her thong peak up over her low-slung pants in the current racy fashion, pigtails for the lower half. She reveals the first twist!, which isn't that much of a twist, and you're given control and allowed to walk into the parts of the game where you shoot people in the face.

If it sounds like I'm not being wholly serious about SiN Episodes: Emergence, it's because I'm not - and neither is the game. The characters are all exaggerations of gender physique, going so far as to almost be personifications of various attributes. Elexis Sinclair pulls the strings from behind the scenes, revealing herself every now and then with lazy sexuality, while Radek's manipulations are as heavy-handed as his chin is well-defined. Jessica is the fighting spirit of youth, put in a female figure and given a gun. John Blade, well - he's John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, and Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown. Wide shoulders, heavily muscled, shades, a toothpick - and a custom Magnum. Bad guys, beware.


fun score

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