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     " It is the corner cutting and lack of polish that brings this game down in the end. "

      Title: Shifters by 3DO

      Format: Adventure for PS2

      Reviewing Monkey: Simi N.

      The Hype: The world is changing. Beast's flesh and metal are roaming the land, and medieval villages are disappearing only to be replaced by giant steel structures. You feel that these events must somehow be connected with your newfound ability to shape-shift, and you must find the connection and stop the changes in order to save the universe.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: One of the best aspects of this game, the graphics are pretty good. The characters and environments are all good looking with better than average amounts of detail and cool textures. There are also a lot of nice little touches added like footprints along with the visible damage your blade leaves when you hit walls. But there are a bunch of problems as well. For one, there is a room in this game that has a tapestry on the wall with a hole in it. Through the hole you can see an object shining begging to be picked up. I spent 5 minutes trying to hack the tapestry to pieces, or set it on fire with my spells, but in a final desperate attempt leapt straight at, and through the tapestry. That's right, I went straight through, like a ghost. It is this kind of corner cutting and lack of polish that brings this game down in the end. 3.5 out of 5.

      Sound: When I first started this game up I was pleased with the music that I was hearing in the first level. But then as I progressed through the level I began to notice that the music, however cool, was a very short track, and by the time I had beat the level, I had heard the song about 17 billion times (Okay, so that is an exaggeration, but 50 times is about right). Not only that, but the track end doesn't flow well into the track beginning so there is a lot of awkward silence when the song is loading again. Needless to say all of this made the music less enjoyable and unfortunately this applies to all the areas I played. The sound effects in the game all sound very generic and not necessarily specific to what is your situation, for example you sward makes the same noise when it strikes pretty much everything, from tree, to brick walls, to enemies, you name it. 2.5 out of 5.

      Playability: This game has a pretty cool concept going for it. The whole deal is that you can change into one of 24 creatures that you fight in the game (you have to get the form points first however) and then you can use those creatures' abilities to help you out along the way. You could think of it as a revamp of SEGA's Altered Beast, except much worse, because when you do change forms it barely changes the game play. You still have your cheesy ass attack combo, and a long distance attack, the only thing that really changes are the spells that you can use. And as much as some of the spells can help out (specifically the defensive, and healing spells) the overall fighting system (i.e. your one combo) still is really boring. 2 out of 5.

      Multiplayer and Replayability: There is no multiplayer support to speak of in this game. As far as the replayability is concerned the only things that can be said that help it along are the facts that: 1, the game isn't too long, and 2, you can choose different forms throughout the game, but since the different forms don't really change the game play that much, one time through will definitely be enough for most people. 3 out of 5.

      Story/Dramatics: The story in the game is actually pretty interesting. The premise is as follows: The world has begun to basically get all messed up with crazy half machine-half animal type beings have begun appearing, and along with this the once quaint villages that dotted the landscape are being replaced by huge steel structures. Somehow you must find out what the connection is with these events and your own newfound ability to shift forms. The delivery of a lot of the story, however is really pathetic, with incredibly cheesy lines like the following which was delivered when the main hero explains why he wears his mask, it is both a curse and a gift... it allows me to see the evil in the hearts of men. This type of cheesiness makes the story harder to swallow, but is good for a laugh. 4 out of 5.

      The Verdict:

       This game is really just not that great. It is unfortunate that the creators had to take a good idea and develop a game that just didn't turn out to be as good as it could have been. The shape shifting needs to seriously affect the game play in order to be cool, otherwise it's just a gimmick that makes the game look cool on the cover.

      The Good: The visuals are pretty good, the story is quite interesting.

      The Bad: The different forms don't change the game play much at all, and the game lacks an overall polish that could have made it much more playable.

      The Overall Ugly: This game is worth a rental. If you actually like the combat system there is plenty for you to enjoy, but chances are you won't (because it is boring) and therefore the game is not worth playing.

      What it's Worth: $20.00.

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