MindJack is a new IP from Square-Einx, who is best known for making games that aren't as good as Final Fantasy VII. This new venture is a third-person-shooter with an interesting "mind hack" mechanic, allowing you to take control of civilians, soldiers, and mechs. And no, it's not like Geist for the Gamecube. The year is 2031, and a new technology has sparked a power struggle between the haves and the have-nots. Players are given the roll of Jim "Jimboy" Corbijn, a FIA agent. He's on a routine mission to intercept a woman at an airport. That's where we come in.
And that's the last part of the story I remember. There's definitely a plot in MindJack, but there isn't much reason to pay attention to it. The first thing I noticed when booting up the game is that I was given the option to Host or Hack a game. Since this was my first go round I chose to Host a game. "Warning" the game flashed at me, letting me know it made save data. When I would return to the game later, the screen flashed "Warning" to let me know it loaded my saved data. As someone who routinely loses game data (and news articles), I don't like the word "warning" anywhere near the words "data," "save," or "load." The game was already making me nervous, and I was only a few seconds past the title screen.
I did my due diligence by checking the controls in the options menu. Nothing I hate more than running into battle with my y-axis incorrectly 'verted. I noticed that the controls are fixed for the most part, but it's your standard third-person-shooter layout.
I looked over the 'Set-Up" portion of the menu, where I hoped I could adjust who could hack my game. I could choose the number of private slots, five being the maximum. I could also adjust the Hacker Limit to either Yes or No. At the bottom of the screen appeared the message: "Stop other players from being able to HACK into your game." Okaaay. As a first-timer I chose "Yes," because I didn't want strangers hacking into my game. Any question that has to be answered: "Yes, I don't want something to happen," or "No, I do want something to happen," is trying to trick you. That's just not right.
Do you not want the gorilla to stop eating you?
I finally start up the game after wasting precious seconds at the main menu, and all is not well in the world of MindJack. This game does for blue what Gears of War did for brown. The few civilians you see are mere mannequins. Cover mechanics feel stiff and unforgiving, and the English translation is spotty in places. Mech control is horrible. The gorilla mech control is horrible, plus one. But the more I played, the more I liked it. This has got cult classic written all over it.
Just when I was steeling myself for yet another poor shooter, I hit a downed opponent with Jim's Mind Slave ability. This turned my former enemy into an A.I. drone. A lobotomized, clumsy drone, but he was my drone. Then I did it to another, and another, until the the game declared me the winner. Odd. It seemed awfully early to be declared the victor.
It turns out each encounter plays out like a mini arena battle. At the end of each scenario you are awarded experience points. As you level up you earned Plug-Ins and Rules that can grant you more firepower or change the difficulty of the game. You run a linear path between each battle, pushing the story forward.