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Company: DreamWorks Interactive
Estimated Street Price: £35/$40
Review By: Byron Hinson
Well now...Trespasser has become one of the most hyped games in history thanks to both DreamWorks and a number of previews in PC and online magazines. These previews told everyone how you could expect Trespasser to become one of the games of the year, how the amazing physics engine would become a benchmark in 3D games. Unfortunately, most of the hype has failed to become a reality....here are a number of the so called features that were going to make it into the game.
Here is the storyline - You play Anne (Minnie Driver) you are going out on an expedition somewhere when suddenly, your empty plane (bar the pilot) crashes on Site B. The aim is to get off of Site B as fast as possible.....Yes, that is the great storyline.
Installation and In-Game Options
Trespasser installs without any problems at all, it installs DirectX 6 as needed and offers you a number of options on how to install the game. I went with the full installation of over 350mbs and I recommend anyone who wants to play this game at a somewhat reasonable rate to do the same.
The first time the game loads I went to the video card options screen and changed the driver from the default Trespasser software driver to my 8mb AGP card (Trespasser recommends an AGP card for optimal speed, yeah right)
The game begins with a short, poorly looking, introduction sequence with a voice over by Richard Attenborough. Despite the fact that the intro looks like it was made 2-3 years ago, the music and voice over are great. Next we get the full options screen, I clicked on New Game and the hard drive got into action, the first level (training) takes a short time to load.
The first level loads and at first looks amazing, you are facing out to sea just after the plane has crashed down, bits of debris are lying around you and rocks and pebbles are slipping off of cliffs nearby and falling into the sea with a great degree of detail. While facing the sea and watching the rocks fall in the water all looks great, at some point you must decide to turn around and start your journey off of Site B, I turned the mouse to the left and to my horror, my PII 450 looked as if it has turned back into my old 166. The screen jerks at around 10-15 FPS when turning, and this is when there is very little on the screen apart from trees.
A lot has been made about how Trespasser's graphics would be amazing when It comes out, screenshots looked amazing etc etc and all the talk was that you wouldn't need to have a 3D card. Gradually over the past 6-8 months DreamWorks seemed to change their mind as they added 3D support in what looks like a last ditch attempt to give the graphics engine a much needed speed boost. All I can say is that the screenshots branded about in a number of magazines and on the DreamWorks website must have been either A: Faked or B: The game must have been playing on some amazing never released PC running at 2000 MHZ because the in-game graphics DO NOT look anywhere near the shots posted by DreamWorks, What went wrong?
Some people have said the shots that were posted on various websites were from the Intro and cutscenes, well perhaps someone can point me to those because all I saw on my CD was a poor intro and a poor ending, neither of which contained one glimpse of a dinosaur.
Right, back to the game. As I turned around in Trespasser, the tutorial instructed me to press the W key to walk forwards, I did so and it seemed a pretty slow walk, I looked in the manual and saw that the W key was actually RUN, this left me even more baffled at the speed of movement.
The outdoor terrain mainly consists of trees, shrubs, rocks and sometimes a building or two. You can only see a short distance before everything gets blocky and the trees etc end up looking as if they are floating. Whilest playing this first level, I kept thinking that things can only get better, boy was I wrong, I assumed that when I reached the first indoor areas (Level 3 onwards) that the game would speed up, but once inside buildings the game got even slower.
The dinosaurs look fine from a reasonable distance, but once you get up close to them they, as do most things in Trespasser turn blocky. I was rather surprised that the game didn't stall to a halt when I came up against the T-Rex and two Raptors.
I tried a number of things to try and get the speed and detail up. Changing my driver to the Voodoo 2 added speed but the detail was far worse. The so called software driver that DreamWorks used to say would run fine on a P200 looked good but ran like a legless dog.
The sound and music in Trespasser are thankfully a couple of plus points. The sounds are suitably jungle like. Bird squawk, trees and undergrowth make the correct sounds when you walk past them and all the weapons, crates and drums that you pick up during the game are perfectly recreated. Minnie Driver does the voice over for Anne well and Richard Attenborough as I mentioned before pops up as Hammond.
An orchestral soundtrack starts up at various points in the game, like when you first meet the T-Rex or notice some ruins in the distance.
Physics, Controls and AI
The controls and physics side to Trespasser consists mainly of your right arm and how you can manipulate objects with it. Any object in your hand can be manipulated in any number of ways: turned, rotated, twisted, swung, stretched out for miles (That's a bug Byron, not a feature). It's very difficult to get used to, especially when trying to place creates or planks up against walls to try and reach a higher building or platform.
There are a number of problems with this control (None that couldn't be fixed I'm sure). Turn you hand one way and it tends to go the other way, attempt to twist or rotate it and the hand flies off anywhere it likes.
As I mentioned earlier, running seems to feel as if you are walking (I've tried the patch and it still isn't fast enough). Jumping onto crates and anything else you want to during the game is more a case of hit Q and hope. The way you check you health is by looking down at your left boob, while this may be highly amusing to some, it does tend to add a sad factor the more and more you have to look at it.
The amazing AI that the hype has been built up around is another low point. While some dinosaurs such as the Raptors are quite intelligent and hunt in packs, the T-Rex is just plain dumb, I came up against a number of them during the game and never once died. I even stood by the side of one while it was eating another dinosaur it had just killed, shot him a couple of times, run around him and still he just carried on eating.
If Trespasser is one thing, it's unique, I have never played a game like it before. The emphasis was placed on realism and of being stuck on Site B and having to get off as soon as possible, while some parts are realistic, (Throwing rocks up to a ledge to knock down boxes that you need) the majority of things you have to do are just insane. Small ledges need crates to be placed in front of them so you can jump over, when in real life the ledge would be so small, even a baby could probably get over it. So called steep mountain terrain stops you from climbing, despite the fact that yet again in real life anyone could climb it.
There are a number of set-pieces in the game that have been made by the creators so you can try something different, these range from making a range rover topple over a hill and onto a raptor to making a range rover topple over a hill onto a raptor (Oh sorry they are identical set-pieces). These bits of game could have been great if it wasn't the fact that the whole of Site B seems like a military weapons dump with shotguns, machine guns and pistols lying about all over the place. Most people would just ignore the range rovers and simply blow the raptors away with one of their guns.
I was also disappointed to have completed Trespasser in less than two days, and for a game that has been hyped up for its AI this makes it even worse.
Don't get me wrong, one part of me enjoyed the game enough to spend almost two days completing it. There are too many bugs and graphical glitches for me to recommend the game as a good buy. Perhaps if DreamWorks spent more time on the game engine instead of hyping it up then we might have seen something fast and speedy, instead we are lumbered with what looks like an unfinished beta and one that doesn't look like it can be fixed.
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In The Box?
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