"Fight for a cure. Fight for your life."
The 'jist of the story in Epidemic is that a lethal virus has sentenced the human race to death, so all the humans now live underground. A tyrannical regime controls the underground dwellings, giving you little to live for. You must fight for your freedom and for a cure to the virus.
Unfortunately, Epidemic is just another 1st person shooter. The 1st person genre really needs a makeover, the shoot and run formula just isn't cutting it any more. One cool aspect is the fact that the developers combined some Mech. Warrior 2 type vehicles with fast paced game play. It adds a little to the tried but not so true game play, but sadly it isn't different enough to make it a breakthrough.
The story is fairly intriguing, and introduces something missing in many shooter games - a plot. The story sequences are rendered beautifully, and are really worth watching. There is only one small flaw in the animation. This game originally came from Japan, like many games do. The animation is set-up to be voiced over in Japanese. When English was dubbed over it, it looks like a bad translated kung-fu movie. The mouths are moving when no one is talking, and the lips don't move realistically with the speech that's being said. This creates a phony feel, and detracts from the otherwise good story.
While in the game you're in a vehicle just like in Mech Warrior 2 except indoors. As your large robotic mechanical vehicle walks around, you hear the clunk-clunk of its footsteps. You hear the same 2 second clip over and over and over and over as you walk through the level. It makes it hard to concentrate on the game - and just makes me want to turn my Playstation off in frustration because you need the sound effects on to play the game.
The music is really poor in comparison to many other Playstation titles. The MIDI music used just cannot compare to the CD quality audio that most games use. A good soundtrack can really add or subtract to a game, and the repetitive nature of the music is definitely a detractor. The sound for the weapons and pop-up display that tells you about enemies is good and offsets the music.
The interface has a couple of things about it that set it apart from other 1st person shooters. The crosshair auto-aims the enemies that are either too high, or too low. And looks fairly cool as it moves around the screen. The map is the best part of the interface. It is a 3/4 overhead view showing the local area where you are, and is revealed 'line-of-sight' as you walk around the corridors. There is a compass that surrounds it, so you can really keep track of where you are going all the time; it's really helpful and was well thought out.
Now, the graphics. The 3d engine used is outdated technology in comparison to games like Quake. It looks more like a brightly lit Doom, which is actually a refreshing change from the dim and dark graphics of many other games. The textures are overused, and they cause you to believe you are in some kind of fun-house maze where everything looks the same. There is rarely a landmark. All of the weapons are the norm for 3d shooters, there are lasers, machine guns, and a variety of missiles. The lasers and missiles aren't even close to amazing, but the machine gun is a nice refresher - shells eject out quickly as your bullets fly, it looks great.
The final story is that Epidemic doesn't really offer anything new compared to other shooters. To make it in the 3d shooter market you've got to have something fresh and new. Epidemic just doesn't have it.