ONE coulda been a contenda...
Wondering what the hell that blood-red barcode you're seeing everywhere is? It's the insignia for the action game ONE, from ASC Games. They've certainly put a lot into the advertising campaign, but does ONE live up to all the hype?
Forty years in the future, a hostile military establishment has assumed control. You are John Cain, serial #0001, and the product of a military experiment gone wrong. You awaken in your apartment, only to realize that your left arm has been replaced by a cybernetic weapon. Suddenly, a helicopter appears outside your window and opens fire.
Not much of a story, but that isn't what the strength of ONE was supposed to be. ONE is an action game in its truest form. Forget the story, just get to the ass-kicking.
As action games go, this is the most intense I've ever seen. This is like a blockbuster Hollywood action movie, full of cutting edge special effects, huge explosions, rampant gunfire, deadly action, and little to no story. The design of ONE is incredible. You'd swear it was a N64 game by its graphics and lack of load times. I don't know how they did it, but ONE has the largest, best looking levels out on the market. Even better, you never have to wait for loading during a level. It's fluid as can be. And back to the graphics; they're amazing for the Playstation. ONE easily has some of the best graphics to be seen on the Playstation.
ONE definitely packs a visual punch, but as we all know (even if many game designers don't), that doesn't make the game. And like many games before, gameplay killed the cat. It really breaks my heart that the controls are so bad in ONE. This game has almost everything going for it, graphics, intensity, design, and sounds, but the most important part is seriously lacking. The problem with the controls is that they are way too sensitive. You know the deal: try to make an easy jump onto a small platform and fly way over it, or correct yourself a million times in mid-air and still slip off. ONE drives you insane with an endless amount of jumping onto small platforms. I'd say that the bad control leads to 95% of all deaths in the game. It's just not fun to try to make 100 stupid little jumps in a row, only to fall off on the very last one because your were overconfident with your ability. What makes it worse is that the save points on the levels are spread so far apart that you often have to do ridiculously long and difficult parts over and over. Good luck passing the last level- a true jumping nightmare.
If you can put up with the terrible controls, ONE is a rewarding experience. It's worth the torment to see the awesome graphics and enemies. In the second level for example, you are being chased across the rooftops of a city, and you have to jump from building to building and shoot down towers and billboards to cross large gaps. Eventually you end up jumping onto a huge airship and you have to defend it from aerial attacks by enemy fighters. While you're doing all of this, you hear the radio transmissions from the enemies, stating your location and other pursuit-related topics. It's difficult to describe the sense of reality and intensity of the moment. After passing the level, you get treated to the third level, which is also truly amazing.
You don't have many attacks in ONE, but they get the job done. You have a gun and access to three different special weapons. You can also perform close-ranged combination attacks and charge up for a special attack. The unique thing about ONE is that your character has a rage meter. When you kill a lot of things, you get pumped up, or enraged, and you start shooting faster, moving faster, and can even perform a special bomb attack. You also are healed from damage by killing enemies. This really forces the action aspect of the game.
There are also a variety of moves at your disposal. You can crouch and move around, perform somersaults, dive, lock yourself in position and fire, or strafe. You'll need all these moves in order to survive this huge adventure. Hell, you'll put all those moves to use in the first level, where a helicopter is shooting out all the windows and walkways in the building as you run by.
ONE is definitely an astounding production. That's why the control problem really plagued me as I decided my rating for the game. You can deal with the bad controls if you're patient, but don't expect to pass the last level without pulling out all your hair. Everything before that is worth it though. If they had made the controls better, I'd be telling you to go to the store right now to buy ONE; but they didn't, so I won't. Instead I'm telling you to definitely go rent ONE and see if you can tolerate the headaches. It is an awesome game that will make you want to cry when you die a million times in a row. All said, ONE is almost a winner. (Wow, I made it through this whole review without using any puns! You're welcome!)