Alekhine's Gun (PlayStation 4) Review

By Renan Fontes 18.01.2017

Review for Alekhine

Ambition is a double-edged sword when it comes to videogames. When an ambitious title manages to pull off everything it seeks to its often regarded highly since the developers took a risk and it paid off, but when an ambitious title fails there's potential for a severe backlash. One of the most frequent traps ambitious developers fall into is bloating their game with whatever ideas they can get their hands on without stopping to ask themselves if those ideas mesh within the game's design. Alekhine's Gun is ambitious in both gameplay and story, but its ambition might have been too much for it to handle.

Alekhine's Gun level design is much in the same vein as Hitman. Agent Alekhine will need to disguise and stealth himself through stages while relying on gunplay as a last resort. In theory, the satisfaction of the level design would come from completing objectives without being seen or arising suspicion, but there is little to satisfy in Maximum Games' faux-noir shooter.

Agent Alekhine's controls are unrefined at best and downright broken at worst. His body lacks any real weight and the mere act of walking can be a trial at times, let alone actually interacting with the environment.

The enemy AI makes stages all the worse since they lack any sort of actual intelligence while also displaying an omnipotence that stops stealth before it even begins.

Gunplay naturally begins when spotted, but the majority of guns are either uninspired or useless, a development theme that runs fairly consistently through Alekhine's Gun's design.

All 11 story stages are bafflingly linear with little to no room for experimentation. Alekhine's guns and disguises are ultimately useless, the disguises feeling like a cosmetic change more than anything since stealth jumps between being incredibly easy and an utter waste of time.

The AI does not interact with Alekhine in a fun or engaging way, simply acting as tedious roadblocks that make the already boring campaign more monotonous.

Screenshot for Alekhine's Gun on PlayStation 4

If the story were halfway decent, it's possible the gameplay and design flaws could be not forgiven, but at least ignored. A good story can make those tedious moment worthwhile, but Alekhine's Gun unfortunately does not have a good story.

The concept of jumping between World War II and the Cold War is a good one, and in the hands of a more competent writer a story that utilises real life, political set pieces could have really shone.

Nothing feels earned in the plot. Agent Alekhine jumps from historical event to event with little to no motives or justification. An agent experiencing the passage of time and the ever-changing political constants of the mid-20th century lends itself for an excellent character arc, but Alekhine remains relatively static throughout the entire plot.

Maximum Games' tagline is almost funny: the "Best Cold War Shooter." The hubris speaks for itself, but it's also worth noting that Alekhine's Gun design pushes for stealth, not gunplay. Had the game actually worked as intended, there would be little to no shooting involved, and at least half the story wouldn't have even involved the Cold War. From the tagline to the content, there's little to admire about the best cold war shooter.

Screenshot for Alekhine's Gun on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

2/10
Rated 2 out of 10

Very Bad

Alekhine's Gun proves that ambition can only get a game so far. There are good ideas from both a gameplay and narrative perspective, but Maximum Games' implementation of all those features stops at the inclusion. The stealth aspect is never fully developed or utilised, while the gunplay has had the bare minimum of effort put into it. The story jumps between World War II and the Cold War, a genuinely novel idea, but mediocre writing and spastic pacing disallow the plot from actually developing any of its themes or characters. With no polish or direction to speak of, Alekhine's Gun is little more than a broken third-person shooter that believes it's so much better than it is.

Developer

Maximum Games

Publisher

Maximum Games

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  2/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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