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Death by Degrees PS2 Review - -

Gameplay 6.5
Graphics 8.9
Sound 6.9
Value 6.9
Distributor: Namco
Review Date:
May 2005
Andrew B


Death by Degrees

The name Nina Williams, brings sighs of love from Tekken fans from around the world. This sexy assassin that made her debut from Tekken series finally returns in a solo adventure entitled Death by Degrees that has Nina investigating the whereabouts of stolen weaponry. The game is a combination of action meets adventure with an innovative 360 degree fighting system and a fluid, acrobatic hand-to-hand combat engine at her disposal, Nina must infiltrate a shadowy underworld and reveal conspiracy on a global scale. Use any means necessary—including stealth, espionage, ferocious gunplay and brutal weapon attacks—to recover the stolen goods and uncover the truth.

With that said, the fighting system of Death by Degrees was suppose to be revolutionary for this game but unfortunately it comes up short with repetitive attacks and limited combos. The game tries and give you some combos to do right at the start but these seem pointless since they are hard to execute and just don't work as effectively as continuously flicking the stick at the enemy. Nina also has the ability to fire guns and use melee weapons such as baseball bats but these are not nearly as effective as simply kicking the crap out of the enemy.

One of the most unique features in the game is the X-Ray mode. When you perform a critical strike to an opponent, a X-Ray scan comes up of the inside of the enemy's body and there will be certain places glowing red which means you have to put your pointer over top of one of those areas and flick the stick at it. After you have done this, you will exit X-Ray mode and Nina will strike the opponent with a kick or punch in the general area you attacked then it will enter X-Ray mode again and show the portion you hit breaking in some way. You can break quite a few places on the enemy's body such as their legs, arms, ribs, and skull. The weird thing is when you get farther in the game this attack won't take down must opponents so you are left fighting a dude with a broken skull who can still take quite an ass kicking before staying down.

Apart from fighting, Nina must also perform a variety of mission objectives such as getting to point B from point A which is sometimes quite a task since the map is very confusing and never really gives you a clear route to your objective. Most of the higher security doors have numbers on them which correspond to how high the security is. You will acquire fingerprints throughout the game which can be used to open these doors. Another annoying thing about the interface is the small loading times that pop up when you try to do anything like pull out a new weapon or even push a box. This little bit of loading between each thing really drags down the pace of the game.

The graphics are by far the best aspect of the game which isn't saying a whole lot. The character models are very detailed but their animations are very stilted. The environments are very bland but get the job done. The cutscenes are done very well with nice camera angles and the animation is quite good during this portion of the game. One nice touch happens after a boss battle where Nina's clothes are all ripped which gives off the feel that the boss battle was very tough but in reality they were a tad too easy.

The audio of Death by Degrees is extremely corny and some of the voice acting is extremely clichéd but this can be expected by the Tekken series and actually makes for some interesting dialogue. The musical score of the title is unfortunately a little repetitive and doesn't have the same "feel" as the Tekken fighting games but fortunately the music is only predominant in the battle scenes. The game also features a plethora of "pleasing" sound effects, especially when Nina performs her critical strike maneuver.

In conclusion, Death by Degrees is an interesting game that tries to blend the world of Tekken with that of an adventure game but unfortunately it fails in this task. With a clichéd storyline, a sexy assassin name Nina Williams and a fairly average combat system, Death by Degrees is clearly designed for the Tekken fans that is probably worth a rent before you buy.


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