Fans of Stargate SG1 can rejoice, for a game based on the series has arrived! Stargate SG-1: Unleashed Episode 1 brings back the original cast members of the series to reprise their characters, and man they got everyone. There's Jack O’Neil (Richard Dean Anderson), Dr. Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks), Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping), and Teal’c (Christopher Judge). And yes, you play as all of them in some point or another. This action/stealth game has you on a journey with them to save the world from Sekhmet, daughter of Ra, who has been released and is out to stir up hell.
This game features 3D graphics that are crisp, smooth, and taste good with peanut butter. The character models are excellent likenesses to their respective actors, which is good, given the number of cut scenes featuring them. Add that to an in-depth and intriguing story and it's like you're watching a film. Everyone has a purpose, and there's clear stakes to everything that's going on.
The controls are some of the finest controls in an iOS game. The joystick on the left will adjust to the players thumb placement on the screen, so instead of the player having to place his thumb in the exact middle of the joystick, it adjusts to your movements. It’s only natural for your fingers to migrate during gameplay and this feature makes it so much easier to maneuver. All that's necessary to shoot at something is to tap on the thing you want to shoot, which eliminates the frustration of precision aiming and frees up the screen because there’s not another reticle taking up precious space. The game tells you exactly when and what to do for any other moves necessary, which is useful information to know, but also ends up being a bit of a problem.
Because the game often prompts the player on when and what to do, there’s no freedom to make choices. A free man chooses, a slave obeys -- you jump when the game says jump, and dodge when it says dodge. If you try to do these moves on your own when unprompted, they don't work. The game play consists mostly of sneaking around a slave camp. Sneak here to get a bottle of beer, sneak here to get some water. Don’t let the guards see you or you fail the mission and have to start over again. It’s pleasant, but again, there’s not much of a choice on what you get to do, and the missions are pretty short and easy to accomplish. There are some scenes where you get to do battle and gun down some bad guys -- you know, the exciting stuff, but they're few and far between.
Actually, the game play itself is few and far between. The cut scenes comprise most of episode one. It’s like watching a full length Stargate movie with an added 30-60 minutes of interactive game play. The whole episode is short, literally taking a few hours to complete and lacking any sort of replayability. During the cut scenes the player is given a few options that influence the direction the game goes, which is fun; however, most of these “options” provided all lead you to the same outcome no matter what you choose.
Stargate SG-1: Unleashed Ep 1 is a dream come true for fans of the series, but for gamers looking for a fun adventure/stealth game, it's merely decent. The story is immersive, along with the 3D graphics, and the controls are great. If only there was more actual “playing” time and freedom to do what you want to do, it’d be fantastic. As it stands now, this is one game that I can only recommend to fans of the series.