I went into Maximum Games’ Alekhine's Gun only knowing that for some reason, Sony advertised it on their YouTube channel. I thought that was kind of odd because the game looked terrible; so obviously I had to try it. Thankfully the nice people at CGM gave me the opportunity to review it and, wow, what a train wreck. Since it’s been out for a while, there isn’t much more to say that hasn’t already been said, but I want to make this review unique so I’ll give it a try.
This game is a broken mess. It’s like someone forgot to put Hitman back in the fridge and now it’s all mouldy and no one wants it anymore. It’s borderline unplayable, and insultingly priced at $59.99.
The story is told through still cut scenes that somehow have frame rate issues. As the camera pans through these still images, it chugs along like a guy without a steady hand pulling the film reel manually. Throughout this embarrassment, some of the worst voice acting I’ve ever had the displeasure of listening to plays over these pictures. If that’s not bad enough it sounds like the voices were recorded in a basement or some kind of echo chamber. There is a story, but I can’t say I got far enough into the game to really know what’s going on. The plot begins after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy; a CIA agent struck with guilt for the loss of his president and his family (they were murdered too for some reason) kills himself. This takes place during a joint investigation with the KGB and causes the Russian investigators to look back at the agent’s affiliation with the head of the organization during World War II.
I didn’t get really hooked into the story is because the rest of the game is broken as hell. I try not to be too critical of the work from small studios, but Alekhine's Gun is unplayable. It brings terrible flashbacks of Alpha Protocol, which had some really interesting concepts but was also too broken to play. Imagine that with Alekhine's Gun, but without the interesting ideas. It’s literally Hitman with terrible controls and visuals (but we’ll talk about that in a little bit). You have about 8 weapons you can carry with you, but I wouldn’t recommend taking any more than 4. You use the PS4 directional arrows to change your weapons. Once the four directions are taken up the items are stored diagonally. Normally, just simply pressing two buttons will allow you to access the weapon you need but in Alekhine's Gun you have to fight with the controls until finally, by luck, you get your wire out.
Once you’re done fumbling through the weapons selection you must sneak through the map. Like Hitman, your first task is to take out guards, change your clothes and find your target. At one point, I actually changed in the middle of the light with guards around me and no one noticed. Taking cover was a mess and only worked sometimes. When attempting to sneak throughout the area, trying to hide required pressing the button several times before my character actually obeyed my order. While all this is happening, I was fighting the camera, which was way too finicky. Every attempt to change my perspective caused the camera to almost spin out of control, and when I got indoors, it only got worse. Every time I went into a smaller room, I’d completely lose all my visuals as the camera swung behind a wall. In a hallway, it would zoom up way too close to my character. The camera sort of bumps up and down while you walk, and when you try to change your perspective it spins way out of control. It made me sick and the assassinations were more difficult than they needed to be because I never got a real look at my surroundings.
That’s probably for the best though. This game looks like crap. The contrast between light and shadow is so over exaggerated it actually hurt my eyes. The character models are laughable as well. The entire game looks like it belongs in a bygone generation. It’s more akin to an early Xbox 360 game than a PS4 title.
If Alekhine's Gun came out 12 years ago, I’m sure it would be a perfectly acceptable game. But unfortunately, it’s 2016. It looks terrible and plays worse. I cannot recommend this game at all, to anybody, for any reason. For $59.99 you can get something much better, more enjoyable and actually finished. Stay away from this mess. You’ll thank me for it.