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Codename: Phantom Review: More Bland Than Bond

by Jamie Feltham • November 23rd, 2017
Platforms: Rift (Reviewed), Vive
Positives

- Challenging skill-based gameplay for those that want it

Negatives

- Simple, uninspired design
- Tediously repetitive
- Less than 30 minutes of content

Codename: Phantom fancies itself as a bit of a James Bond simulator; a game in which you take part in stylish shoot outs in enemy lairs while suave secret agent music plays in the background. If developer Imperia Online nailed it, this could have been an action-flavored complement to I Expect You To Die. Sadly, though, it’s more Octopussy than Skyfall.

Phantom consists of over 40 missions set in three main environments, with two objective types. The first is simply to kill all enemies while the second is to, well, kill all enemies but before they shoot a hostage. You’re dropped into one spot in the environment where, oddly, enemies won’t notice you until you take the first shot. As soon as everyone’s sufficiently bullet-riddled you move onto the next shooting gallery. Rinse and repeat for about 25 minutes on the normal mode (or significantly longer on the hardcore mode) and you’ll reach the end.

Shootouts are thrill-free; there are some red barrels, steam pipes and loose vents to use for environmental kills but otherwise you’ll be trying to pop headshots as quickly as possible and it’s an agitated tut and a quick click of the restart button should you fail. The game’s main draw is a scoring system that will reward you for accuracy and context-sensitive kills, but it doesn’t have much complexity to it other than waiting for the right time to take the first shot and then hoping you’re accurate enough to kill everyone before they kill you. It makes me wonder how you got the codename ‘Phantom’; whichever secret agency this is it’s got some pretty low standards.

There is a special ability to see through walls that’s locked to a cooldown timer, but I wouldn’t say that exactly mixes things up. You’ll occasionally need to lean one way or the other to get a slightly better angle but, for the most part, once alerted enemies will run right in front of you, ready to die. Throw in some bland visuals with PS2-era character models and you’ve got yourself one truly forgettable package.

If you should so desire, the hardcore mode does offer a genuine challenge, as just one shot will kill you and the laser targets disappear, making aiming significantly harder. I could see the appeal in wanting to train your virtual marksmanship here but, frankly, there are better, slicker games to do that in.

Final Score: 4/10 – Forgettable

It’s pretty easy to see through Codename: Phantom’s disguise; what initially looks like a fun skill-based shooter turns out to be repetitive, uninspired and short-lived. If you want to feel like Bond in VR, there’s a better game I expect you to buy.

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