While it’s nice to see Wesley Snipes trying to get back on his feet, even he can’t save the first episode of Lapland Studio Ltd’s Julius Styles: The International from being a slow-paced, problem ridden, point-and-click adventure. The game centers around Julius Styles, an “economic hitman” for hire that does all sorts of strategic, dangerous jobs from getting top secret information, to blackmailing and assassinating folks, he does it all. You start off meeting with some of his old colleagues after a mission goes wrong. After talking with them, you set off to do various tasks while meeting with them and others as you progress.
The gameplay is typical point-and-click adventure as you’ll control Styles by tapping the touchscreen to where you want him to move, while tapping a person or object to interact with them. There’s plenty of walking around, picking up items, and talking to folks to proceed in the game, and lots of little mini-game-like puzzles you’ll have to solve, from cracking safes to rewiring electricity. A neat thing about this title is that it’s an universal app, though while playing on my iPad 2, the visuals weren’t as sharp as they could’ve been. It’s as though they just blew up the picture to fit the iPad’s screen, which is easily seen in the game’s out of focus cut-scenes. It’s sad to say that the flaws just keep coming from there.
My first gripe is with the storyline, which doesn’t make any kind of sense whatsoever. The folks you meet at the beginning hit you with a lot of dialogue that makes little sense and without properly explaining who they are or what you’re really trying to accomplish. It’s as though you’re playing a sequel rather than the first ‘episode’ of the game, giving you the feeling you missed out on some of the story along the way.
Then there’s the controls, which are laggy and unresponsive most of the time. Too often while playing, I could actually see the game loading as I tried to navigate Julius across the screen. Also the way some of the walls and doors have obstructive views will frustrate most players, as it can be very difficult to find your way out of a room. This leads to a lot of unnecessary blind searching to find out what to click on and where to go, making this slow-paced game even slower. The bad controls also hurt the semi-fun puzzles like cracking open safes or playing with wires, as they lag to the point of frustration while you’re tapping like crazy to solve them.
Julius Styles: The International could’ve easily been so much better with just a few alterations to fix up its more glaring flaws, especially with its laggy gameplay, obstructive viewpoints, and worst of all, a confusing storyline that leaves you with more questions than answers (and not in a good way). It’s a real shame as the thought of Wesley Snipes playing what could be an amalgamation of his best action roles should be anything but dull, but the unresponsive controls and lazy writing make playing more a chore than exciting. Maybe with some patches it can be salvaged, but for now, you’ll want to steer clear of this international mishap, as it definitely won’t leave you looking forward to the next episode of the series. Both Wesley and players deserve better.
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Lapland Studio Ltd