Imagine yourself a souped-up robot, suffering from memory loss (that old convenient plot device) and linked to a secret project funded by a no-doubt foul-purposed organization called the Agency. Now on the run and seeking answers, you find yourself in a mission-based, open-world (yet awfully linear and boring) consisting of robots and rebellion. Add them together and what you end up with is Project Crossover (80 MSP).
The world (a series of hills; not much level ground, it seems) is yours to explore if you wish, though it is devoid of a personality even as it boasts dozens of chatty robots, friend and foe. Fog covers much of the environment (for framerate’s sake, I’m sure), but the thing that struck me was the denizens’ unnatural affinity for shipping containers. The world is literally littered with them, jutting out of the otherwise green / organic landscape like so many sore thumbs.
A navigational arrow keeps you on course, which can be toggled between the main quest line and secondary objectives, where applicable. Missions are doled out via conversations with the other robots friendly to your cause. Just don’t expect variety within each mission. Almost all of them task you with traveling from Point A to Point B, talking to another robot, then traveling towards another conversation. Rarely, you fetch a quest item, assassinate a target, or search a container. The optional side missions play out similarly, though these at least come with the benefit of sometimes increasing your standing in the game world, either by adding armor or a new weapon (the game has four) to your arsenal.
The single exciting bit comes in the ability to dual-wield guns, which makes the combat mildly more interesting. Ammo is plentiful (those shipping containers are warehouses for bullets), so there’s no reason not to go guns-blazing. The Agency bots will try to take you out at every turn, going on and on about your imminent demise at their hands. Pro Tip: Want to know when you’re about to be attacked? Wait for the trash talk (I did legitimately laugh at the ‘Your mother is a toaster.’ quip). These robots are just that, though; all talk. Shielded or not, they go down swiftly, and tend to be a distraction more than a threat. At best, they give you something to shoot at between the long walks.
And walk you will, shedding the digital pounds as you blandly transition from one mission to the next with zero fanfare, including a final quest that copies and pastes the same boring ‘walkathon’ concept threefold, rewarding you with a block of text that does little to resolve the actual conflict you’ve been supposedly fighting for the last hour and a half.
The biggest impediment to the game, besides its linearity and snooze-inducing structure, is that it’s just not fun, one big plodding walk to the next marker or ally that drones on. You can’t expect Assassin’s Creed for a dollar (nor should you), but the vital element of fun, motivation to see the story through, hell, the joy you should get from basic combat, is missing from the entirety of Project Crossover.