First Impressions: In a Jack Bauer voice: "Sit down, shut up and read this preview! NOW!"
The wait for the 24 video game is almost over. And it's a wait that fans have been partaking in since 24 debuted almost four years ago. And why not? The show's video game-like narrative of espionage, gadgets, firefights, car chases, data analysis would correspond well to a controller.
Right away we can tell why a video game version of 24 took as long as it did: nearly everyone from the show is involved in some way. Almost the entire cast has been publicly confirmed that they will be lending their voice and their likeness to the game. One of 24's writers (Duppy Demetrius) will be penning the script for the game. The show's composer (Sean Callery) is on hand to supply music. And of course, essential sound effects and split screen action will propel the story forward. All of this work is being done by Sony's Cambridge Studio, but strangely, the it's being published in America by 2K Games.
Leading the charge will be Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer. For a man who is bothered by guns and violence as much as Sutherland is, it's amazing how he can channel Bauer's rage. Fans of the show know that he is a one man wrecking crew and that looks like it will translate over into the game. Taking place between the second and third seasons of the show, 24 The Game will tell the story of who ran the country while President Palmer recovered from his assassination attempt, how Jack and Chase Edmunds first started working together and the first days of Chloe's tenure as 24's best (and most annoying) computer analyst.
All of these elements will come together to lay down the story framework for all of the show's great action sequences I talked about above. Most of the game will be centered around Jack in a third-person action shootout. Like every hour of 24, he will lead a team (either stealthily or guns blazing, the choice is yours) into a building to apprehend a suspect or take down some illegal operation or something else equally shooteriffic. To do this Jack will be able to auto-aim anyone he can see and then further lock on to the hostiles for a headshot or disarming fire. Using cover, Jack can get in close to arrest the various criminal leaders because you can't kill those you'll need to interrogate. Speaking of...
One of the main set pieces of the show (especially this past season) is seeing Jack attempt to "break" a suspect so he'll supply CTU with the information they need. Like the recent Punisher game, interrogating a suspect will be done by applying pressure to a suspect and keeping that pressure in a "safe zone" of an on-screen meter. The Punisher used the analog sticks for this process, but 24 The Game will use the four face buttons as Jack can't start choking someone in an interrogation like Frank Castle can. Instead, Jack can only talk to his subject and three of the face buttons correspond to his tactics: Aggressive, Coax and Calm. When the pressure is in the safe zone at the right time, pressing Circle will "Break" the suspect and he'll sing like a canary.
But to reach the various evil agents, Jack will need the help of his team and through a series of mini-games that will happen. Chloe O'Brien and the rest of the CTU analyst team (including Jack's daughter Kim) will be required to tap phones, crack codes, search buildings for hostiles using infrared and satellite imagery and on and on and on. These other members of the team will also be playable at various points with Tony, Michelle and Kim all confirmed as additional playable characters. I'm sure that list will only grow.
Rounding out the mission types are the sniper level and the vehicle level. Not much is really known about either at this point except that like on the show, Jack will be required to perform some fancy maneuvers behind the wheel of a car and get behind the scope of a sniper rifle to lay down some cover fire.
Currently, there are plans for 100 mini missions that will make up this "day" of 24. Each mission will be individually timed and, according to Cambridge, at the end of the day it will add up to 24 hours of gameplay. Now that's dedication to your source material.
Further dedication comes from the game's graphical style that apes the show and all of it's split screen effects perfectly. All of the characters resemble their real-life counterpart and if you're not looking closely, the environments could fool any fan of the show into thinking they were from an actual episode of the show. The world of terrorists and Counter Terrorists isn't pretty, but at least the game will be.