Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts


Review: MindJack

5:03 PM on 01.24.2011 // Jim Sterling

History is full of games that boasted fantastic concepts, but failed to deliver when all of its brilliant ideas were put into practice. Some of the most creative games are also some of the absolute worst, as whoever came up with it simply lacked the funds, time or talent to see it through. 

You'll be thrilled to know that MindJack does nothing to buck the trend.

MindJack (Xbox 360 [reviewed], PlayStation 3)
Developer: feelplus
Publisher: Square Enix
Released: January 18, 2011
MSRP: $59.99

MindJack presents itself as a single-player game that can, at any moment, turn into a multiplayer game. The general premise is that one person acts as the host, and the host is attempting to complete the game as you would with any regular single-player title. Other players can "hack" into that game at any time, either as an ally or an enemy, and influence the way the game is played. 

That's MindJack, in theory. Similar to the Agents in the Matrix series, players can take over the bodies of soldiers, civilians and even machines. It's an undoubtedly clever scheme on paper. The final product, however, is little more than a half-finished idea, injected into the shell of a lukewarm shooter and rendered randomly unplayable due to a complete lack of balance. 

Here's the deal -- there is no incentive for the host to play this game. In any third-person-shooter, the player character is usually attacked by an army of enemies. That's usually fine, of course, because the player is capable of human thought and is able to strategize, improvise and ultimately outmaneuver an AI that has been tuned to player enjoyment. However, if three, two or even one of those enemies is capable of reacting to the player's actions on a human level, the entire game changes. Now it becomes a multiplayer battle with one side gaining an incredible advantage. 

For a single player attempting to complete this game, there's no benefit to this. At any time, you can become completely outnumbered, slaughtered, and forced to replay considerable tracts of game. If it's one-on-one, things will become tricky, especially if you're trying to fight a boss while an online opponent is also rocket-launching the crap out of you (or possessing enemies with crucial boss-killing weapons and deliberately wasting the ammo in them). In a two-on-one or a three-on-one situation you can just forget it. The game doesn't balance out enemies and allies, either letting the player choose his side or selecting a team at random. This can lead to completely imbalanced battles, and if you find yourself staring solo at three Gamertags all colored in red, you might as well turn off the console. 

The host player does have one advantage, the ability to incapacitate enemies and turn them into "Mind Slaves." These slaves will fight autonomously for the player, and the host can even leave the protagonist's body and jump into theirs, as well as any surrounding NPCs littered around. While this is a potential way of evening the odds, it rarely works as intended. Enemies typically die before you can possess them, since apparently if you deliver just one bullet over the amount it takes to incapacitate them, they'll be lost forever. Even worse, the prompt to possess an enemy is broken. It's sheer luck as to whether or not the prompt will appear and allow you to turn an enemy into a slave, and you usually have to circle the incapacitated opponent, running around it in the vain hope that the prompt will appear. Sometimes it never does, and oftentimes you'll end up cut to ribbons by enemy fire while trying. 

You can jump into various machines and creatures, including cybernetic apes and miniature tanks. While this sounds like fun, the controls for these unique characters are awful. The melee attacks of the apes rarely, if ever, connect with anything, and the tank's segmented body usually ends up so confused that you'll be pushing left on the stick to move forward, or forward on the stick to move back. It seems that nobody bothered even trying to make these things control properly, as if the mere gimmick was enough. It absolutely is not enough.

The host player can turn off the hacking to avoid being swamped by human opponents, but all you're left with when you do that is an incredibly mediocre shooter. It does just about enough to be functional and nothing else. You can take cover (which can still leave you exposed anyway), shoot with a variety of bog-standard weapons that you've seen in dozens of games already, and attempt to use the game's melee combat system. The one that, of course, doesn't work thanks to the same broken prompt system that ruins the Mind Slave ability. You also gain XP which will unlock a few augmentations for your character, but they seem to have little effect on the game itself. 

Once you take away the gimmick, MindJack is a dull affair with a story that wouldn't even be compelling enough for a made-for-TV movie. It's all dragged along with the help of some cheesy (in a bad way) dialog and washed out, lifeless, remarkably ugly graphics. To say the voice actors were acting would be a lie, and the repetitive techno music in the background echoes how lacking in heart the rest of the game is. Whether you're the host or a hacker, you have zero reason to care about anything. You get no reward for winning a match, and the host only stands to be severely punished, having to replay up to ten minutes of combat because there aren't any checkpoints. 

Not only that, but you don't even get the illusion of a game where enemies could be anybody at any time. Far from the promise of a Matrix-like experience, MindJack is little more than a staggered series of multiplayer matches with occasional cutscenes. You spend the game walking from one combat area to another, and enemies can't possess anything until the combat area's been triggered. Once the combat has been finished, all players are forced back into their original forms and the host player walks to the next area. The entire game is walk-fight-walk-fight-walk, and I fail to see how anybody could find it even slightly exciting. 

MindJack definitely gets some credit for taking an original idea and at least making it half work. The transition from single-player to a "hacked" multiplayer is smooth, with no stuttering. In fact, if you don't pay attention to your HUD, you might not initially noticed somebody hacked in. Of course, once you see an enemy glowing bright red, the illusion is shattered once again. Still, it is a laudably fresh concept that has merit, albeit a concept that's been wrapped in a stale, formulaic, generic shooter. 

The worst part is that MindJack's implementation of the shooter is so imbalanced and guileless that it actually harms the game. If I were forced to play the game online and had to deal with three-on-one matches all the time, this game's score would be significantly worse. Ironically, MindJack is only scraping by with a mediocre (as opposed to dreadful) score because you can switch off its one and only selling point, leaving you with a shooter that is ugly and boring, but is at least not frustrating and impossible. 

As soon as a developer comes along that can actually develop well, however, I think this'll be a great little game. 



Mindjack - Reviewed by Jim Sterling
Average - Like a meal of lukewarm water with white bread. It filled my time and my belly, but lacks any discernible flavor or nutritional value. A game that left me no different than it found me. Just passing through.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure JimSterling Tips
Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

DS REVIEWS: Trace Memory

Sharp cut Digital Flatbed Cutter | Sharpcut Flatbed Cutters

Things I'm Thankful For

Cblogs of 11/25/15 + Turkey N Stuff

Cheat Codes Podcast - Ep. 73: Stay Classy

NVGR: Updated Album "ADBC" (No longer an EP)

Fun2Play: Downwell

So that just happened: The Talos Principle

Sick, Sad and just dumb news: 25th November - Leighapalooza

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Torchman avatarTorchman
Got a deal on a Surface Pro 3 model that I wanted. Now I just need a deal on a PS TV in Canada and I'm golden.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
If you in the UK, don't have a PS4 and don't mind buying used/display goods there's a few reconditioned PS4 (12 month warranty) on amazon for £199.
SirDavies avatarSirDavies
my dilemma this black friday is a PS4 for bloodborne and little else or like half the games on my steam wishlist. I know in my heart which one I'm going to pick.
El Dango avatarEl Dango
"You had all the lasagna you could ever eat, yet you kept going!" "This isn't about the lasagna anymore, Jon, and I didn't come this far just to quit! Tonight, I'm making sure my name will go down in history!"
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Got DeSu2 Break Record from GS' Black Friday sale ($29.99). Love the Arrange CD. It's been far too long since I heard Meguro do something that wasn't tied to Persona. Also grabbed an extra copy of Freedom Wars since they were $5.
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Haven't been around a few days. Getting over a cold and working on a review for Superbeat: Xonic on Vita. Starting to feel better, I think / hope.
inspavo avatarinspavo
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
So I'm almost done with my first play through of Undertale and... It's okay. It's in no way bad (and I'm enjoying it more than Fallout 4 which in also playing) but feel... It was overhyped I suppose? Not sure really... Maybe a second play though will help
Agent9 avatarAgent9
Sometimes I wonder why I care. To simply have more vitriol and misery as my reward, to suffer ingrates and fools. That in all I do I'm never afforded the same respect or kindness. Let it be then, and let pain follow. I'm done with this shit.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
I was telling this dead baby joke at dinner tonight, and this lady I don't recognize says, "I'm sorry. That joke isn't funny to me, I have two dead children." At this point, I went over my options in my head and settled with telling her the joke twice.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I really wish the slowpokes at Microsoft would add Forza Horizon to Xbox One backwards compatibility.... It's my favorite racing game. And the soundtrack is honestly flawless.
Parismio avatarParismio
Some green tea and Mario Kart w/ family is a great way to end the day.
KingSigy avatarKingSigy
Honestly, Broforce might be my GOTY. It's really fucking amazing.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Welp, Remote Play is coming to PCs. Calling it now, PS Now enabled toasters and glasses will be announced at the next big Playstation event alongside cute Vita coffins made of paper you can print out of your Remote Play capable printers.
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
How did your Thanksgiving small talk with obscure relatives go? Oh, I bonded over the ethereal experience of hydrogen peroxide in ear canals but they'd never heard of Chrono Trigger so we mostly chewed the corn-flakes-on-potato thing in silence
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Don't forget [img][/img]
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
I wonder how far the show would be taken out of context if the lyrics were "Go, Go Power Rangers, you Mighty Morphine Power Rangers."
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
I just tried out Skyforge, and... [img][/img]
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Is it weird I finally want a Samurai Warriors game because I think Koshosho is super fab? [img][/img]
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
I've never cleaned my comp in the 3-4 years I have had it. Soon I will dust it. I....I dont know what I will find, hidden in the dust.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -