Developer(s) – Eko System
Publisher(s) – Cryo Interactive & Wanadoo
ELSPA – 3
Released in 2000 as an extremely early PlayStation 2 title, Gift was a 3D platformer predating many of the amazing games in the genre released on the system, which set an entirely new standard within the industry on the back of the success of the likes of Spyro the Dragon and Super Mario 64. Gift, however, falls drastically short of industry standards and is most definitely the worst PlayStation 2 game I have ever played.
Graphics – 3/10
The developers made no effort to attempt to showcase the capability of the PlayStation 2 in its early stages, instead only creating something on par with the original PlayStation. The conceptual design is also extremely nonsensical and meaningless. Oftentimes, developers will attempt to create something very outlandish, which at first glance may seem like a bunch of random ideas, but most often form what is an extremely interesting and cohesive concept. But everything down to the main character in Gift simply makes for a senseless mixture of different ideas, which don’t go well together at all.
Gameplay – 2/10
Even worse than the game’s visuals is its style of play. The game is a 3D platforming puzzle game with some of the weakest combat elements I’ve ever seen in a video game. There is next to no variety in abilities and move sets, and the puzzle-solving elements are just as woeful. It also tried to incorporate some variety by having a semi-non-linear progression to it, but in the end, it merely comes across as an unimaginative rip-off of Crash Bandicoot.
Controls – 6/10
The controls are also hopeless unresponsive, which adds even more to the frustration of engaging in combat with enemies. The jumping mechanics just about qualify as adequate, which is a small saving grace, since if there were equal complications with them as there are in combat, it would be catastrophic since it is a 3D platformer.
Lifespan – 3/10
The game can merely be made to last an average of 6 hours, which is below par for not just what would be seen later on in the PlayStation 2’s lifespan, but also below par what had already been seen on the likes of the original PlayStation and the Nintendo 64. Super Mario 64, Donkey Kong 64, and Spyro the Dragon could be made to last upwards of 20 hours each, which in turn, highlights this game’s lack of imagination and variety.
Storyline – 4/10
The story follows a creature called Gift, who is sent by the game’s developers to save a kidnapped princess character and save the day. Aside from some small comedic elements and the breaking of the fourth wall, the game’s story has very little else going for it. The opening cutscene would seem to suggest that this game is a comedy by genre, but the atmosphere it portrays throughout the rest of the title would suggest something different and inconsistent to the initially supposed tableau that the game opens on, which makes for a very contradictory experience.
Originality – 0/10
Aside from every other fault, I have listed with this game so far, there is also absolutely nothing in the way of uniqueness that this game has going for it. Combat and puzzle-solving of its kind had been perfected with Ocarina of Time and platforming of its kind had been perfected with Super Mario 64, and consequently, it presented players with an experience that would never have been capable of meeting expectations of any nature for a 3D platformer.
Overall, Gift is a hopelessly lackluster gaming experience and one that I am not able to recommend under any circumstance. It’s unoriginal, riddled with errors, and certainly as forgettable as its level of obscurity would suggest.