Before you get too excited, there is no dancing Christopher Walken in Weapon of Choice DX, which is a real missed opportunity in my view. No, what this is is a new game coming from developer Mommy’s Best Games, and it’s yet another entry into the platform shooting world. Can it bring anything new to the table, or should they have kept their powder dry?
Now, one thing that games in this genre are not usually blessed with is an abundance of narrative, and it’s much the same business as usual here. In fact, the whole story of Weapon of Choice DX is displayed on whatever the gaming equivalent of a piece of A4 paper is, being just one static display at the start of the game. The long and the short of it is that, just for a change, the world has been invaded by aliens. And we, as Solus operatives, must dispose of the alien threat once and for all. These aliens have the power to combine genes, so there are some weird looking creatures popping up everywhere, and they need to be terminated with extreme prejudice. Luckily, the Solus operatives, with their weird and wonderful firepower, are just the people for the job.
And boy oh boy, when they say wacky weaponry, they weren’t lying! Ranging from Xerxes (yes really) and his amazing jet engine gun, which is equally at home roasting aliens as it is blasting him through the sky, via Constance and her electrified knife throwing gun, to even more fantastic weapons like a plasma kind of chainsaw thing, there is absolutely no shortage of different ways to play through Weapon of Choice DX.
In fact, Every time you start a level, you can choose your character, and the way they play out is so different that it adds a huge amount of longevity to the game. And better still, the first time you die, you get to launch into the level again with a different character, and carry out your wounded comrade on your back. The first few times you play through levels, assuming you manage to stay alive, you may find wounded operatives, and carrying them out of the level then unlocks them for use in the levels next time around. Any you have to leave behind (you can only carry one wounded ally at a time) is then unavailable until you manage to find and rescue them. Weirdly, however, I have had allies fall through the floor when I have launched in with the next hero, so that’s not so clever.
Promising replayability due to branching levels and different routes to take through the stages, the actual set up of the game is good. You can choose to exit levels in two ways sometimes, and working the different branches gives you a variety of endings. In the very first level, for instance, the Solus commander tells you to head to the Strip mine, while a mysterious alien asks you to go another way. Choosing your path like this (or even choosing a third way, which is revealed when you complete the two starting paths) makes for a good experience, as choosing which enemies to fight is always good.
The presentation of Weapon of Choice DX is pretty bang on as well, with some beautifully drawn aliens to mess up and some weird animation on the hero characters, especially when they use the Death Brushing mechanic, of which we’ll chat more on later. The sound is good, with pumping tunes to go alongside the on-screen high octane action, and with much death and destruction being doled out on a first come, first served basis, there’s never a shortage of things – disgusting looking things at that – to shoot.
And this moves us neatly onto the big question that arises with any game like this – how does it play? Well, weirdly, is the short answer.
Despite looking like a regular platform shooter, the actual combat is more akin to a twin-sticker, as the right stick not only aims the gun, but fires it as well. It does take some getting used to, I’m not going to lie, but after a bit it starts to feel okay and Weapon of Choice plays well. The same can’t be said for the jumping, which as a default is mapped to the LT button. I can’t tell you how weird it feels, pressing LT to jump while the A button – the usual jump button – does nothing. I can see the thought process behind it, the right stick is shooting so put the jump on the left, but it feels awkward.
Other things worth mentioning while I’m on the gameplay train is in regards the kind of spider backpack you have; something which will grab walls and ceilings and allow you to walk along or up them. There is something to be said for creeping along the roof, picking off the creatures below from relative safety. The other new mechanic is the so called “Death Brushing”, which basically means when you are about to die, Weapon of Choice DX slows down and zooms in on the danger, allowing you to either quickly shoot it, or jump up and away from the danger, whatever may work best for the situation. This works really well, is an interesting addition and has saved my bacon more than a few times.
So, in conclusion, Weapon of Choice DX is an interesting proposition. It isn’t massively long, but with multiple difficulties really ramping the challenge up, and many operatives to master, there is enough to keep you coming back. Being able to remap the controls makes the game feel better, yet Weapon of Choice DX is an enjoyable blast that should help you while away the hours.
Get your shooting fix with Weapon of Choice DX from the Xbox Store