Version Played: Xbox 360

Current CEX Price: 50p

Very early on in Mindjack, there’s a nicely choreographed fight in a cutscene, ending with what feels like a pretty unnecessary neck snapping, followed by a hilarious non-reaction from a bystander and some very cringy dialogue. There’s a lot of this in the game; the characters and bystanders reacting – or not, as the case may be – very nonchalantly to the chaos and carnage going on around them, an awkward disconnect between the events of the game and the world it takes place in.

Let’s get this straight right now: Mindjack is not a great game. That’s putting it mildly.

And yet I’d rather play this than a ton of other titles I’ve covered on the Bargain Bin. Perhaps it’s just a symptom of so many Unreal Engine-powered, grey and brown FPS titles that you could easily mistake for one another – if you saw out of context screenshots of each game – but Mindjack feels like a game stuffed with original ideas and some genuinely decent art direction (even the box art is vibrant and colourful, with a superb cover design).

It’s just a shame that the execution is, to put it gently, a bit lacking – and that, several years after release, the multiplayer component is, of course, dead (though it’s unlikely to have been a hive of activity even when released). The reason that’s such a shame is that you can insert yourself (oo-er missus) into someone else’s game as they play – I’ve not been able to test this, but you’re asked if you want to keep this feature on when you start your campaign (I suspect it may not be as exciting or in-depth as it sounds, however).

Mindjack is a game with unusual ideas and some great design elements – perhaps because of this, it’s very rough around the edges; it seems to have been a little too ambitious for its own good, with way too many elements thrown into the mix. No single aspect has been polished to a high standard, though as mentioned above the art direction does shine through.

This all sounds very negative, but the golden question as it always is in these retrospectives: is it worth a try at current prices? You may be surprised at my answer here, but I’m going to say yes. You can find it pretty easily for less than a quid and it’s a game that at least tries to do something different.

Though it’s not the best cover shooter out there, it’s certainly not the worst and with its unusual gameplay mechanics and odd writing, it has a similar sort of campy, amusing vibe to previous Bargain Bin game, Escape from Bug Island. Mindjack definitely wouldn’t have been a full price recommendation, but there’s definite fun to be had here for the current value – though the most you’ll get will be in laughing and/or facepalming at the terrible writing and acting. A lot of wasted potential, then – in a manner not unlike Legendary, another Bargain Bin reject – but with enough wonky charm and unique elements to make it worth checking out, if only for curiosity’s sake.

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