Restricted Area is a cyber-punk RPG set in the year 2083, a time when most of the Earth is covered by wastelands and contaminated deserts that just happen to be inhabited by mutants. The hope of Whiptail Interactive was apparently to have a successful game in the mold of Diablo and Fallout, both of which served as inspiration for the click-attack combat and isometric camera angles. But where Restricted Area falls short of these great games is its content, or lack thereof.
What I mean by the lack of content is that the main story is fairly short by comparison, although it does change slightly depending on which character you are playing. There are also side quests to pick up money and loot, but even these get pretty dull and repetitive after a while.
The game starts out by players choosing one of four characters, each with unique skills and attributes. There’s Johnson, who is basically a warrior-type character and specializes in heavy weaponry. Kenji is skilled with swords and other melee weapons. Jessica, the hacker, has a droid that assists her in battle. And Victoria, who is the cyber equivalent of a warlock, can use her powers to inflict damage on the enemy or to heal herself.
Each character’s special abilities really start to shine as you gain experience and level them up. One interesting twist is that instead of upgrading your armor like in so many other games, in Restricted Area you switch out your body parts for better ones. So instead of looting a helmet or boots, you will be looting cyber-enhanced brains, eyes and leg implants. It is a little disappointing that when you equip your new arms and legs you can’t see them on your character, but you will notice the effects of your new implants right away. Just remember to appreciate them while you’ve got them, because the gameplay is so repetitive that you’ll probably not appreciate that aspect of the game.
Like Diabo, the graphics in Restricted Area have 2D sprites, and although they may not be as impressive as a fully 3D graphics engine, it does seem to fit the whole futuristic cyber-punk feel the game is going for. Likewise, the sound effects are a lot like the game’s graphics in that they really don’t stand out but do the job they’re meant to do. The soundtrack is surprisingly good and features some very catchy tunes, but the voice acting varies from OK to awful.
Another disappointing aspect is that multiplayer games are restricted to a two-player cooperative mode and are only available over a LAN or direct IP connection, making it impossible to just pop online and find someone to jump into a game with.
Put all this together, and Restricted Area doesn’t end up being a bad game, necessarily; it just gives you a feeling of “been there, done that.” Restricted Area doesn’t really offer anything new to the action RPG genre, and it’s probably not a game that will hold your attention for very long.
- Gameplay: 6.5
- Main quest is short and multiplayer options are limited.
- Graphics: 6
- Outdated 2D graphics.
- Sound: 6
- Bad voice acting but good music tracks.
- Replay: 4
- Probably won’t hold your attention for long.
- Overall: 7
- Nothing to get too excited about, it’s definitely no Diablo.
— Randie Kilgore