After moving houses just a few short days ago, and with no internet to speak of, I was settling down to a nice relaxing week away from the daily buzz of the net to get some quality time with Beijing 2008, which Sega kindly sent me to review. However, it appears Microsoft had other plans. Read on for my full review of System Error – E 74.
Unlike the highly popular and successful Red Ring of Death or its sequel, Disc Read Error, System Error – E 74 (SEE74) is a surprisingly hard title to get hold of. To get yourself a copy, you need to have an older model Xbox 360 (1 or 2 weeks old should do) as well as a game you want to play. In my case, my review copy of Beijing 2008 and my Xbox Premium.
Simply insert the game you want to play into your Xbox and, with a bit of luck, nothing will happen and you get a single flashing red light and an error message. If this happens, congratulations, you’re now playing SEE74.
The story crafted into SEE74 is one of mystery, sadness and dragons. An epic tale of a system error gone too far. Left along in an uncaring console to try to find itself in the ever changing and patching world. 74 began as just an idle error code, alone for months in hibernation as the console world changed around it.
The game starts as 74 is awoken by an unknown force. With nothing more than its message written in several languages, it is the player’s job to help 74 track down its fellow errors and solve the mystery of why it was awoken and why it was chosen over the others.
With several surprising plot twists and an ending sure to make even the toughest gamer well up, the story really is one of the finest examples of the power of video games as a story telling medium to date.
Graphically, SEE74 is a little on the disappointing side. Using simple text and only a few different fonts, the designers really did limit themselves. Displaying the message “System Error. Contact Xbox Customer Support” in 11 languages feels very standard for this generation and leaves a lot to be desired. The hardware accompaniment of a single, flashing red light is nice a touch and clearly a subtle reference to SEE74’s inspiration, RROD.
In-game soundtrack is again on the poor side. The loud internal fans do a good job of reminding the user where they are, but a little more would have been appreciated.
The gameplay feels very similar to RROD, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The game takes the classic “Ring customer support, give all your details, turn it off, turn it on, repeat”. However, there are a few differences experiences players will defiantly pick up on. Once you get to the later levels of customer support for example, it becomes apparent that your warranty will not cover 74 and you will have to pay to get it fixed.
The Customer Support AI is solid, if a little buggy from time to time leading to occasional frustration. You will also be asked for a lot of information which will cause you to have to switch between your phone and your inventory several times. The interface here could use a little more polish, but remains practical and doesn’t detract from your game
The story of little 74 is stunning and truly the games strongest point, however you will feel a little let down that the presentation is not up to the same level. The bugs with the AI are noticeable but bearable and although frustrating, won’t detract from the overall experience of the game.
With that in mind I would have to recommend this game as a rent, even with its top notch story, you probably won’t want to play it more than once.