PDZ makes excellent use of the X360 controller. The default configuration is the same as Halo, so most players should just fall right into it without wasting any time. I was particularly impressed with the analogue triggers on the new controller – if you’ve got a weapon with a telescopic sight on it the amount that you pull the trigger dictates how far you zoom; this sounds like it could be tricky to get the hang of, but in practice it wasn’t at all.
But there is one aspect of the control method that’s been driving me mad. It seems that despite being expertly trained in armed and unarmed combat, Joanna is physically unable to jump! For some reason Rare has decided that you don’t need to jump in PDZ, which is frustrating beyond belief. If you’re used to playing FPS games, you will, like me, find yourself walking up to railings and boxes and just expecting to be able to jump over or onto them – but you can’t.
The AI of the computer controlled characters is also a bone of contention. There are times when a group of enemies will pin you down while their mates try to flank you, leaving you thinking “Wow this AI is good”. But then in other situations enemies appear mind numbingly stupid and will happily just run into your stream of gun fire if your aim is a little off.
Taking a leaf out of Halo’s book, PDZ only lets you carry a limited number of weapons – to be fair PDZ actually does this better than Halo. Whereas in Halo you can carry any two weapons, in PDZ the amount of weapons you can carry is down to their physical size – a large machine gun will take up all your weapon space, or you could carry an SMG, pistol and a grenade instead, it’s all a matter of balance. Whatever weapons you end a level with will be available in your inventory – you can choose your load-out before you start each mission.