Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is a game about the future - a future of cybernetics and advanced technology. It's a future where evil exists and megalomaniacs terrorize the world through nano-infected rice.
You will get to romp through the world of the future in 3 guises as you become entwined in a conspiracy of global proportions. You start out as the beautiful and talented Major Motoko Kusanagi - a cybernetic super secret weapon from Section 9 - who has a cybernetic body a human brain and is all woman. Then there is the not so beautiful funky-eyed Batou, her partner from Section 9. And lastly, you will play Tachikoma a cybernetic spider-like support agent (who carries a very big gun).
The adventure begins at the docks with a simple data recovery/investigation of a criminal organization, and what you thought was a simple arms deal that becomes about rice… Then the real fun begins as you eventually end up in the Tohoku Autonomous Region - a huge abandoned megaplex infested with enemy agents. As you work your way through the clues you will go as either the Motoko or Batou, battling enemy soldiers in an attempt to get closer to the truth.
There are a number of weapons that you will acquire throughout the game - though you can only carry 2 at a time. The weapon issued by Section 9 is the Seburo C26A, basically a supped up P90 that rocks! There are also the weapons that are dropped by fallen enemies; sub-machineguns, assault rifles, grenade launchers, missile launchers and more. You will also have in your personal arsenal a pocket full of frag grenades and some way cool spark grenades (which toast cybernetics with a flashy sparkly effect).
Ghost in the Shell is not just about hosing down and blowing up the enemy - fun though that is. There is also a puzzle solving aspect to the game. At certain points you will have to figure out how to get over, across or through an area. It's at these parts of the game where you will be challenged with both your puzzle solving skills and your athletic ability (well athletics in terms of your button pushing and joystick toggling skills). Some of them are fairly obvious, others are not, and some of them will probably make you want to scream (I know I did).
Your probably thinking this is all well and good, but what does the game have to do with the separation of mind and body?
Good question, and here is the very cool answer. Both the Major and Batou, being cybernetic warriors, have the ability to reach out and touch someone via their cybernetic systems. Some of the enemies that you will take down will have security codes and cybernetic keys that you can download into your own system. By using these codes you can track the other members of that particular soldiers "cell" which gives you a great tactical advantage. The best part is that you can use the key to crack the enemies' cyberbrains and take control of their bodies. That's right sports fans! You get to control a character who is controlling another character. And of course, the soldiers' buddies are not usually expecting him to start shooting them in the back so it gives you a chance to clear out potential gauntlets. At other times in the game you will also have the opportunity to take control of other various systems around the Autonomous Region. So, like a Ghost in the Machine, you travel from Shell to Shell making the world a better place to live in.
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex has a wonderful training session to teach you how to manipulate the basic aspects of the game. It will run you through each of the button functions and give you an opportunity to practice that particular skill until your comfortable with it before advancing on to the next button/function.
The graphics are amazing - it almost looks like your watching Manga Anime. Throughout the game there are a number of cut scenes that you will get to watch that will advance the story line and bring you back in line with your current goals in the game. The Tohoku Autonomous Region is HUGE and visually stunning. The panoramic views you get of the megaplex are beautiful and very detailed.
The music and sound are great and definitely enhance the play of the game. At points in the game your communicator will beep and you will get an incoming call either from your partner or from Section 9 filling you in on what's going on in plot line and will keep you informed of the story line on a regular basis. At times this can be a bit distracting especially when you get a call during a fire fight…
I haven't made up my mind if its something I'll want to run through a second time as yet, but I'm having an absolute blast in the game. Give it a shot yourself. It's definitely the bomb. (Demiurgoss is obviously in a bad pun mood…)