Generally favorable reviews - based on 75 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 61 out of 75
  2. Negative: 0 out of 75
  1. 100
    Visually and from an audio point of view, the game is spectacular. Nice textures throughout. Great wrap- around sound.
  2. 100
    Its triumphant visuals, amazing sound and music, tense and engaging storyline, gripping and varied gameplay, fabulous array of weapons and gadgets, lengthy single player campaign (complete with full online Co-Op for every level) and array of brilliantly crafted multiplayer modes and maps, all combine to make this arguably Rare's best ever game and certainly the Xbox 360's best launch game.
  3. From the fantastic gameplay to the gorgeous graphics to the incredible amount of replay value, every gamer should experience this game. It features every multiplayer option you could want, and the feature list reads like a multiplayer gamer's wet dream.
  4. Perfect Dark Zero doesn’t revolutionize the genre and fans of the previous Perfect Dark game may remark that both are pretty similar but that doesn’t stop it from delivering in the gameplay department.
  5. 95
    While PD0 may not be a revolutionary game, it can be considered a huge evolutionary step in the right direction.
  6. A top notch FPS and rivals anything we saw in the last generation in terms of gameplay, multiplayer options, and replay value. As the icing on the cake, it’s wrapped in an awfully pretty package.
  7. A great single player campaign combined with a near inexhaustible well of multiplayer madness, PDZ should be in the library of every shooter fan with a 360.
  8. While PD0 may not be a revolutionary game, it can be considered a huge evolutionary step in the right direction.
  9. This awesome, high-tech first-person shooter champions the Xbox 360 with its excellent assortment of single- and multiplayer game types, as well as its incredible good looks and dynamic, intense action.
  10. The game is really fluid and runs at a high frame rate. What I liked about this game is that the weapons that you carry will affect your speed, just like it would in real life.
  11. A fantastic game, with a few shortcomings that keeps it from being the "Halo" of the Xbox 360 launch.
  12. 90
    A lackluster story, unlikable characters, frustrating level designs, lack of more mid-mission checkpoints, all stick out like sore thumbs in an otherwise superfluous package. And we, like lovers scorned, are only bitter because we care.
  13. It combines all the elements that distinguish the console on the market today (stunning HD-presentation coupled with thoroughly engaging multiplayer over Xbox Live) into a tight package.
  14. 90
    Perfect Dark Zero slows the pace down a bit, forcing players to think more on a strategic level, rather than a "shoot the living hell out of anything that moves" level."
  15. So satisfying is the experience, that you’ll forget that some of the multiplayer levels aren’t laid out that well, either being way too big, or sardine tiny.
  16. Easily the most graphically gorgeous first-person game ever seen on a console. But it's the exceptional replay value both offline and on, the multitude of weapons you'll entertain yourself with for weeks, and the balls-to-the-wall, last-second way this game came together without imploding that makes you glad to be a gamer. [Official UK XBox Magazine]
  17. Perfect Dark Zero as a game is a great experience and although the single player storytelling is rather weak and non engaging, the game play of the missions is where the action flows and offers that engagement that we all look for.
  18. This is a fantastic, must-have first-person shooter.
  19. It's not the controls or the FPS feel that started to get me into the game. It's the variation of the missions and your specific goals that make PDZ so interesting and addicting.
  20. Comes surprisingly close to being perfect. When the game flows, the action is really sweet. The stealthy parts are much less enjoyable. [Dec 2005]
  21. Sure, the visuals are absolutely brilliant, but the surprisingly good single player game and huge number of of multiplayer options make this so much better than what many were expecting out of a 360 launch game.
  22. The co-op mode shows flashes of brilliance, and the number of options provided for online play is astounding. The core game plays much like any other FPS – a VERY pretty one at that.
  23. What really matters is the gameplay and both the single-player and multi-player modes deliver the goods although you are likely to find the single-player mode more of an intense training session for your adventures online where you can play with up to 32 other humans.
  24. Yet for all the issues with the AI and mission design, Perfect Dark Zero comes together exceedingly well, thanks to huge levels, solid mission objectives, and nifty gadgets that break up the battles with short minigames.
  25. I tried my best to not to compare Perfect Dark Zero to "Halo" because in most ways, they are two completely different games offering two divergent experiences. I will say, however, that "Halo" is a far more polished game.
  26. 85
    It doesn’t quite surpass or even meet the standards that Rare set with the original "Perfect Dark", but it’s still an incredibly fun first-person shooter that you simply must have if you own an Xbox 360.
  27. The singleplayer campaign lacks polish and as a result, some of the objectives are confusing and ultimately meaningless, and the levels feel disjointed. Where Perfect Dark Zero excels is multiplayer, co-operatively and competitively, with a vast selection of cool weapons, a number of clever game types and a seemlingly endless number of options.
  28. 84
    Though there's so much to do in Perfect Dark's single player campaign, it gets tedious after a while. Over Xbox Live, this is a totally different and much better game which forces players to use combinations of the new roll and cover moves to get by.
  29. It’s just not the revolutionary title we were hoping for. It doesn’t really set an adequate benchmark for future Xbox 360 titles and feels more like a stopgap while the true next-gen titles are being developed.
  30. Perfect Dark Zero is a game you can pick up and play, you are put straight into the action from the beginning, and the action doesn’t stop until the last minute. While the single player can be considered a bit of a let down the multiplayer mode makes up for it. The game is a good comeback for Rare, and provides the perfect introduction to a new console.
  31. The environments look gorgeous (both single player campaign and multiplayer) and those yet to experience the game or Xbox 360 for that matter should enjoy this title as a solid first encounter.
  32. I found the novelty of the dark-ops modes to make up for the less than compelling play of the deathmatch modes, but I don’t find myself looking forward to the next time I can jump online with the game like I have with other online shooters.
  33. 82
    A solid, sometimes great game. Its single-player mode is good fun and online it's a complete blast; PDZ is a superbly social multiplayer game to enjoy in the company of friends. However, the game was more than a little 'over hyped' and doesn't quite boast the production levels, replay value or storyline to live up to the now legendary "Halo 2."
  34. Although it does have its fair share of shortcomings, there’s also a lot of fun to be had, specifically in 32-player matches over Xbox Live.
  35. Perfect Dark Zero's first-person shooter competition on the 360 is "Quake 4" and "Call of Duty 2" and it falls directly between the two.
  36. Quite simply, if you don’t have Xbox Live or you don’t enjoy online games then avoid Perfect Dark Zero like the proverbial plague. There is very little about this game that would make is fun or enduring for the solo gamer.
  37. 80
    Rare is to be commended for the technical prowess on show here, but get it for the co-op and multiplayer experience rather than the diluted story mode.
  38. For as solid as Perfect Dark Zero is, it's not going to wow you with anything innovative. But hey, when you're fragging away at fellow gamers from all around the world, you're not going to care.
  39. Don't buy it hoping for a wonderful solo experience: Buy it because you want to spend hours fragging your buds on Xbox Live or working through a uniquely implemented cooperative campaign. It ain't perfect, but it's sure to please.
  40. 80
    Overall, Perfect Dark Zero is a solid first-person shooter (it's certainly more user-friendly than "Quake 4"), but the nagging flaws push it a few notches below the greatness of its predecessor--not to mention justifying the $50 price tag.
  41. Inconsistent, incoherent and insanely trying at times, this game feels decent but is still far from being the killer app we’d hoped it would be.
  42. Joanna's return may not be everything fans could have hoped for however the combination of intense action, good presentation and enjoyable multiplayer make it a worthy launch title.
  43. It's not as brain-blowingly next-gen as some gamers might be hoping, but Perfect Dark Zero is still a solid and slick shooter that deserves to be enjoyed online.
  44. 12 hours ain't bad for a single-player campaign, but I hope that's not going to become the standard for solo action on 360, especially wth that 20% markup in game prices for third-party titles.
  45. As a first-gen next-gen FPS it succeeds where it needs to most, dazzling us with heretofore unimaginable worlds, deep online components, and one spectacular franchise player. [Jan 2006, p.44]
  46. Perfect Dark Zero offers up a great combination of stealth and action using vehicles, AI teammates, the concept of shadows-versus-light for cover, and intelligent enemies who respond to both visual and auditory stimuli.
  47. I think most people are let down by the Xbox 360 follow up, although Perfect Dark Zero isn't garbage even if the plot is trash. The innovative weapons, sharp and accessible gameplay and almost perfect multiplayer aspect lands PDZ into the good category.
  48. A true next generation game let down with some very flimsy cut scenes and lack lustre storyline.
  49. Why are some levels so awesome, and others feel like they were bought off a guy on a street corner? [Jan 2006, p.78]
  50. The game plays very smoothly. The controls are a little sluggish but the frame rate is smooth and it feels right. Perfect Dark Zero isn't a killer reason to buy the new console but it does stand out amongst the launch titles as a good game.
  51. Although experienced first- person shooter players may find the going in single-player mode a little too easy, the game offers a host of multiplayer options, including split-screen on one console, or team-based mass slaughter challenges via the internet.
  52. This in no way shape or form is a bad game, but I also felt like there was more they could have done to take it further.
  53. If they had released this one for the original XBOX it might have been much more acceptable but as it’s a launch title for the 360 I can’t help but feel it’s not worth your money.
  54. 80
    Thankfully the multi-player really saves the day and makes this game a must own title for all 360 owners. If you are buying it for a single-player experience you may want to look elsewhere.
  55. If you're an Xbox Live gunplay junkie, this game is for you. If you want something to match the story and immersion of Perfect Dark, you might not be impressed.
  56. I'm not sure what upsets me more: the horrendous mess that is Perfect Dark Zero's single-player game or all the glowing reviews out there (including Che's). Are these crazies playing the same game as me?
  57. The game does a great job of showing off the graphical power that the 360 is capable of, but the gameplay, and in particular the aiming controls, just bring the title down to average levels.
  58. 77
    While PDZ may not be the killer app of the Xbox 360 launch that some were hoping it would be it does redeem its lackluster single player showing with a very entertaining multiplayer aspect.
  59. It may not shatter the mold of first-person fragging, but it's got tons of good content, providing enough lasting gameplay to get you through the inevitable post-launch drought.
  60. I love free-ranging games that let you sniff out nooks and rummage through crannies, a la "Grand Theft Auto." But Perfect Dark Zero sends you into some large environments without a whole lot of direction.
  61. While not as polished or well designed as we all hoped, Perfect Dark Zero is still worth a play-through, if only for the cool weapons and the enjoyable online battles.
  62. When you've battled through all 14 single player levels, played it on co-op and worked your way through some solid multiplayer action, you won’t feel like you've played a next generation title; heck, you won't even feel like you've played the best shooter out this Christmas.
  63. Play is especially intriguing online, where our hero's acrobatic skills, ability to find cover, and state-of-the-art weaponry deliver death matches to die for.
  64. Perhaps due to its years in development, PDZ just feels antiquated and familiar. [Jan 2006, p.141]
  65. Given the game’s marketing as one woman’s war against the corporations, the irony of Perfect Dark Zero is that the quality of the game experience it offers degrades in parallel with the number of people playing it. [Jan 2005, p.80]
  66. 70
    Both superb and a mess, a console FPS that feels fun, tactical, exciting all at the same time as feeling frustrating, backwards and in places amateurish.
  67. Perfect Dark Zero was the big game for the 360's launch and while it’s probably as good as the original Halo, it still doesn't stack up which shows just how much gaming standards have changed in the five years since the Xbox was released.
  68. Crippled by an unforgivably bad story, terrible implementation and atrocious AI. [Issue #2]
  69. 65
    An enjoyable diversion a few months in the US/Euro launch lineup, but an irrelevant game now with bigger/better FPS’s now on the 360.
  70. 60
    From a strange glitch that causes dead enemies to bounce around the environments like a Super Ball inside a blender, to the anemic implementation of vehicles into the multiplayer, another six months would have served it well.
  71. It has flashes of brilliance, but overall presents a shallow experience with gameplay unworthy of the 360's potential.
  72. There's nothing "next gen" about this title other than the graphics and sound. The gameplay would barely pass as mediocre on the last generation of consoles.
  73. For all its bells and whistles, Perfect Dark Zero is a solid yet unremarkable comeback.
  74. While it can be enjoyable at first, and certainly has some impressive graphics, it soon begins to reveal itself to be little more than an average title which only improves when played with other people.
  75. The only thing separating it from, say, another dystopian gadget-heavy sci-fi shooter like "Project: Snowblind" is the marketing budget. [Feb 2006, p.85]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 211 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 43 out of 69
  2. Negative: 13 out of 69
  1. AdamB.
    Jul 12, 2006
    Laughable storyline, cumbersome controls, confusing map layouts, unbalanced weapons, annoying multiplayer announcer, and Laughable storyline, cumbersome controls, confusing map layouts, unbalanced weapons, annoying multiplayer announcer, and uncanny-valley-quality character models reveal this title's obvious launch game heritage. It's graphics may be the game's one saving grace. For some tried and true multiplayer FPS action, do yourself a favor and play some high-res 360 Halo 2 or better yet, some old-school N64 Goldeneye. Full Review »
  2. JohnM.
    Dec 22, 2005
    An exceptionally poor game. I can't understand why people rate it so highly.
  3. Jun 13, 2011
    Great Game tho it can be a bit hard in some places unless you are on the lowest level, graphics are mostly amazing except for some of the fauxGreat Game tho it can be a bit hard in some places unless you are on the lowest level, graphics are mostly amazing except for some of the faux anime faces on Joanna and some other people.

    Controls are good and the only real complaint i have is how short the game is with only like six levels but there is a lot of replay value since there is different stuff in the harder levels even after you beat the game.
    Full Review »