In a world on the brink of conflict, you find yourself back on the front lines of battle. Only this time, you're not here to prevent a war... You're here to start one.In a world on the brink of conflict, you find yourself back on the front lines of battle. Only this time, you're not here to prevent a war... You're here to start one.In a world on the brink of conflict, you find yourself back on the front lines of battle. Only this time, you're not here to prevent a war... You're here to start one.
Action with a twist in a game that's sadly much too short
Pretty much from the get-go, this grabbed me. Control is quite easy to get into, the interface is very quickly gotten used to and anyone who's tried a shooter before can pretty much sit down with this right away. The plot isn't poor, it's merely not awfully new or original, either. It's told well, if almost entirely in hints, and the epic scope falls surprisingly flat. The audio is fairly good, though there are some bugs... the sound seems to cut off for some of the weapons, if too many are firing at the same time. The music is marvelous and fitting, a healthy mix of techno-like tunes and film-like score. Animation is great, with all movements looking natural. Graphics are rather well-done, sharp and reasonably detailed... lighting is somewhat limited, but by no means bad. Where this really wins you over, however, is the game-play... thoroughly intense, with the enemies posing a serious threat, and skill and tactics being necessary. This introduces something entirely new; the offensive cover system. Since Splinter Cell hit stores in 2002(and became hugely popular), many action titles have added wall-hugging to their repertoire. However, this game takes it to a new level, adding multiple ways of firing from behind cover, and making it the main focus of the game and play. In any level, you are massively outnumbered. Being that just about all your enemies have received military training(and they only get tougher the further you get in the game) and all being armed to the same degree as you, there's no way you're going to make it out alive if you rush in. Instead, you must use your surroundings, taking cover behind just about any solid object, and fire at them from behind cover(and they, in turn, will do the same, which is where the tactics enter). Taking cover is easy as it gets, and you even get a brief training mission, in which that, along with the usual shooting game basics are covered. Don't bother trying stealth... in fact, this does not give you anything but this one way of going about it. The arms selection is limited. There are about a dozen ones to choose from, and that is easy to keep track of, and none of them are useless(though I found relatively little use for the shotgun). The guns are all military-brand, well-known and thoroughly effective ones. The majority are assault rifles and SMGs, but one shotgun and a sniper are also available. Some of the assault rifles are equipped with a grenade launcher, as well. And you get to play with grenades, too: Mini-grenades, regular "pineapple" type, "sticky" grenades(which, unsurprisingly, stick(to the surface that they land on... and that includes people)) and flash-bangs. When behind cover, you can use the targeting reticle to direct your fire... you may lean out to aim properly, or you can send "blindfire"(something I don't recall seeing in any other game, like the cover-system itself). The grenades can be directed in this manner, as well; simply point the reticle at what you want to go boom and hold down the throwing button for either a brief or a slightly longer time, depending on if you want to lob it a few feet or throw it a distance. When firing, you'll also be able to activate a scope, for everything in your arsenal in the game but the grenade launcher has one. The level design is fairly simple, point A to point B. The difficulty is appropriate; your surroundings are extremely seldom so open that you are forced into cover-less combat(since it will often result in near-immediate death), and the enemies keep you on your toes, applying military tactics to get you. The AI is magnificent; the enemies actions are unpredictable, well-thought out and swiftly carried out. They do occasionally mess up. The whole thing is nicely stylized to the point of pure awesomeness. From the bloodless deaths of the enemy combatants to the *exceedingly* well-animated, beautifully rendered cinematics, providing back-story(which starts out vague, but gets solid soon enough... sort of). However, at times, the game feels like it's trying just a little too hard to be hip, to grab the attention of the MTV generation. Voice acting is often exaggerated, with the actors trying to come off tough and bad-ass. Lines are too superficial and empty. And the countless references to "the game"... it's as if the makers wanted to remind the player constantly that he was, in fact, playing a VG. And when they do that, why not utilize that to explain the loading feature, one of the things that takes the player the most out of the experience of being someone else? The console game In Cold Blood had a terrific explanation for loading, in the very concept of the game. While the tone is dark and bleak, there is still strong color in this... they are merely from the gloomier end of the palette. The camera was also a bother... often when diving(typically employed to get the heck out of dodge when there's a grenade nearby), your perspective would be lost, often getting you killed, as it takes time to regain. The main problem, however, is how short this is. When I read that there would be 15 scenarios, I didn't expect each to take 5-15 minutes to beat. The game took me only a few hours. It doesn't hold much risk of getting boring or overstaying its welcome. With a pretty low re-playability value(there are no points, so no high-scores to beat, and most of the missions and levels are linear in their design), and only two difficulty settings, that's just not at all enough. Apart from a satisfying boss fight and a nice cut-scene, beating the game doesn't beget you anything but a mission selector. All in all, a thoroughly entertaining, cool, but far too brief, arcade type third-person shooter that's different. I recommend this to fans of action, particularly those who aren't keen on rushing in, blindly firing. 7/10
- Oct 15, 2006
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