Review by Canadian Guy

"A big steaming pile of boring gameplay and ridiculous difficulty"

I had written a review for this game the day I got it, at first I was impressed by the graphics and the music, I started the single player mode and found a lot of similarities between this and GE or PD. But after a week of owning the game, the truth of how bad this game really is reveals itself. Keep in my mind that I'm rating the single player, since mutliplayer mode is pretty fun but in no way justifies buying this game IMO.

GRAPHICS:
Well this hasn't changed from my first review, they're still awesome (I like cartoons) and the animation is jaw-dropping. The first time I saw the first level's introduction I was blown away by how the soldiers move. However, when you first pick up the first weapon (the sniper rifle), disappointment shows it's ugly head: WHERE ARE MY HANDS?? This is a first person shooter and no hands are holding the weapons, I really don't like that, reload animations are what make the weapons visually impressive (other than when you USE them of course), remember how Joanna used to reload the Farsight or the Phoenix? Well there's none of that is this game: the gun just drops out of the screen and pops back up fully loaded! On another point the enemies don't bleed! As I said before, I'm not a big fan or gore games or gory movies, but I do like to see my enemies bleed when I shoot them! In H-L after a good fight with some Marines you could look around and see the aftermath: blood stains on the wall and such. On a final note, the localization for when you shoot enemies is ridiculous (I'm not sure this should go in graphics but where else then?): you can shoot a guy five times in the leg, and when he drops he holds his head! The most ridiculous aspect of this I find is one of the dying animations where the guy just steps back and ''sits down'' (after getting a direct shot in the head I might add).
The aim of a FPS is to make shooting the bad guys interesting, and when you combine all these minor details, you don't enjoy as much as in PD or GE.
I'm no hypocrite either: the visuals are awesome and still get a whopping 9/10

AUDIO:
This hasn't changed either, I've heard all the soundtracks in the game and I have to say that most levels have an amazing theme (Wild West is my personal fav, Return To Planet X is also really nice, the Chicago one is pretty boring on the other hand). The weapons sounds are great too. The little voice acting there is in the game is also well done. In short the audio was out of this world and earns and incredible 10/10

GAMEPLAY:
Now this is where the game falls flat on every aspect. The weapons, while beautiful, are nothing special. What I mean is that the weapons involved in the game are boring and ultra-classic, the tommy gun is the only weapon that deserves it's name mentioned. In PD you had alien weapons, or crazy secondary fire modes (CMP150, RCP 120), but in this game don't have anything to make them peculiar. Some could say that in for example, Soldier Of Fortune, the weapons weren't very ''exotic'' either, but where the variety came into play was in their power: the magnum could blow of limbs and so on. Back to the game, other than the short coming in the weapon department, you also have to incredible difficulty. Easy and normal modes are way too easy (the latter levels in normal are harder, but not that challenging), and then comes the dreaded hard mode. This mode is pure crap. In hard mode you don't have to be good, you need luck, that's it. Yup you read it right, no skill is involved in hard mode: if the enemies, by miracle, miss you *gasp!*, then you can go on. Chances are that you'll get hit by the weakest gun in the game and get half your life taken away and get hit by the strongest one and still lose half your life, and thus you'll have to restart. That wouldn't really matter if you could save where you wanted to, but you can't. Instead you have to rely on the stupid checkpoints that do nothing but frustrate you since the pattern in hard mode is quite simple: got hit? restart! got spotted? restart! Out of ammo? restart! missed a guy? restart! And since there's only ONE checkpoint, you'll be doing A LOT of restarting! Hell, I've owned the game for a week and I've been trying since then to finish the FIRST level with avail!
I know some people will say ''you just suck, play on easier difficulty'', but the fact is I'm a good FPS player (I don't pretend to be the best, but this is the first FPS I can't finish, and I don't intend to anytime soon) and when a game forces you to restart a level about 12 times just to get past the first part of the level (if you're not lucky, or else you can make it on your first try, but you'll get hit and have to do it again anyway) is just bad. It's not hard mode, it's cheap mode! This is something I'm noticing in more and more games nowadays, when they get hard, they just get cheap, you need luck or something very special; without one of those (sometimes BOTH) you can't advance.
So back up the ridiculous difficulty with the boring weapons and you have game that gets very boring very fast. I should add that you get a maximum of 3 different weapons in a level, talk about variety!
The verdict? A very poor 2/10.

REPLAY:
Once again I'll judge this by the single player. I played the game non stop until I got to hard mode, then I just dropped it after trying for 5 days, I don't enjoy the constant reseting! The challenge modes are fun, they aren't as hard as the solo mode, but I'm not a fan of bot battles, and since the stuff you get from doing the challenges are for multiplayer, it isn't really relevant for solo players like myself.
In the end the replay value will seem high for the first three days (8/10) but when you reach hard mode it drops to a record low 0/10!
PS: if you like this kind of challenge though I would rate it back to 8/10, if you enjoy restarting the level 50 times, tell me how!

IN FINAL:
This game is gets boring very fast, and it is definitely NOT worth the 90 dollars I paid (in Canada that's the average price, 60+taxes in the US I believe, I could be wrong).
Some could say I'm not being fair by not reviewing the multiplayer, but the fact is that there isn't that much to say about: there's a lot of mods (the only good being the monkey one) and the weapons are still as boring! The level design is nice, but that's enough to safe this game from the abyss...
The lesson? Good visuals and audio don't make up from crappy gameplay!

Final (not an average of course): 2/10!


Reviewer's Score: 2/10 | Originally Posted: 10/11/02, Updated 10/19/02


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