Review by Girospeck
"If you get one game with XBL make this your game!!"
*WARNING* This is a extremely slow moving shooter. You may find yourself sitting still for up to 5 minutes. It usually will only take 1-2 hits for you to die. You will commonly find yourself moving at nothing but a crawl. THIS GAME IS NOT FOR EVERONE*WARNING*
Gameplay: This game is a really well done strategy-shooter for the Xbox. Its based around team play both offline and on. You must move, act, and think for and with the team. While this is not a game where you must stick right next to your team at all times, you must use teamwork. When an ally is in distress you go and help him. In most games your life’s are tied in with your allies, meaning that you’re on a team with only 10 life’s. Therefore you let your allies die; you lose a life of your own. You do of course have the option to play without computer A.I. in single or play solo online, but these are not popular and not how the games meant to be played.
When you first enter the screen you will find it to be confusing as hell. This is the games first problem. The interface is horrible and slow to respond. You’ll see option to do training, campaign, single mission, multiplayer, dossier, and options. When you enter you will already have your dossier (profile) selected. So for that dossier you must create a name for campaign and single mission. This is unnecessary considering that they could simply have a single player option then have both campaign and single mission inside of that. When you select campaign you will instantly go to the next mission you left off on. A man will explain the mission and a small map showing where all the missions are will appear on the right side. After this you will go to a character selection screen. You must select two teams of three. You will have several officers to choose from and new ones to unlock. You must choose a balanced team with four different types to troops: snipers, riflemen, demolition, and support. You will then have the option to add stats to each on of the officers that was in the last battle. This adds a great RPG element into the game. You can also select several different weapons kits.
In the single player you will enter a mission with your fellow comrades. Unlike Rainbow Six, where you must extensively plan every path you intend to follow, you plan while you play. Basically you can leave one group of computers back or send them to the front to scout your path. You can cancel orders or make new ones as you see fit. You will always have two fellow computers with you at all times (unless you didn’t set the maximum amount of support you could, or they died earlier in the mission). Your allies are very smart and will often times find enemies you had no idea where there. You can set them to several different options of advancement. You can just tell them to advance in which case they will just go at a relatively slow pace. Then there’s at all costs option. Basically they run and shoot. If they see an enemy they will fire while running but wont stop to fight. Next you can tell what type of attack. You can set it to recon where you tell the computer not to open fire unless fired on. Then there’s assault where you tell them to wait and take careful shots. Then there’s suppress, where they fire on a location where they believe there is an enemy. They will fire there even after the enemy is dead to make sure. You can switch between any of your computer allies at any time by pressing Y to choose. You can also enter your map (where you plan moves, select attack, and advancement tactics) to choose the guy you want to control.
Besides The normal campaign, you can select singe missions. Basically you get to play any of the campaign maps in attempts to complete certain goals. You can play the campaign missions. This is the same thing as selecting campaign. You can only unlock specialist from campaign though. This is where you play co-op. These are also the multiplayer maps. Allow there are several smaller sized versions of these for smaller multiplayer games. Then there are firefights. This is where you select a level and instead of completing a mission or task, you must eliminate all enemies. This is a fun spin on the main missions. Finally there’s a mode called recon. Here you must get from point A to point B without dieing. You can select from 3 different difficulties (recruit, veteran, elite). There are a total of 50 tasks for you to complete. When you check view dossier in the main menu it will tell you all of the tasks you must complete. For example one may say complete river with only a sniper on elite. This will tell you the level, the company you must have, as well as the difficulty. By completing these tasks you can unlock new weapons, modes (such as siege, defend, cat and mouse), and maps.
With the multiplayer option you can select a co-op missions, link up play, or online play. Basically with co-op you can go into the single missions and play mission, firefight, or recon. A large problem here is that both players must play with the same control scheme. So if one of you play as inverted and one does not you will both be forced to play however the first player does. You can only have two players per Xbox, which can be a problem if you have lots of people over. But you can always link up and do death matches or co-ops.
Finally online, this is where the game shines and you lose countless hours of sleep. You can select to play a solo game, team game, or cooperative game. In solo you play all by yourself in a game. Team games are the most popular online. You play with a team in several different modes. You can play last man standing where you choose how many lives and how they are distributed. You can play so that your team pools lives together or individual. Most play with their lives pooled together. Since this is primarily a team game most play this way. You also have a mode called search and rescue (SOR). Basically there are prisoners in the middle of a map an your team must get every one of them into your base for a certain time. Or the team with the most when time runs out wins. This is almost a capture the flag mode. Finally if you wanted to you can always play co-op online. You can play all of the firefights, recons, and missions with all your friends. Now the problems of GR online. The interface is horrid. It may be one of the worse I’ve seen and defiantly the worse on the Xbox. It’s extremely hard for most people to find games online. When games get over 10 people they often times lag. It is also a problem with friends. When you invite friend sometimes it will tell you that the game is closed or full, when that’s not the truth. On there official website they have recognized the problems and promised us that its being looked into and will be fixed in due time.
Graphics: The graphics in this game are sufficient. The character models themselves look fine. I have no complaints on them. The textures are a bit bland and show there time. You can tell that trees, grass, and such are flat when up close. Remember this is a 2001 PC game. Considering that and the amount of time they took to translate the game onto the Xbox, they look fine. Now to me personally the graphics are perfectly fine, it just isn’t what it could be for an Xbox game. Then the environments don’t feel real. While the outside looks fine when you go to look inside of houses you’ll find random doors not opening. This is just sloppy programming on their part. Then I would have liked to be able to pick up enemy weapons or inspect objects lying around.
Sound: The sound of this game is great. They play great militaristic music when in the briefing room and menus, yet there is nothing but silence inside the game. This creates a real sense of realism and life out on the battlefield. When on the battlefield, you can only hear your teammates screaming, the sounds of the wilderness, and guns or bombs firing. Now this is very suspenseful. Your always hearing the sound of gunshots near and explosions right next to you, with only the faint scream for help of a close ally. Then there’s this great effect when a bomb explodes next to you. It has this effect of your ears being blown. Sudden silence (like a dramatic part of some war movie) then you begin to be able to hear your surroundings, but they sound far away. Eventually your sound goes back to normal. Overall the sound is just damn near perfect.
Value: This game has 15 campaign missions that will take you a week or so. Then it has another 35 tasks for you to complete. Since some of these are very tough and they constantly reward you with weapons, modes, and characters. While it will take some time to complete all the tasks given to you, I could not recommend this game to someone who is only going to do single play. It has a great multiplayer where you can do co-op or last man standing, as well as link up. If you have a close friend or two who has an Xbox and loves strategic shooters then you can get much play with them. I would recommend checking this game out. If your one of the people who owns XBL then you should own this game. It’s worth every penny. Just remember that the game has a horrid interface as well as hard to find Multiplayer games. This hurts the value. The game in a sense does not feel complete. But then again both Xenogears and Final Fantasy 7 were not completed titles and my favorites. So I can safely recommend this title to everyone who likes strategic shooters.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 12/05/02, Updated 12/05/02
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