Review by General Tso
"Hats off to Gearbox for making such a wonderful game..."
Ok, I've been looking forward to this game for a long, long time, and I'll say this now, it is DEFINITELY worth every penny. I have not had this complete a package in a war game ever. Now, without further adieu, on to the review.
The graphics are simply beautiful. Hedgerows, grass, farms, and fields are nicely detailed, with grass rustling as you walk by and the like. Moreover, the structures in the game are EXTREMELY well laid out, and are a reminder of movies such as Saving Private Ryan and the mini-series Band of Brothers. The French landscape is beautifully captured, and highly believable. The coloration in the game seems to be dull at first, but it brings about the landscape well as you realize that fighting in France didnt mean fighting in a colorful landscape. Moreover, there's this gritty, grainy look to the game, obviously on purpose to make things look all the more authentic.
The meat of the game is quite tasty indeed. The squad tactics are fun, and easy to understand and use. With a simple click of the L-trigger, you can command a force to suppress an enemy, move to new locations, and even go all out in a charge. The added emphasis on fire and maneuver tactics also adds a certain level of planning and thinking to the game. Its no longer a run and gun affair (which will often lead to your death in this game), and successfully routing the enemy requires you to make good use of suppression, grenades, and assault. There's a simple interface to the suppression tactics, with a simple red suppression icon appearing above the enemy when they are unsuppressed. As your fire team keeps attacking and laying down fire on the enemies, the icon changes colors, from red, to gray. If the icon is fully gray, the enemy is taking more cover than actually firing at your guys, allowing for you and the assault team to flank the enemy. Moreover, the enemy can pull the same stuff off on you, so you need to watch your flanks to some degree.
Shooting the gun is also a (at first) difficult, but eventually satisfying affair. You can choose to have crosshairs or not. No crosshairs adds a level of difficulty and intensity to the game. You are allowed to aim down the sites, which is the best way to get off a shot w/o crosshairs. However, depending on the situation, your aim could be relatively steady when you arent in any immediate danger, to difficult to control when the bullets are whizzing past your head, and grenades are being thrown. This greatly adds to the realism in the game, for firing a rifle is a difficult affair in real life as well (especially when you're being fired upon too).
Then, there are some little things that make the experience all the more immersive. If an enemy shoots but misses you, you can experience clots of dirt flying up and a white "cloud" on the screen that shows where the enemy nearly grazed you. Also, if you do get hit, blood will splatter your view. It makes the experience all the more intense, and enjoyable.
The sound is an absolute marvel to hear. Bullets, explosions, machine guns, and tanks all have a distinct sound to them, and they sound amazing. If you have a nice surround sound system, you'll experience the full of extent of the sound. The screaming of men, the sound of explosions, and the whizzing of bullets just bring you into the game even more.
Voice acting and dialog is very well done as well. The soldiers all have an individual personality which makes them interesting. Moreover, the game does a good job showing that these soldiers were basically young boys. There are some bits of memorable dialog, for example, when the soldiers argue over superheroes. It really makes the game better, and it makes for good laughs, and a more immersive experience.
There is one annoying glitch with the sound though. I've experienced a glitch where you fire a Thompson sub machine gun, but even after you're finished, the sound of the gun keeps on repeating (often to the end of the level). Its annoying, but it happens rarely.
Words of Warning--
The game has curses. Loads of them. If you're offended by vulgar language, then this game may be somewhat distasteful. Moreover, its a rather violent game. When grenades successfully destroy enemies, you'll see pools of blood, and soldiers without limbs. Not exactly Soldier of Fortune, but its still decently violent.
And another thing, the game IS difficult. Not impossible, but difficult. The enemy is smart, and so are your squadmates, but there will be times where the enemy could just overwhelm you.
Overall, this game is absolutely amazing. Its immersive, intense, and highly enjoyable once you get used to the difficulty. To put it shortly, buy this game, and play it to death. Its brilliantly done, and my hat goes off to Gearbox for making such an exceptional game.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/04/05
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