Review by Scottie theNerd

"It's War...Rock?"

It's practically inevitable that this game is going to be compared with Battlefield 2. Despite War Rock being released earlier, the modern battle theme with a class-based character system, numerous modern weapons and controllable tanks and other vehicles reeks of Battlefield. Unsurprisingly, matching EA's flagship war game will be War Rock biggest test in the Western market.

As with many Korean games in development, the International open beta is a few months behind the Korean version, creating a disparity over the game's actual development stage to beta players. The premise is straightforward: two factions – the NIU and Derbaran – equipped with the latest military technology. When joining a game, players select a side and pick one of several classes, including assault, medic, anti-tank and sniper. The International beta only contains one mission-mode game type, involving the capture of flag locations using infantry and vehicles in the same way as Battlefield 2.

That's pretty much the problem with War Rock. There's nothing wrong with the idea; it's just that everything it's trying to achieve has already been done by the Battlefield series or even Counter-Strike. The idea of grabbing an assault rifle or rocket launcher and jumping into an armoured personnel carrier or an Abrams tank is fine and dandy, except we've already done it. Health recovery is the same: find health or ammo recharge locations or get a medic to heal you. The difference with War Rock's International version is that all the radio commands are in Korean, which obviously doesn't help with Western accessibility.

The online experience isn't particularly smooth at this point. Lag is a huge issue, especially with vehicles jerking back and forth. Latency is also a huge issue with hit detection. Most online games deal with latency by inserting a delay between the player's shots and their hit location. War Rock processes hit detection on the client's computer. In a practical sense, as long as I point at a target, shoot straight into it and blood comes out, I've killed him. It doesn't matter if he's moved ten metres between me unloading 30 rounds and him finally getting hit by 30 rounds, if he's taken a hit on my screen, he'll die a few seconds later on his screen. That also means that if he's done the same to me, I'll drop dead in a few seconds. Essentially, combat is a suicidal thing to go through, as players cannot kill another player before taking a fatal amount of damage with that delayed effect due to lag.

To add some variety to the game, players can use in-game currency earned from kills and mission performance to ‘hire' more equipment from an item shop; or alternatively they can pay real money for exclusive items they can equip while selecting a character class. The game also features a career-ranking system similar to Battlefield 2, which promotes players up the chain of command as they gain more points, although there isn't any direct benefit at this point.

As the retail version has not been released at the time of writing, War Rock lacks any substance to topple current multiplayer first-person shooters. The only things going for War Rock is that the game is free to play, at least at this stage; and that the game is designed with very low system requirements in mind while retaining things like ragdoll physics, making it a more affordable alternative to demanding games like Battlefield 2. Nonetheless, the game isn't that impressive, and without adding something exclusive it will be seen as a clone of Battlefield 2.

Graphics: 7/10
Sound: 6/10
Gameplay: 5/10
Replay: 6/10
Overall: 5/10

Reviewer's Rating:   2.5 - Playable

Originally Posted: 12/18/06

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