Review by Dwane Dibbley

"One of the best Shoot 'Em Up games to date...."

Warhammer 40,000: FireWarrior. Possibly the best Shoot 'Em Up (FPS) game you'll ever play on a console which doesn't have a large 'X' on it. Forget TimeSplitters, forget Medal Of Honour, forget Red Faction, 'cause once you've played this the others will look like NES games in comparison.
Warhammer 40,000: FireWarrior is a game set in the 41st millennium (that is, the 41st millennium according to how GamesWorkshop thinks it’ll be), and you play as a young warrior called Kais, fighting for a fairly new race called the ‘Tau’, which basically every WH40k/GamesWorkshop fan should know about. However, all this is pretty irrelevant once you get started, since you don’t actually need to know anything about the WH40k game or other GamesWorkshop games in order to play and enjoy this. I should also point out that being in the UK, I’m playing the PAL/Europe version of this game (we actually got a game before America for once! Hooray!!), so the NTSC/American version might be abit different once it comes out.

Gameplay: 9/10 Nice. As in Halo nice. The controls seem very odd at first, though they’re easy to pick up (honestly, after half an hour the controls will seem like second nature to you), so no real trouble as far as the controls are concerned. As far as weapons go, this game follows the standard sci-fi FPS game format; you’ve got your basic laser guns that are your ‘average’ weapons which the majority of the enemy troops carry - and of course, you get them as standard too, you’ve got the stereo-typed ‘old machine gun’ (named the ‘Autogun’ - how original) which is of course, inaccurate as hell yet very powerful, then you get the usual rocket launcher, shotgun, rail gun, mini-gun etc. However, there are some special weapons in this game that are like no other weapons from any other game. The twist with these weapons comes from the fact that this is a WH40k game - thus, you get to use some of the more special WH40k weapons. The Melta-Gun for example, cuts through armour as if it’s a highly-powered blow torch - though it can run out of ammo quickly. The Plasma gun and Plasma pistol fire big glowing blue ‘balls’ of plasma at the enemy, frying them in an instant, and are very fun to use. Then there is the Bolter. Woohoo. I’m only going to say that it’s ‘good’ - I’ll let you find out just how good for yourself. The only draw back with the weapons in this game is that you can only hold two at once - and your main weapons always has to be a Tau weapon, which you can never drop. though to be honest, once you get into the later levels, you’ll be glad you were made to keep that old Tau Rail Gun - you’ll see what I mean when you get there.
Difficulty wise, this game is fairly hard - or at least, harder then most console FPS games. While even on the ‘hard’ setting you’ll be able to get through the first few levels with no problems, after the 6th or 7th level, you’re going to run into trouble. Frankly the ‘normal’ setting on this game would be the ‘hard’ setting on others. And make no mistake, even the ‘easy’ setting as it’s hard points which will see you dying over and over (in the later levels anyway). You’re really going to have to use your brain with this game - going in Rambo style won’t win it (you‘ll be gunned down in ten seconds flat), going in Solid Snake style won’t win it (though there are a few parts which requires stealth, the majority of the time the enemy will hear you anyway and get you). Nope, you’re going to have to be clever to complete this game. Enemies could can come at you from basically any angle, at literally any time. Chances are on the ‘normal’ setting, you’ll die at least once during each of the last five levels or so.
However, while this game is harder then most, it’s still insanely fun. There is nothing quite like sending an Imperial Guardsman to his grave as all around you people are shouting out battle cries of “For The Greater Good!” (Tau) and “For The Emperor!!” (Imperial). Sure, it’s a hard game and it’ll keep you on your toes, but you’ll still be hard-pressed to find a FPS game more fun then this. However, all good things must come to an end, since unfortunately, there are a few annoying bugs which stop this game from having perfect gameplay. Firstly, it’s possible in some places to get stuck in the terrain and not be able to move - and the only way to get out is to restart the level, which is very annoying when you’ve been playing it for half an hour. Linked to this is the fact you can’t save mid-level, though you do get checkpoints so as long as you don’t turn it off you don’t have to start all over again. Another thing that takes away from the gameplay is the fact that sometimes the ‘hitboxes’ fail, and while you can see quite clearly that you shot someone in the head, they’ll still keep on coming at you.

Storyline: 6/10 This is an odd one. As said before, the story follows Kais (you), a young Tau warrior ‘fighting for the greater good’. The idea behind this game is that you’re trying to protect your race from the Imperium of Man (yes, us humans are the bad guys in this... for awhile anyway). And it just so happens that as you’re finishing training to become a fully-fledged ‘Fire Warrior’, the Imperium kills a load of Tau and kidnaps Ko’vash, one of your ’Ethereal’ - basically your generic leader. You’re then dropped straight into battle (you’ll be firing your weapon literally the second you get out of your transport craft), and off to fight the Imperium. However, it’s not just the Imperium young Kais has to battle against - for there is a much more powerful and fearsome enemy then simple, uncivilised humans.... but I’m not going to say anymore then that.
Of course, no FPS game ever has a good story. If this was an RPG game, I’d be giving the story line 2/10. However, as far as FPS games go, this storyline is actually fairly good - particularly if you play the actual WH40k table-top game, since you’ll then understand all the little references. So yeah, the storyline here is fairly basic, yet it works. And since FPS games never really have good plots anyway, this one scores a tad higher.

Graphics: 8/10 Well, it is a PS2 game after all, so it was never going to have Halo quality graphics. But to tell the truth, it’s not far off. Sure, if you stop and really take a look around you, you’ll see some pixelation in textures, you’ll notice how alot of the characters aren’t as smooth as they should be.... but frankly, when you’ve got a squad of Space Marines firing at you and all your team mates have been killed, who the hell is going to then stop and walk right up to the marines to check out how smooth they are? Exactly. When you’re playing the game, the graphics seem pretty much on-par with Halo and TimeSplitters - okay, so they aren’t as good as Halo, but as far as PS2 graphics go, this is about as good as you’re going to get (with the exception of any Final Fantasy games). The explosion effects are done very nicely, and the plasma gun/pistol ‘ammo’ reminds me of the plasma grenades from Halo. All in all, the graphics are great for a PS2 game, and average for a GameCube/XBox game.

Sound: 10/10 Perfect. as in Medal Of Honour perfect. Every single battle cry, gun shot, explosion and footstep is perfect. That’s basically all I can say here - it’s perfect, and that’s that.

Replayability: 7/10 I won’t lie to you and say that you’ll never get sick of this game and that you’ll play it forever. However, you’ll probably play through it at least twice. There is a fair bit of extra stuff to unlock in this game, all of which requires you to get an ‘A’ grade during missions on ‘normal’ or ‘hard’ difficulty setting. As far as the actual game goes, you can complete it in about a day, maybe two if you’re having real trouble. Really it’s about as replayable as any other FPS game - you’ll go through it once, then possibly go back and replay parts of it when you’re bored. There is a multi-player mode here, both split-screen and Online. I haven’t used the online mode yet, but I can tell you that you shouldn’t bother getting this game just for the multi-player. Frankly, this game only works as a single player game. Thankfully the single-player mode is awesome. Still, it would have been nice if the multi-player mode had been good. So yeah, you’ll probably play through it once, maybe play through it a second time, and who knows, maybe you’ll like the multi-player and get some online gaming out of it - but frankly don’t expect this to be one of those games that you still play months after you first buy it.

Overall: 9/10 It’s a very solid single-player game with a weak multi-player mode thrown in basically, yet it's still very fun. If you just like FPS games, but don’t know anything about WH40k, then just rent it for a few nights. If however, you like WH40k and FPS games, then buy it, it’ll be worth it to you. So yes, FPS fans rent, WH40k fans buy, and if you either hate GamesWorkshop or simply want a multi-player game, then steer well way from it. That said, it is very good. The single player mode is good anyway. Everyone should at least try this game once in their gaming life - I know if I only played this in a years’ time I’d be kicking myself for not getting it sooner. So yes, all in all it’s a very good game, and well worth trying out.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 10/07/03

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