Review by Yeuh Fei Long

"Bleak Force."

This game had adequate hype surrounding it, whether or not it would hold it's own against Halo. To have components that would at the very least compare to Halo's innovative combat. Unfortunately, it doesn't.

The graphic department is pretty decent with some good amount of detail thrown into the mix to give it a distinct setting. However, it really isn't that good, if anything the graphics can be compared to Mech Assault, decent definition, but not a good finish. While some backgrounds are lush, others are about as bland as they reluctantly come. The animation of the characters when running, gunning, throwing, picking up objects, taking cover etc, look great, they all have fluent animations, with the exception of the enemies, stiffness sure occupies the animations for the enemies, especially when they're shot at. When the opposition is taken down, it's just terrible animation, there isn't any satisfaction to be had to see them tumble like they have rigor mortis.

Miniscule story line. You take control of a 23rd Special Forces unit to gun anything that your commanded to. The only silhouette of a storyline to possibly go by is that of coming across your new founded team when their recruited and being briefed just before a mission by your commanding officer. There is a book that delves into the main story of it all, but it certainly wasn't implemented in the game.

Nothing interesting in regards to a sound track. Forgettable once it's heard, doesn't even really do it's job of creating much of an atmosphere or one at all for that matter. Now the sound effects are a different story. The effects in this game are grand, from dispatching round after round of ammunition from a minigun to pelting the opposition with bombs and grenades on top of the Dolby Digital is marvelous.

Incurious for the most part. Each character has his/her special ability to set them apart in combat expertise. While these abilities are somewhat intriguing in their notions, they can be ignored entirely. They're not crucial to gameplay nor survival, just their to break up some of the redundant action and implement little variety.

The guns are a mixed bag for the most part, along with the play mechanics that accompany them. For the most part, there is variety in the guns, a good sized amount of guns to hold interest in gameplay to see their individual animations. Some of them have excellent explosions and effects while others take a toll on your eyes with mediocrity. The tracer rounds on the machine guns was not a very bright idea, even though the main purpose behind it is to see where your relatively shooting, it just looks plain atrocious and isn't necessary. This game could of definitely benefited from an evade tactic, such as rolling, somersault, able to sidle walls etc, because there is no intuitiveness for evasive counters, your best bet to keep away from enemy fire is to either take them on from yards away with the sniper rifle or to duck and remain stationary (which is dangerous and more often then not detrimental to your health) and wait until they cease fire, which seemingly never happens. Even while running and shooting, your still tagged just as much as if were you standing still.

The AI is quite good, but it's also kind of a bad thing when you have no means of evasiveness other then taking cover, only to come out and be bogged down like you were to begin with. It is good to see that there is a challenging AI though, they take cover and try to flank your positions as well, along with being able to hear you coming if you don't take the necessary precautions. They snipe, they're aggressive and even withdrawn, they even kamikaze you which is a nice touch.

Occasionally, one doesn't have to worry about being completely bogged down with enemy fire when you have your team mates who themselves have a good established AI as well. You can form some loose tactics with your squad by issuing commands such as, 'move to a location, fire at will, stationary, and covering fire'. It's nothing extravagant at all, it just breaks up some tediousness. What's worse is that all of the commands are unnecessary. Most commands are ineffective, when they just do the same thing, which is provide you with cover when trailing not too far behind your location. Nothing methodical.

The mission based objectives have no diversity to them at all. Wipe out your opponents, retrieve item and some reconnaissance, and that's it. It's deficient, when your completing the same repetitive task over and over again only waiting for a cut scene to break up the redundant play.

There are DNA canisters to unlock characters/enemies throughout the game in Multiplayer. The only redeeming quality in replay value is to have a multiplayer match going. Other then that, the squad based mission objectives in the campaign are about as constructive as sitting through a solar eclipse.

Over All, this game just didn't deliver with anything revolutionary and didn't tap into all of it's potential, making it a mediocre third person shooter at best that doesn't keep a motivating gameplay.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 05/29/03, Updated 05/29/03

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