Review by elsquanto
"Like a head on collision with a building in Big Rigs"
"Dear Sergeant Ross, Taggert and Bull. I am writing you not because you represent the best that the allied forces have to offer, but because you are the best that the allies have to offer. The sacrifices that you have made for your country are immense, but the sacrifices that you are about to make are undescribable"
...Still, not even close to the sacrifice the gamer will make by playing this game...
Sometimes, glorious things happen in video games. Games are released which will change the gaming environment for years to come, and are praised and given a special spot in every major gaming site's "Hall of Fame". Then, occasionally you'll get a game which is so immensely awful, a game so truly ****y, that it's more fun just to laugh at the attempt than play the game. This is where you get your Big Rigs, your Superman 64, and now... Hour of Victory.
The game leads off with the same bit of dialogue shown above, and it opens the door to a non-sensical one and half hours of single player that a trained monkey could've written. Drunk. Blindfolded. Tied to a moving bus. There are actually three characters you get to play as... but really it's just one character. It's much more confusing to understand what's going on in this game than it is to solve a crossword puzzle that has all the answers mixed up. You'll see three characters in cutscenes, but when you start the level, you'll choose one of them, and the other two will magically disappear.
You can choose between these three characters, each with their own special abilities that you've seen in every game. Bull is the stereotypical southern sniper who can climb ropes, but he can't push things apparently, because he's not strong enough. There's Taggert, your classic Sam Fisher sneaky dude that can't sneak for ****. He can pick locks, but he can't climb up ropes, because apparently somebody athletic enough to jump across a room and slit somebody's throat without being seen can't pass gym class. Ross is your stereotypical British commando who can... um... push things. Really, it makes no sense to pick anybody other than the commando, because he can take twice as many bullets, and that's better than the rope and a half you'll get to climb or the lock you might be able to pick.
These three soldiers have either nothing better to do, or generals who don't know how to command a damn army. You'll find yourself randomly fighting in North Africa *cough*Call of Duty 2*/cough*, then you're infiltrating a heavily fortified castle by way of skilift. SKILIFT. I don't know what the monkey was thinking when it came up with that idea, but I think it may have just been clipped by a stop sign. Either way, you're rescuing a Scientist, then, you're stealing a nuclear reactor that the same scientist built for the Germans. So... yeah. I really have nothing to say about that.
But what I will have something to say about, is the AI. Or lack therof. This may be a generic World War II shooter, but it's the only one where enemies will take cover on the side of the sandbags facing you. Enemies want to die. They'll shoot eachother, run around in circles, they'll stand there two feet away from you, where you're apparently too close to shoot, and too far away to melee, they'll run facefirst under a moving Panzer tank. They are completely braindead and never take any opportunities. One time, I was sitting in cover in a building sniping krauts, and after I was done, I turned around. There was a baddie, standing there trying to shoot me, but apparently he was too scared. I kindly took him out of his misery. Some AI moments are priceless, but this is still one of the lowest points in the game, which is a remarkable achievement for a game this bad.
But by far the worst aspect of Hour of Victory is the presentation. It feels like the game is a beta test really. If you even aim at the ground the wrong way, your tank will fly hundreds of feet. Most of the time, you'll reload or shoot your gun and there will be no sound. Enemies can shoot you through walls and without even looking at you. Seriously, enemies will shoot the ceiling and the bullet will somehow come along and hit you. I remember one time I went up to one of the krauts and took cover right next to him, side by side. He got up and started shooting over the cover at ...nothing. That's when I noticed that I was taking damage however, and when I looked closer, I realized that his bullets were shooting out of his Kar at a 90 degree angle and magically hitting me. To test out this theory, I stood directly behind him. Sure enough, he killed himself with his own gun.
Tanks will climb up walls. Enemies will fall through the floor, or they'll fly up in the air and stand there, shaking violently like they're having a siezure. Some enemies backpedal or iceskate around in circles, just for fun. I had one enemy who would not stop shooting the chandalier for some reason. Another enemy thought it would be funny to throw a grenade at his feet. I had an enemy run into the front of my tank, only to get pushed around as the tank moved.
Even without the massive flaws in programming that should've never snuck by a beta tester, this game is awful. The controls for such simple things as shooting are flawed so that you shoot everything but the enemy most of the time. Tanks can turn on a dime anytime they want, but that's the only way they turn. Imagine, you'll go forward a few feet, rotate, forward, rotate, forward. This is a major feat, considering that whenever you step into one of these steel deathtraps, every single enemy there is magically arms themselves with Panzershreks. Whenever you get damaged, you'll get that same red screen of death that every shooter ever made has, and you'll have to hide. Problem is, it'll be well over two minutes before you completely recover your health. Talk about disruptive.
Remember when the Unreal 3.0 engine was supposed to create masterpieces like Gears of War? Epic graphics which rivaled real life? No such luck here, as the graphics feel like they belong to a Gamecube game. Buildings will pop out of nowhere, and leaves on trees aren't visible until you get about ten feet from them, turning a dead tree into a blushing green one. The only reason these graphics would be acceptable, would be if the game was worth four dollars at Burger King. This game is an embarrassment to the Unreal Engine.
Final Score: Not only is it an embarassment to its engine, but an embarrassment to the Xbox 360. Considering this game was hailed as another great Xbox 360 exclusive, it may as well be on the marketplace as an arcade game. Then, it might have an excuse for being so unbelievably awful.
Graphics - 1 - Embarrassment
Gameplay - 1 - Glitchy
Presentation - 1 - A joke
Sound - 1 - Near nonexistent
Reviewer's Rating: 0.5 - Unplayable
Originally Posted: 07/06/07
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