Top positive review
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Really great - but only if you like this type of game
on 14 September 2005
This game has been somewhat unjustly reviewed so far. The simple fact of the matter is that it is an absolutely brilliant game, at a fantastically good price, and worth every penny of your money - and for either single or multiplayer.
But, and it's a big BUT, only if you like the style of play.
This game is designed from the ground up as a fairly realistic simulation. There are no health packs, you die very quickly if you get shot, and one-man head on assaults a-la Halo will never, ever, work. It's all about carefully planned attacks, hitting the enemy where they don't expect you, using the terrain, carefully watching for enemy movement, picking targets off at a distance, and not getting too close. If that doesn't sound any fun to you, just don't buy it.
On the other hand, if you want a game to really get your teeth into, with a genuinely engaging, edge of the seat, feel-the-battlefield-fear war sim, you really couldn't do much better.
For single player there are 11 missions, which feature a variety of objectives in a nice selection of environments. Most of the time you'll be part of a team of 4, with the ability to give simple orders to you team - who are thankfully fairly dependable and a geniune help, and do not require constant guidance. The other missions are just you alone. For these you're granted the ability to shoot around corners using a camera on your gun, and to call in artillery strikes, and they are a genuinely fun and chalenging variation. The levels are nice and open and not the least bit linear, so it's up to you whether you attack from the front or try and circle around behind a heavily dug in enemy (and for the same reasons as must exist in real life, I'd really advise the latter).
Any of the missions can be replayed solitary style or co-op, and can be varied between normal mission objectives, a straight enemy hunt and more. As I havn't got Live I can't comment on the multi-player, but there are lots of gametypes and plenty of maps (about 24).
The AI is surprisingly good. Enemy troops will drop to their stomachs when under fire, run away, try to outflank you, and use vehicles to good effect. One of my most memorable moments came in one of the single player missions, when I decided to move to the other side of a large rock I'd been sniping from behind, only to run straight into 3 enemy soldiers who'd been about to outflank me. Maybe not to the level of Halo Covenant AI, but much better than that exhibited in your usual FPS.
Graphically, the game is excellent. The maps are huge, at about 2 km to a side, and the draw distance is impressive. Atmospheric effects are really nice, especially the rain, and it chugs along comfortably at 30fps. You can choose between 1st and 3rd person views - even in game - and the character animations are really nice. Just try switching between a rifle and rocket launcher in 3rd person view and you'll notice the attention to detail.
The sound is of likewise quality, with good gunfire effects including the whiz of misses and the thuds of bullets in the dirt around you. It really gets the job done of immersing you in the moment.
In terms of longevitey, I would estimate about 8-12 hours to finish the campaign on Normal difficulty. After that, there's the harder setting and Lone Wolf mode to try, of which the latter is a definate must. So even without the multiplayer I reckon there's a good 16-24 hours of play here.
Downsides? Relitively few. On the odd occasion you will find yourself pinned down by an enemy who's just out of sight (in the fog or rain, usually), so you can't shoot back but are still under fire. The best course is usually just to try and outflank them. Also, given the fairly unforgiving nature of the game, you can sometimes get stuck in a hard part of a level, but I prefer to view this as a challenge and try to change my tactics.
So, to sum up, if you want a fast paced, one man army, circle strafing frag fest, don't buy this game. If, on the other hand, you'd like a game with some gritty realism, real strategy, edge of the seat tension, and great replayability, I really couldn't recommend it more.
Especially at less than £20.