War is Hell!

Published Date
01 - Jan - 2006
| Last Updated
01 - Jan - 2006
 
War is Hell!
To be honest, I wasn't very excited about being assigned this game to review. I'm not the type who likes WW II shooters! I opened the impressive-looking packaging and pulled out the game box, only to scream in dismay when I saw there were six CDs! "That's 14 times I need to open/close my optical drive!", I moaned-after installing the sixth CD it asks for CD 1 again. Seriously, a DVD would have been nice. (Note to self: please inform all game companies to only send DVDs for review!) I used an AMD Athlon64 3200 , 1 GB DDR 400 MHz RAM, a GeForce 6600 256 MB card and an 80 GB SATA hard drive, and it still took ages to install. "This better be a good game," I muttered.

To my surprise, I started off as a Russian in the game -now that was new to me. The AI is so good that even at the normal difficulty level, the game requires a very different approach from most of the other first person shooters. If you run around trying to blow people away, be prepared to start from the last save point a few hundred times! The enemy AI is good, and depicts the actions of humans well: most FPS games have monsters that charge at you like there's no tomorrow; in Call Of Duty 2 (COD2), enemy (German) snipers will try and blow you to kingdom come from within hiding, and most foot soldiers prefer to hurl grenades rather than try and move up to attack you! Basically, the AI knows how to protect itself, and killing your enemies is not as easy as point and shoot.

Despite not having played the original game, it took me just five minutes to get used to the nuances of this series: every now and then I'd just fall flat on my face, deader than a doornail, wondering what hit me-then I saw the grenade alert indicator! Overall, the learning curve is pretty flat.

I'd turned up the visual detail to maximum in order to enjoy the game to its fullest, but found that it can get a little sluggish and start framing on my configuration. A resolution of 1024 x 768, with 4x AA, trilinear filtering, and with everything else left to the default seemed to work-so that's what I used.





The Missions
Like I mentioned earlier, I started off with team mates who said "Come on comrade, kill the Nazis," then came team mates who said "A'ight mate, let's send these Nazi blokes back to Berlin," to becoming a US corporal… well, you get the drift. Whether as a Russian, British or US soldier, I sure did kill a lot of Nazis. Which made me scratch my head and think, "Does anyone in Germany actually buy this game?" 

The missions take you through the streets of Stalingrad, fighting off hordes of attacking Germans, on to the African Sahara, grinding the Desert Fox's (Field Marshall Rommel's) armoured forces into the dust, and finally on to the American attack of Europe. During the 10 missions, you crawl through pipes to get behind enemy lines, drive a tank and destroy some Panzers, and finally hold out on European soil till your reinforcements arrive.
The Game
The game has a very realistic WW II feel to it, and looking up at the sky you'll often see fighters engaged in the classic dogfights of WW II fame. There's always smoke on the horizon and shelling in the distance. The reality extends to even gun models and the shape of vehicles and grenades. The houses and streets are authentic looking, and your gun isn't a spanking new factory-issued rifle-it has the notches and scratches that come with the rigours of regular use.

Each mission starts with an actual WW II video clip, informing you of news of the war. Then there's a view of your diary, which should tell you where you're going and why. All this combines to make an amazingly authentic setting.

The graphics are pretty good, but after having played Quake 4, DOOM 3 and Half-Life 2, look a little amateurish. The game also has a few bugs and limitations that can be annoying-it refused to go to the next level a couple of times, even though I had completed all my tasks; people were sometimes standing or lying dead in mid-air; and the closed map design style meant you could be standing on a boundary, blocked by something you should easily be able to jump over or crawl under.
Publisher : Activision
Minimum System Configuration : Pentium IV 1.4 GHz or AMD Athlon 1700 , 256 MB RAM, 64 MB DirectX 9.0c compatible card
Price : Rs 1,299
Distributed in India by World Wide CD ROMs
Tel : 022 – 56973894 
Speaking of crawling, increasing the difficulty level should see you doing a lot of that! The game is hard enough in normal mode to keep you occupied for days; any harder and you'll be playing for months!

As I said before, the AI is very good, not just for the enemy, but for your allies as well. If you're going to be playing COD 2, try and remember that you're a soldier in WW II, and part of a squad, so going off solo to scalp as many German kills as possible will see you stuck at one level forever. You have your orders, and you have to fulfil them before you advance!

Overall, playing this game changed my opinion about war shooters, thanks to its realistic feel, great sound and good AI-8 on 10 from this reviewer!


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