War is a frequent breeding ground for video games - often too frequently as our friend Jeff opined on his blog Volatile Mode. It can serve as a grand backdrop for a variety of stories, and that is what this title is - a story about the horrors of war and how it affects those participating it. This was a game that I did not even know existed, but that my son picked me up for Christmas one year, and I found myself pleasantly surprised by what turns out to be more of a tactical shooter that has more in common with Gears of War than Call of Duty.
Graphics - 6:
I can't lie - this is a pretty ugly game. I know it is a few years old now, but I can't imagine that it looked good by comparison then either. Clipping through objects is not rare, the environments are bland and often lifeless and the characters models do not impress at all.
This holds up much better for me. The music lends itself to the narrative taking place, adding a sense of atmosphere to many of the tense, dramatic moments. There is a lot of spoken dialog as well, and it is all delivered well. No one in particular embarrasses themselves here, and quite often the story feels more like a movie than a game in some of the more critical moments.
Gameplay - 7:
This game is more tactical than your traditional war title as you give orders to squad members and try to manage ground and cover. Giving these directions to your team is actually pretty easy, though they occasionally do some stupid things - but that goes for both your team and the opponents. The actual gun play works well too, though it is not as snappy as Battlefield or Call of Duty.
Intangibles - 7:
There's no trophies to be had, for those who really like acquiring them. There is multiplayer as well, but I couldn't get a match. Not sure if no one else was playing, or the servers were down. There are a few difficulty levels, and you can go revisit chapters you have beaten as well if there was a particular one you liked.
Overall - 7:
A few years ago, this would have probably been a 7.5 or an 8 - maybe higher. It is a game that can be found pretty inexpensively now, and I actually enjoyed it more than the technical score probably indicates. For me though, the lack of multiplayer hurt, and there were no trophies to try and go back for, so once I beat the game on normal, I just lacked the ambition to crank it up to hard and had little reason to play the game again.