When the first propaganda shot of the game came out nearly a year or so ago showing Wehrmacht soldiers marching across the White House lawn with swastika flags hanging in between the ivory columns, I was hooked. I want to like this game, I really do, but if the demo is anything to go by…I’m really worried that it’s not going to be all that great.
The concept…awesome. It’s 1951 and the Nazis have won the war in Europe thanks to Winston Churchill kicking the bucket in 1931. Rolling over England and allowed to develop their wunderweapons, they’ve launched an all out assault on the US of A twenty years later.
You, an ordinary citizen working atop a high rise, are witness to the Third Reich’s storm over the horizon as flying wings, zeppelins, and jets come flying in, swastikas blurring as they pass by, bombing the hell out of…a really underwhelming render of New York. Alright, the graphics look okay, not great, but okay. But I can deal with it if the rest is fun. It is fun, isn’t it?
That depends on what your definition of fun is. The first thing that made me wince was the way that the controls have your sensitivity set to high. There’s no scaling bar that I saw in the options that would have allowed me to tweak the controls for precision, other than allowing me to choose between preset degrees. Medium, a step below the default High, turned me from roadrunning on a spin to turning while wrapped in molasses. Okay, that’s not so hot. But the action should be good!
It’s pretty standard FPS stuff, actually, although the music matches the action. It should be since Michael Giacchino is the one responsible for what you’ll be hearing in the game. But while it might be what you’ve seen in every other FPS, it does try and put a twist on the gameplay. Early in, a Wehrmacht paratrooper lands on a bridge connecting your building to another one and you can grapple with him and use the direction pad to determine what you want to do, almost like what we saw with COD3. In this case, I tossed him off the bridge since that was only the option and watched him fall screaming. Would it hurt the animators to show his arms flailing and legs kicking as he fell? He dropped his MP50 before taking the big leap, which is just like the MP40 only bigger and shinier, allowing me to finally be able to shoot back.
Memories of Hour of Victory began to taunt at my gameplay.
“The only thing that this has in common with that POS is the engine.” and I continued.
I made it into a building and was reminded of Bioshock by the decor, played with the fire alarm and doused a fire that prevented me from moving further, opened the door, and watched my cursor turn red as it passed over a corpse. It seemed that one of those flying wings came a little too close and had gouged itself into the building that I was now in, ejecting its only passenger who was playing possum until I riddled him with a burst. I watched him twitch, his muscles spasm as his trickery failed thanks to my HUD, and then looked on with disbelief as his death rattle animated him into a vertical corpse that hovered in the air.
“Hitler and his damn mystics.”
I made my way through the corpse of the flying machine and exited out to see several more Messerschmidt jets fly by, their Iron Cross insignias burned into their hides, as a swastika’d mini-zeppelin came in close with its passengers firing at the poor American that watched them. I fired back, only I failed to hit anyone, and ducked back into the building reminding myself that I’m still Joe Public…I’m no supersoldier.
Well that, and I did turn off the auto aim help to make things more challenging, but what I didn’t expect to fight against was the collision detection later on. I tried shooting two more soldiers that dropped down from the sky through a hole in a cracked wall of masonry that fell from above, only my bullets weren’t doing anything to the soldier ducking out from behind another block of stone a few yards away. I had a clear line of fire to this guy and had him square in my iron sights, only nothing was happening…until I stepped out further from the large, gaping hole, and into the open where my bullets finally started working.
I made my way across the rooftop to a pipe that would take me across a gap and down into a small parking lot where several more soldiers were waiting for me. Taking them out was the easy part since they didn’t seem all that smart…or that energetic…but that could just be me. Making my way down to the street, I fought my way to a truck that was passing by, offering those with the will to fight a way out. I hopped aboard and watched as the Empire State Building collapsed, a cloud of dust rushing up to meet me, as the demo ended.
It’s…an interesting concept for a game and I was excited about it until the demo which really made me wonder if the final product would be any good. It wasn’t as awful as Hour of Victory’s demo, nowhere near that, but I’m really having a lot of misgivings about what I’ve experienced here.