It took forever to arrive, but when it did it was well worth the wait and is probably the best tactical shooter on current generation consoles. At £7.99 it deserves a place in any shooter fan’s collection, even if they’re hesitant about the more tactical approach.
That’s almost £2 cheaper than the next best price at Game Gears.
Your squad is easy to manoeuvre round the battlefield. You select where you want them to go and they’ll find the nearest available cover rather than stand around like idiots. The covering fire system works well, with an icon over the general vicinity of enemy troops. Red means they are free to fire. Wear this down to grey by firing back and they’ll be supressed and generally avoid risking sticking their heads out for a shot. The squad controls are simple to grasp even for players new to the series and the sense of satisfaction you’ll get from outmanoeuvring the enemy is quite special.
After countless WWII games, this squad-based shooter this is the best representation of the constant harrowing fear and panic of the battlefield. Relying on a slower, more thought out tactical approach than Medal of Honor et al, the gameplay is infinitely more rewarding with some missions taking over an hour. The final mission is nothing short of terrifying, with an ending worthy of the cinematic greats.
The story of the game follows on from the last PS2 game but don’t worry about it too much if you missed it as the plot is easy to pick up (you may be tempted to raid the dusty PS2 shelves after this though). The scale and ambition is on a par with Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers, with spectacular action and real emotion between the soldiers. You’re in the middle of the infamously botched Operation Market-Garden, where instead of the war being over by Christmas, the allies received a major ass-kicking. Most missions involve taking out the giant 88 guns, liberating Eindhoven or simply staying alive against seemingly impossible odds.
The main perspective of the game is first person shooting, but this is quite difficult with your gun-sights taking up so much space onscreen. Instead, the best option is to find cover and lean out and shoot. Here the camera zooms out to third-person and puts cross-hairs on the screen which helps your targeting much more. Ammo is plentiful for standard weapons and you’ll need it as it’s quite difficult nailing Nazi’s from afar.
Brilliant AI, a simple, well implemented squad command interface and tense against the odds encounters make this the best WWII game yet. Hells’ Highway raised the bar considerably for WWII shooters. Unfortunately, since then the shooter genre has become obsessed with identikit shooters set in the Middle East that rarely ask for any thought. The Rainbow Six games are the closest match, but a little dry in comparison in terms of execution, setting and plot.