Players: 1+ Player Game | Release Date: 05/12/02 | Genre: Shooter
I can truly say that the developers went out of their way to research and produce a game worthy of a realistic first person shooter. The game is set in 1985, at a point many could consider the height of the Cold War. The game drops you as an American soldier in midst of a brewing conflict in Europe with the Soviet Union. After some quick training exercises at camp, your squad is sent on a variety of missions where the story begins to unfold. With Gold Edition, the player gets to explore many more of the story lines as they develop. Your success in the field also has an outcome on your career and the war itself.
Although I was hoping to hear some 80's music in the barracks to set the mood, the game does not fail to capture the details of equipment from the era. You will see (and potentially operate) a variety of guns, tanks, aircraft and other miscellaneous devices. It first hit home for me when I was lining up a stinger missile on a Russian Hind. On that note, it is a little difficult when the game switches you out of field as a foot soldier into a tank (or other vehicle). The controls take some getting used to and it can be frustrating at first to learn a vehicle like the A-10. While difficult at first, this changed after some restarting the mission several times and learning the hard way.
The game controls will be more different than most players are used to. There is a bit of a leaning curve as this is not your typical FPS. For example, the mouse button can shoulder your weapon certain if you are not paying attention to the popup screen. They do let the player adjust the control settings so there is no need for panic. There are important controls to learn most of which are covered in pre-game tutorials. Ammunition use can be key, you need to focus on how much you have left and what mode you are firing in. The M16 alone can be fired in single shot, or in burst.
This is not the typical, run around and kill with Uber-weapon game. You have to learn to get down and work with members of your team. The player will find that they need to line up enemies, and take measured shots (in metal sights none the less). Firing from the hip is difficult (and realistic) as shots have a tendency to spray about. My first mistake (typical Doom and James Bond style) was to run ahead of my squad firing away from the hip. My squad lay down behind some trees while every enemy soldier and tank on the field targeted me as I ran blinding firing across the battlefield. All of my shots went everywhere since I didn't take time to line up the enemy who was atleast about 100 yards away.
With that being said, the typical James Bond player might not like this game. You can get "winded" in this game by running. If you are hit, you need to call for a medic to be restored to health. Many of the battles are fought at a respectable range. You are forced to conserve ammunition and use enemy weapons if nothing else is available (this can be fun). But, you will have freedom. There were some times that I needed to avoid enemy patrols, and find my way home alone using the stars in a civilian vehicle.
The graphics in the game are rather stunning. As mentioned before, the stars and landscapes add a good deal to the game. You listen as platoon leaders give you orders. The dialog can get old if you have to restart the mission multiple times. I have found one or two quirks. One time I was fleeing a town with my squad and the guy running in front of me had his head on backwards. In general, this is not a problem. This game is definitely worth your attention. The game is very entertaining and set in a much different environment than most developers have given us before. I recommend that you try this game, as I doubt you will be disappointed.