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Faces of War

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Faces of War

Post by atreyudevil on Sun Sep 19, 2010 7:18 am

Hehe sori Tin, wa baru perasan post hang!

ni dia Faces of War punya review by 2404!

Faces of War Review
by:Anguel Delidjakov

Ibelieve this is one of those sequels which tread along the line betweennot enough change and too much change, or, in other words, the amountof things it adds is nicely balanced with those it keeps. In spite ofitself, it gives credit to Soldiers for being a fantasticgame in little need for revision, and if it wasn’t for a few cosmeticchanges it would have been hard to spot the difference between the two. What you get in the sequel is literally more of the same, which,however, is presented in way that doesn’t feel like a simple expansionpack. There are some tweaks here and some additions there, but nothingreally major that may alienate existing fans.[/size]
Gameplay / ValueDuringthe tutorial missions I thought the answer was “nothing,” and was justpleased to be playing the game once again, as there wasn’t and isn’tanything like it. However, various small changes then became apparent,such as a reworked heads-up display offering a bit more control overyour units, visual indicators showing the positions your soldiers willtake when you are using cover, larger inventory so you can carry morethan weapons at a time, unlocked camera which lets you pan and zoom anyway you please – all nice features but nothing critically needed. Whenthe first mission began, however, I saw the biggest change and realizedwhat I’d never really gotten to see before. In Soldiers, Itypically undertook small-scale mission in some remote and quietvillage or town, left with my squad and my own devices. That isn’tsaying that there was no action, but the amount of enemy units wasn’tlarge and skirmishes were quick and brutal. Faces of War’smissions, on the other hand, feature large waves of attacking anddefending soldiers duking it out along with you. More often than not,an assault force of allied NPCs begins the level with a frontal attack,leading you on but at the same time expecting you to push forward untilyou manage to permanently rid the area of enemy. During some of thefiercer levels, continuous reinforcements replenish the ranks on eitherside, and even though enemies retreat little by little, you still get asense of an ongoing struggle without an end in sight. Not all levelsare of such urgent atmosphere, however, and some resemble the quiet andquick proceedings from Soldiers, while others reverse conditions halfway through. Enjoying as I was the slow pace in Soldiers,I never really wondered what would happen if the game mechanics wereapplied on a larger scale, but I’m really glad Best Way showed me. Each mission plays like Call of Duty’s most frantic scenes,only unscripted, open-ended, and with a much better view. The scopeand intensity of the battles in fact comprise the biggest difference Ifound between Soldiers and its sequel, and with the help ofthe fantastic engine the results are always impressive. I am startingto think that Best Way thought they wasted the engine’s ability toshowcase ferocious combat scenes in the original, and are thus makingup for it this year. Faces of War has more action-orientedand fast-paced levels than before but with all the tactical flavorintact; the difference is that you’ll have to think faster becausethings are happening faster. With the help of the brilliant AI andphysics interaction, the tactically realistic battles which happenin-game in Faces of War can only be found as cutscenes inother games. It is plain fun to watch them unfold, as soldiers takecover, run, shoot, die, and blow the surroundings apart. Such casesmade me appreciate the quality of the game in a way I couldn’t with Soldiers.

Thechoice of what to do and when to do it is still yours despite the rushyou’re put in; you just have to get used to the environmentdeteriorating quickly during the course of a level. Adapting tounpredictable situations is the nature of the game anyway, and sinceeach action has a little dose of uncertainty to it, you’ll just have todo your best to cope with the consequences. Some might complain aboutthe abundance of scripted events during missions compared to Soldiers,but I believe they bring focus to your actions and make battles a bitmore exciting and unpredictable. After all, situations can changerapidly on a battlefield, and since Faces of War tries toportray skirmishes on a larger scale, having static conditions wouldbecome monotonous and repetitive in the long run. Difficulty,if you can imagine it, has been increased, and I do not recommend toanyone the Tactics mode. The only other option is Arcade, and what youend up with is either a decent challenge (the latter) or a nearimpossible challenge (the former). I am not sure why Best Way took theMedium difficulty away, but I would have preferred a middle ground. There is a lot more activity during the levels, and scripted eventsare more numerous so you don’t know when and where the next tank columnwill show up. Thankfully there are also a lot more structures,buildings, and objects, so you can find cover and safety easier(although nothing is safe from a high explosive round); nevertheless,reaching victory in these conditions on Tactics difficulty would be anachievement. I am not saying that I coast through the missions onArcade mode (although the AI can take care of itself really well); it’sjust that the contrast between it and Tactics is too great, and itseems like at least one more difficulty setting is missing. Apart from the raised tempo and the various additions relating to it, expect the same open-ended freedom seen in Soldiers. You have your tanks, jeeps, snipers, and riflemen; you have a largemap littered with destructible objects all powered by a physics engine;you have the competent AI assuring that battles are fun and varied;and, of course, you are always on a mission to kill and survive. Despite that you are given clear objectives, the non-linearity of thegame guarantees numerous ways of reaching them – and the challenge tofind the best way to get it done is where the game shines.
MultiplayerMultiplayer was fantastic in Soldiers,and I’m pleased that it hasn’t changed much in this successor, at leastas far as setup goes. Some modes have been scrapped and some added(thankfully co-op remains untouched), and there is a nice mix of teamand free-for-all scenarios. A new addition, which I found bizarre butreally fun, is Chicken Hunt, where the objective is to try to steallivestock from a farmhouse and bring it back to a designated area forpoints. Not only do you have to fight between each other for thechicken, but you also have to watch out for the none-too-pleasedfarmers who are trying their best to repel the intruders. Gamemechanics such as physics and cover make the multiplayer matches veryaddicting, and, if you have someone to play with, you can just skip thesingle player portion completely and busy yourself with co-op and therest of the modes. The resource system has been upgraded, and nowbesides money you can also use time as a way of recruiting units. I amnot sure which works better, as I had no complaints before, but now youhave the choice to try different tactics.
Evenif you finished the campaign successfully, you’ll find that you are notproperly prepared for multiplayer skirmishes. There is a fog of waronline so you’ll have to get used to conjuring up tactics on the fly,rather than surveying the enemy and organizing an elaborate attack. You can also control a lot more units at a time, so you won’t be usingtoo much direct control; otherwise, you won’t have time to properlymanage all of your squads. This way, the game feels more like a realstrategy game rather than the action shooter from the single playercampaign. The dozen or so maps feel somehow smaller than before; Iguess it’s the clutter all over them or the fog of war. At any rate,the fights break out soon after loading, especially with more peopleplaying. I thought the maps were not as well made as those in Soldiers,but overall you have a great variety of game styles and maps, and
thereis always the editor which lets you build anything you wish. Graphics / SoundThis is pretty much Soldierswith added pixel shaders and numerous little effects to go along withthem. It doesn’t really try to distance itself from the cartoony lookof the original, but with the added shine it lies somewhere betweengritty and bright. Sometimes, at a certain angle it might lookrealistic, then at another it’s back to pleasant and cute, but since Iam no fan of depressing-looking games, I had no qualms with the game’sportrayal of the war. However, you can still feel the severity of thebattles in part thanks to the plethora of visual effects, and in partthanks to the sound. I found the sound effects absolutely convincingand of high quality, and along with the graphics they create anoverwhelming display of mayhem and destruction. Unfortunately, theprice to pay for it is certainly more than what my three year oldcomputer is worth. I had some difficulties even with Soldierswhere physics were involved, but now I have to cope with that plus afair amount of little soldiers thinking of interesting ways toslaughter each other, and when they try really hard it is at no morethan twenty frames per second, usually less. Make sure you get therecently released hotfix, which took care of a serious problem thatbrought the game to a crawl each time a building collapsed or a tankwas blown up; decreasing view distance also helped a lot, and duringthe welcomed periods of smooth performance the game felt and lookedincredibly dramatic.

ConclusionBasically,it all comes down to choice, and the more you’re given, the further thegame goes from being a task to complete and closer to being a toy toplay with. Having more ways to manipulate the game gives you a muchgreater feeling of control, and as far as real time strategy games areconcerned I don’t think I’ve ever owned a better toy than Faces of War. It has recreated close combat World War II warfare in great detail andwithin a dynamic environment, where each object has an active role ingameplay. It may not be historically accurate, but the realism stemsfrom the authenticity of situations that develop as well as the fullinteraction between units, and the overall effect is one of naturalflow where everything seems real and believable. I really don’t knowif I’m unjustly glorifying the game, but the fact is I enjoyed itimmensely and I’m ready for #3.

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