This was a game that I bought knowing nothing about it before hand. Never read any reviews, never saw an advertisement, never heard about it. It was a venture.. The pictures on the back of the box looked good. The story sounded good, and the price was somewhat low, which is normal for a company to do when it comes out with it's first game. This particular game happened to be made in cooperation of three different companies. Wannado, 4xStudios, and DCi. Turns out DCi games is really Dreamcatcher Interactive with a different name. They changed it (I guess) so the sales on Iron Storm would be increased... Because Dreamcatcher isn't exactly known for making the best games in the world... As a matter of fact, check out this screenshot of one of their games, (that I bought a while back) Frank Herbert's Dune. Those colors aren't supposed to be like that... I asked their technical support about a fix for it, and after six months there was none. I uninstalled it, and they never patched that game. And because of that experience I had vowed to never buy another Dreamcatcher game ever ever again.
But they tricked me by calling themselves DCi. I'm glad they did that.
The basic story is, World War I never ended. Somehow 50 years have passed and it is still being waged. Your mission is to assasinate the great Baron (blah-blah) who is crazy hungry for territory. You must infiltrate your way through (blah-blah) many levels to get to him. The levels didn't make much sense to me... I didn't know why I was in half of them, or what they were supposed to be. For instance, there's this Train... It's armored and it has a huge mass of weaponry at every angle. It has helicopter support, and lots of enemies outside, inside, and around it. It's supposedly indestructible. Well... If we really wanted to stop it, we'd de-rail it, right? The rails weren't indestructible I'm sure... But instead you play through a level where you end up on top of it (start next level) and then you're moving along avoiding sniper fire, on top of the train speeding along at about 100 Mph. You get in, and you have to find some sort of box that the Baron supposedly can't have. I don't remember ever getting that box... Only ending up in another train station avoiding guys running around with grenade launchers.
But anyway, the meat of the game is pretty good. Each section you end up in always has a little trick or puzzle you have to figure out before you can get past. There's little clues here and there for you to use to figure out what to do. Unfortunately this involves a lot of back tracking, and also adds a bit of unrealism to the game. Another instance is (on the train again) there are four guys huddled up in a gun turret. When you climb the ladder to get up there, they kill you in less than half a second time. I've gone as far as climb up, throw a grenade into the hatch and jump down. Explosion happens, I go back up and they are all sitting there, waiting for me. Turns out they are invincible. The only way you can kill them is to find a well hidden hole, so you can snipe them from a distance. But other than that, the tricks are somewhat clever.
The box says to use stealth and smarts to infiltrate.. however, there's not much stealth involved in the whole game.. As a matter of fact, I only remember one place where stealth actually had to be used to get to the next section, and that was at the beginning of the game. You can low crawl, crouch walk, and tip toe anywhere you want, but I usually ran wherever I went. Now that I think about it, what they meant by 'stealth' probably is just going an indirect route to where you need to go. That has to be it.. It's not a action-oriented First Person Shooter, (like Unreal, or Serious Sam) but sort of an immersive FPS (like AVP2 or Return to Castle Wolfenstein). Enemies are placed just-so in locations that make it hard to just blast through a doorway to outside. Snipers are likely to have a bead on the very doorway you came out of. Or maybe even a tank.
The sound is nothing spectacular. Music is nonexistant, and common sound effects have little in the way of amazement. The most impressive thing about it though, is when you are in close proximity to an explosion. Boy do you hear it! I've actually quit playing a few times because the sound made me jump so bad (if you heard it, you're usully dead). I got a few static errors after a helicopter shoots machine guns at me, but other than that it worked well.
Enemies are good for the most part. The most interesting of which are the kamikaze dogs. They have bombs strapped to their bellies, and they run at you oh-so-fast, and if you don't kill them before they get to you well... BOOM! will be ringing in your ears for a short time (depending on how loud you have your speakers). Sometimes they come at you four or five at a time, and they are so hard to hit. One of the boss-guys I had to beat was running around on a platform, armed with a sniper rifle. His aim was perfect with nearly every shot, and he was hard to hit, because he was far away, and he wouldn't stop moving. The common enemy is simply an 'Axis' type of guy. No personality to make you want to stay your trigger finger.
The thing that sets this game apart from all others, is not the graphics, not the gameplay, not the characters, and not the character abilities. What it is, is the atmosphere. It's a very sad world to be living it. Dead bodies lay everywhere you walk. Death, destruction, and chaos leads and follows you from the start of the game until the end. Different still-scenes show as you progress. There's a house in Wolfburg, with the walls blown off, where you see a bunch of your comrades massacred. They hang from the ceiling, they are hunched over face down, drowning in their own blood, dismembered, and tortured. The dirty rain is falling constantly, adding a quiet, somber mood to your exploration.. Another place in the same city, had a cat trapped in the rubble of a fallen building. Meowing constantly. I tried to find where it was, to let it loose.. but there was no way to. Poor kitty.
Overall, Iron Storm was a worthy experience. I wont say it was fun (as most games aren't nowadays), but I will say it was challenging and respectable. I don't plan on playing through it again, but I will definitely have flash backs of it in the future.
Not quite as good as Return to Castle Wolfenstein, but a lot closer than I expected. Very rarely did I stop what I was doing and just stare at something. And there were a few times where I was just really unimpressed, but most of the time the visuals were adequate.SOUND
Decent sound overall. It wont win any awards, but like the graphics, they were adequate. Actually, I may mention here that the sniper shots sounded different here than any other game I've heard... It actually sounds more realistic in Iron Storm.CONTROL
It's your common FPS, so nothing really special was done here. Aiming seemed to have a little bit of lag to it, but not enough to make it seem bad.GAMEPLAY
The constant backtracking required got on my nerves, but ignoring that, it was very good. Killing people was most of it. Some people never tire of that.OVERALL
I can't really recommend this game over another, simply because it doesn't offer much new. It is a little different from other games of it's class, so unless you are a glutton for punishment, it would be best to pass this one up. It will frustrate you, and make you pull your hair out. It will make you angry and next thing you know, determination you never knew you had will take you over. And you will finish it.
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