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The Outfit Preview

publisher: THQ
developer: Relic Entertainment
genre: Action

ESRB rating: M

release date: Mar 13, 06
» All About The Outfit on ActionTrip

THQ and Relic have fired up several projects together for the year ahead. Relic is currently busy with the forthcoming RTS, Company of Heroes, which evidently has great potential. Well, that's not all. THQ and Relic have collaborated on yet another WW II inspired title, entitled The Outfit, a squad-based third person action game. Unlike Company of Heroes, The Outfit remains an Xbox 360 exclusive and from what we've seen, Relic is on the right track with this one. The important thing to note is that if you're looking for an accurate interpretation of WW II conflicts, The Outfit may not be your cup of tea, since you'll be experiencing unrealistic stuff like Sherman tanks, jeeps and anti-tank guns being dropped on demand straight into the fray. Hey, it may not be realistic, but if it's fun, it'll work.

The story in this game is fairly straightforward and mostly makes way for the standard run-and-gun gameplay mechanics. But every game needs a decent backdrop. In short, it is 1944 and you find yourself in Europe with the job of leading two squads and skillfully tracking down a crazed German General, while completing a series of demanding tasks. Although it may seem like another tedious run of the mill plot, the development team promised that players are going to encounter unexpected twists as they go along.

There are three playable characters to control, all of which possess a range of unique abilities. You will be able to get into the shoes of J.D. Tyler, Deuce Williams and Tommy Mac. By the way, every one of these colorfully-named characters heads off into battle with a hefty arsenal. Usually, when they jump into action they are equipped with weapons like pistols, sniper rifles, bazookas and so on. Of course, they all have the necessary skill to handle specific weapons. Hence, Tommy likes to take down his enemies with a flamethrower and a machine gun, whereas Deuce enjoys wielding a pistol and rocket launcher. J.D. Tyler is your basic assassin type. While the sniper remains his primary weapon, he also keeps a shotgun handy to prepare himself for close encounters. Generally, he favors a more stealthy approach towards achieving his goal and frequently prefers to eliminate opponents quickly and from a great distance.

The Outfit allows players to go through 12 intense single-player missions, each offering a variety of challenges. In order to survive through all of your tasks, you're gonna have to do your best to gun down as many foes as you can. Results are everything in war. The idea is to bag as many opponents as possible in order to gain FUs (Field Units). These FUs are sort of like in-game currency and it's crucial that you collect as many as you can, in order to improve your arsenal and increase reinforcements. Heroes (squad leaders) have their own specific weapon upgrades, which are available to them alone. Each of the squad leaders are supported by additional soldiers who are very similar to their superiors both in appearance and behavior. In any case, the squadmate AI obeys your orders and reacts according to the surroundings. When left to fend for themselves, squadmates will find cover, lay down suppressing or covering fire to help you complete the mission. They can also mount machine guns and 37mm anti-tank guns, which is of big help when the area is swarming with enemy troops.

During missions your squad will have a range of primary and secondary objectives. As you go from mission to mission, you can earn over 35 different decorations - that's for the single-player mode (apart from that, you'll be able to receive an additional 35 medals during online matches).

The game, obviously, doesn't require any brainstorming. The fast-paced action takes you through intense combat and the tasks you get to complete are quite straightforward. Most assignments require your squad to capture as many crucial points on the map as humanly possible. Once you prove yourself in combat and earn enough points, you can summon for reinforcements and additional drops. Players can receive just about anything when they call for support, including mortars, machine gun emplacements, bombing runs and air strikes, more soldiers etc. Sometimes the situation can be rather grim on the battlefield, thus you may require heavier military stuff. Still, that won't be a problem, because you can also call in tanks or armored vehicles to help you make your way through enemy positions. Should you need a Sherman tank, just give the signal, and it will be at your disposal.

Now there are several ways you can handle a difficult battle situation. Many different strategies are open to players, but once they get their hands on a tank, it's likely they'll take the most obvious course of action. (Go in Master Chief mode? - Ed) For instance, your squad could find itself deep behind enemy lines, trapped between two buildings and completely surrounded by foes. This clearly looks like a no-way-out situation. Or at least it would be, if you didn't order a tank from heaven. As soon as the tank touches the ground, all you have to do is operate it and blast your way through enemy ranks or, if you prefer, blast your way through one of the buildings and make for a more adequate position on the battlefield. Ah the hell with it, why not go through the damn buildings? The game allows players to demolish walls, buildings, fences, bridges, and use almost any strategy they see fit so as to overwhelm their opponents.

The vehicles are one of the most useful features throughout almost all of the assignments. The developers promised somewhere around 20 unique vehicles in the game. An assortment of different vehicles can be obtained via the Field Unit menu, while certain vehicles are scattered throughout the level and can be manned at any time. It's also important to get to them in time, before your enemy beats you to it. Every vehicle or heavy artillery can be used by the opposing forces, so it all depends on how quick you are. Moreover, we were very impressed with Relic's upgrade system, which allows players to receive improvements to some of the weapons and vehicles. To do this you must first earn enough cash and complete a specific task. If you do this successfully, your team will receive a tank upgrade. After that you may be able to furnish your tank with a handy flamethrower that torches everything in its path. Upgrades can go even further and eventually you'll be able to supply your tank with a massive missile launcher that fires 32 missiles consecutively. With such a powerful weapon in their possession, your squad will be able to penetrate through enemy defenses in no time whatsoever.

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