- Xbox Live Marketplace Update: May 21st, 2013
- Metro: Last Light Gets 4 DLC Packs Planned, Season Pass Available
- Ryse Confirmed as Xbox One Exclusive
- Battlefield 4 Will Be Available this Holiday for Next-Gen
- Call of Duty: Ghosts Xbox One Media
- Forza Motorsport 5 Xbox One Screens & Trailer
- Xbox One Specs
- Mornin '13
- No Backwards Compatibility with Xbox One
- Xbox One Does NOT Have to Always Be Online
- Call of Duty: Ghosts Shown On Xbox One, Timed-Exclusive DLC
- Halo TV Series Announced
- Watch Live TV with Xbox One [Updated]
- Microsoft Announces Its Next Console: Xbox One
- REVIEW: Metro: Last Light
- Peter Molyneux's Godus Going Mobile
Delta Force: Black Hawk Down Review
PIII 733, 256MB RAM, 32MB Video Card , 750MB HD
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Mar 24, 03 (released)
|» All About Delta Force: Black Hawk Down on ActionTrip|
I'm sure a good many of you have had the pleasure of seeing Ridley Scott's masterful interpretation of the events that took place in Somalia almost a decade ago when two Blackhawk helicopters were downed over the anarchistic, militia occupied city of Mogadishu. Mr. Scott didn't shy away from showing urban warfare for what it really is: dangerous, savage and very deadly. The movie showed that military doctrine fails and pure instinct prevails when a man is stranded in an extremely hostile environment and facing foes that have no regard for human life, especially that of US soldiers. But even though fear and anxiety are rampant at such moments, reasoning, courage under fire, and adhering to one's military training become the deciding factors that usually separate a good soldier from a bad one. By definition, the Delta Force operatives are, by definition, good soldiers. In fact, they were the ones who were sent into the belly of the beast to rescue the helicopter crews and the units that were initially sent in to rescue them. They are one of the few elite Special Forces units in the world, and if we were to judge by how General Adid is doing today (he's been assassinated by the Delta's in '96), and how they have handled themselves in Mogadishu in '93, I doubt that there are many people who would argue with their skill and expertise.
This looks like a nice place to have a little snooze.
Let's shoot us some fish sergeant.
By all accounts, the conflict in Somalia was an extremely messy one. Originally, the objective of the US troops was to secure humanitarian supply lines and possibly restore order in Mogadishu. Little did they know (and the same goes for the CIA planners) just how crazy and upside down everything was in Somalia. One of the key problems in that conflict was the fact that the US units were outnumbered, they couldn't separate friend from foe (the baddies were all dressed as civilians), and the city itself was littered with narrow streets and plenty of ambush spots. The movie tried to convey the sense of urgency, sheer desperation and disbelief that the cut off soldiers must have felt during those crucial few days, so the team at NovaLogic had the same goal in mind when they started work on Delta Force: Blackhawk Down.
The latest installment in the Delta Force series is in many ways different, and technically superior to its predecessors. For one, the game uses a brand-new 3D engine, which is a welcome relief, given the "quality" of the Land Warrior 3D code. The gameplay is now more fast-paced and action-oriented than ever; the goal of the designers was to get across that very same sense of urgency that we saw in the movie, so instead of opting for a more sim-like approach (something that Raven Shield does so well) they've decided to make a highly cinematic and extremely dynamic recreation of the Somali conflict.
Right off the bat, you'll be thrown in the thick of things. You fly in on a Blackhawk while manning a minigun, or ride in a hummer while operating a .50 caliber heavy machine gun. Civilians will be screaming left and right as they battle for food rations in front of supply trucks, and then, all of a sudden, the "skinnies" will start popping out of nowhere and launching RPG's or shooting from AK-47s. Once the area has been cleared with the heavy machine guns you'll be ordered to follow waypoints on foot, while securing perimeters and clearing out enemy shooters from the nearby buildings.
DFBHD is mission based. Missions vary from, as I said, rescue operations, to the very same tasks and locations we've had a chance to see in the movie. Unfortunately, the designers didn't give much (or any) attention to incorporating a cohesive story in the game, but the lack of any narrative or recognizable characters is somewhat cushioned by the highly cinematic feel to the preset scenarios, and the way that the designers have directed the events in the game - they move at high pace and they look quite spectacular. The gameplay itself is very simplistic as it all comes down to gunning down bad guys and following your mission waypoints. The same can be said about the arsenal and the gun properties, as well as the player movement. DFBHD feels more like an action shooter than a military sim. The guns certainly don't recoil properly, and the semi-automatic rifles are way too accurate, even when the player is running and shooting. Delta Force soldiers move too fast (it's as if they're not carrying a single piece of equipment on them), and the jumping is highly unrealistic in a sense that the soldiers have a freakishly high vertical leap, not to mention that the physics are somewhat screwed up, so it seems as though they're floating rather than jumping under full battle gear. This all goes in line with the specific design approach that the developers have taken however. DFBHD gameplay is flamboyant, but ultimately very shallow. Still, that's not to say that I consider this to be an entirely bad thing. The designers had a certain goal in mind when they started out the design process and they've stuck with it. I rather enjoyed the varied maps, as well as the prompt unfolding of events. Even though they're not particularly true to life, the weapons are very fun to use, and if we were to judge BHD by its gameplay mechanics and overall atmosphere, then, I'd say that the game turned out quite successful.
There's something behind that palm-tree I swear.
Let's take out the tires.
However, that's just one side of the coin. The other side is the rather lackluster AI code, as well as the ineffective team AI. The enemies in DFBHD are not particularly environmentally aware, and certainly not calm enough to hit anything during heavy firefights. In fact, I've had no problems picking them off from five feet away, even though they were directly facing me and firing from an AK-47 (I played on the normal level of difficulty). The only time that I'd get shot is when I would run out in the open or get one in the back because my teammates weren't effectively covering my six. The enemy AI panics way too much under fire, and sometimes, it simply won't see or hear you coming even though you're running, yelling, and shooting not two feet away from where they're standing. It seems, however, that some of their stupidity is intentional, as the designers obviously wanted to make the player feel like a hotshot fighting these cowardly, frantic militia men dressed in rags and wielding AK-47s. One interesting thing of note is that the Delta Force soldiers have much more detailed faces and animated eyes, while the "skinnies" have this uniform and blurry texture pasted over their face. However fun it may be to enjoy the frantic action and the spectacular gun fights in Delta Force: Blackhawk Down, many players will surely be put off by the ultimately very simplistic gameplay which throws scores of mindless drones at you who panic easily and often don't see or hear you even though you're breathing down their neck. Intentional or not, it doesn't help the gameplay any, nor does it add more intensity to the firefights.
Graphically, it's fair to say that the game looks very good. I loved the unit animation, and generally speaking, the physics model is very good, apart from the jumping. Vehicle explosions look amazing - you can clearly see the car parts and burning tires as they are launched in the air from the blast. Water effects look very natural (heavy use of pixel shaders) and the levels are as diverse as it can be expected from a game that takes place in Somalia. Models are perfectly animated, and the locational damage model is very believable. The bad guys are way too simplistic in terms of textures and polys, but at least they look good from a distance.
The sound effects are professionally done, and the music helps heighten the frenzied action during some of the more dynamic missions.
Finally, the multiplayer mode is very fun, and just as good as those in any of the previous Delta Force games. In fact, given the game's technical superiority over its predecessors, it's safe to say that the multiplayer is the best one in the series yet. DFBHD brings a unique mix of military combat and arcade shooter elements which will certainly appeal to many gamers. I for one enjoyed it more than the multiplayer action in Raven Shield. Think of it this way; it's the single-player game but with real, live, and very dangerous human opponents. It's how the game was meant to be played in the first place.
Overall, one cannot dispute that this is the flashiest Delta Force game yet. The single-player campaign is in many ways quite effective in conveying the sense of harried combat, and it all looks and sounds really good. Delta Force is an arcade shooter, so if you're looking for a bona fide military simulation you'll be better off with Raven Shield. Some of the game's glaring drawbacks might ultimately turn away those that are undecided whether or not they should buy this game, but if you're in for some solid multiplayer fun and a rather superficial, but spectacular looking single-player action, I think Delta Force: Blackhawk Down will have enough to offer to justify the purchase.
New graphics engine is refreshing, game is gripping with some cinematic qualities to it, multiplayer is fun;
AI is weak, gameplay can be overly simplistic; unrealistic physics for a military sim.
BACK TO TOP