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New World Order Review
publisher: Strategy First
developer: Termite Games
PIII-600, 128MB RAM, 32MB 3D accelerator
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Mar 18, 03 (released)
|» All About New World Order on ActionTrip|
Here it is folks. Another terrorist and anti-terrorist dispute, simply waiting to be solved with a barrage of bullets and powerful explosives. Termite Games' title New World Order once again puts players in that timeless CS-like ambiance. You know, intense deathmatch shootouts, hostage rescue, and so on. It seems that such premises have begun to flood the gaming industry and multiply quicker than sexually liberated Hippies in the 60's. Is that good or bad? In most cases it is bad. Generally, because a large number of these games don't offer any original features. In the past year we've seen a small number of multiplayer games that have presented any sort of novelties (Moblie Forces, Global Ops, America's Army, etc.). But, in terms of pure multiplayer addictiveness, very few of them have managed to surpass the glory of Counter-Strike or Quake 3.
That's right, just keep dancin'!
Your shadow follows you closely.
New World Order has a d'ją vu storyline. The game places you in the near future, when terrorist organizations are more powerful then ever. One particularly nasty group of international terrorists, called The Syndicate, begins a massive campaign of sabotage operations, extortion, kidnapping, and similar merciless activities. As a rookie, you are put in the ranks of a well-known anti-terrorist unit - the GAT (Global Assault Team), which specializes in handling such unfortunate international matters. The coolest thing about joining the GAT is that you have the authority to operate freely and "conduct" the situation any way you see fit.
So, here's how the game works. When you begin, you have the choice of playing a number of single-player missions or you can create or join a multiplayer game. Either way, the game behaves really weird and has an annoyingly sluggish frame-rate, which of course decreases even further when a large number of players enters the match. Throughout the single-player experience, you'll have a hard time completing each mission. At first, I thought the developers did a decent job on the AI, but after an hour of gameplay I realized that the game won't allow you to stay alive more than 30 seconds. No matter how hard you try to get through to remain hidden, enemies will be shooting at you within minutes. And that usually spells the end of the mission. So yeah, it seems like they've cheated a bit by making the AI ridiculously aware of your whereabouts.
Another annoying issue is that you cannot equip yourself with any additional armor (vests and stuff like that). Apparently, the player has a default body armor which he gains at the beginning of each mission. But, the problem is this armor cannot shield him from an oncoming shower of enemy bullets. This is a rather unrealistic moment in the game. Just remember how this was handled in Counter-Strike - if you equip your body with a high-priced vest, your opponents will have a hard time gunning you down. Whereas in New World Order, it usually takes one or two bullets to get you out of the game. On the other hand, the exclusion of bullet-proof vests and armor handling can save a lot when you're re-equipping. Then again, what's the point of having an armor that's about as useful in a fire fight as an evening dress?
These issues may put off players right off the bat, plus - as I said, your opponents are extremely tough to beat. Actually, make that "exceedingly annoying" rather than "tough to beat." Instead of making your opponents act naturally, the developers endowed them with a poorly balanced AI routine. In short, they're too darn accurate and lethal, yet their actions are sometimes completely idiotic. Here's a brief example: when an enemy hears you coming, he will run to alert his teammates or he will try to go around and approach you from behind. Both of these tactics rarely seem to work. When an opponent tries to outwit you, he will usually run around in a circle like a mad man, until he gets stuck somewhere. As it turns out, playing New World Order in single-player becomes a nuisance rather than a decent challenge. It was announced that the latest patch would fix some of these issues; although several NWO forums indicate that a number of players still keeps complaining about bugs and game crashes regardless of the installed patch.
Praise the lawd!
The most enormous fart ever!
Normally, any terrorism-themed title will have you rummaging through a standard choice of light and heavy weaponry. A choice of three handguns is available (Desert Eagle, USP SD, and Glock 7). The rifle "family" includes the M4 SD, AK5, everyone's favorite Kalashnikov, and so on. Next to those, you can choose the usual shotguns and sub-machine guns (the Benelli, MP5, etc.). Surprisingly enough, there's only two grenade types you can use - Frag Grenade and the ever-popular Flashbang. Anyhow, it took me a while to figure out if the weapons are as realistic as they should be - to be totally honest with ya, the terrible frame-rate made things even more tricky. In the end, I think that rifles, shotguns, handguns, or any other weapon you might be using, respond pretty well. Recoiling is convincing enough. It's a shame you won't get a proper chance to enjoy it.
One of the things that slightly improves the gameplay, is the SAT (satellite) system which can track enemy movement. However, when you're in single-player mode, this option is available only in certain scenarios. This GPS system can also give you some useful tips; how to gain access to certain areas, how to avoid enemy contact, etc.
Perhaps there's one thing that might seem intriguing to some players. New World Order shows amazing visual potential. All of the maps display an impressive array of details in the background, as well as nice-looking shadow and light effects, and reflections. That's fine and all, but what happens to the frame-rate? Regardless of how you've set the game's visual parameters, the frame-rate will remain slow throughout most of the game. So, what good are visual effects, when you can hardly maintain a solid frame-rate - and in what is supposed to be a Counter-Strike like online shooter? I played on an Athlon XP+ 1600, a Nvidia GeForce 3 graphic card, and almost 1GB of RAM. Believe it or not, such a rig is not adequate to power this game at 15+ FPS.
At first glance, the maps appear to be OK, but after a couple of deathmatches you'll realize that the hot spots are completely misplaced. It kind of feels like the maps were designed for single-player mission assignments rather than challenging multiplayer matches, which is a contradiction in terms since this game was obviously geared towards multiplayer gaming.
And to top it all off, we weren't able to connect to one of the public servers in order to see how the game works online. Unfortunately, the developers have revealed that the high-speed servers will begin to operate during this week, so we'll have to wait a bit more to fill you in on that one (we have broadband at the office, btw). New World Order can be fun to play in LAN modes; provided of course you and your teammates have powerful enough PC's and even then you'll need to install the patch. By the way, the recently released patch (v. 1.1) reduces the number of crashes and bugs, but I'm afraid it still doesn't decrease the game's excessive system requirements.
So, my fellow readers, summarizing my experiences with New World Order, I have to say that there's quite a lot of polishing that needs to be done; particularly in terms of engine bugs and various graphic optimizations; and of course there's the 'small' matter of proper server support for the online matches. The single-player mode is tiresome and too difficult, while the multiplayer mode needs proper support in terms of servers and netcode fixes. The game does have a few positive gameplay moments, such as the helpful SAT mode, but that's about all there is to it. The graphics are good, but cannot seem to compensate for the overall lack of gameplay depth, or the godawful framerates.
Solid graphics and interesting mission assignments. Some innovative gameplay elements, like the SAT mode;
Too buggish and too demanding for average systems. Multiplayer maps are not that well designed and need better hot spots. The AI is lame - enemy fire is unrealistically accurate. Needs much better server support for online matches.
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