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PLATFORM PC

S.W.I.N.E. Review

GAME INFO
publisher: Stormregion
developer: Fishtank Interactive
genre: Strategy

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS
PII-466, 96MB RAM, 32MB 3D accelerator
ESRB rating: T
homepage:
www.swine-online.com/

release date: Nov 19, 01
» All About S.W.I.N.E. on ActionTrip


December 25, 2001
Dusan "Lynx" Katilovic

S.W.I.N.E. is one of the games that deserve special attention in this sea of RTS titles which appeared recently. Its informal and almost grotesque appearance, comparable to any good cartoon, had primarily been meant for players sick and tired of grievous characters and military accomplishments. Guys, from the Stormregion developer team used all their zany humor to bring us this title.

We are all familiar with stories of antagonism between different species of farm animals having to live together on a farm. Unfortunately, on this very farm the age of tolerance ended and both pigs and rabbits decided it was time to take a stand against the enemy. This can only mean one thing - WAR!

The game's appearance and concept are very humorous and funny. The rabbits and French and the pigs are German. You will really enjoy listening to their hilarious dialogues, and I have to commend the script writers. The graphics perfectly become the general atmosphere - they are lively, colorful and perfectly depict a cartoonish world in a bloody conflict. The level of model and texture detail is great, but this was, unfortunately compensated by the just as incredible hardware requirements of the game. The cities, structures, bases and characters... everything looks as good as it gets.

But do not be deceived by the game's comic appearance - S.W.I.N.E. is a very serious tactical real-time strategy, in which you lead a group of units into battle, with a possibility to summon reinforcements from air if you gather sufficient battle points. The number of available unit types is relatively small - ten units on each side, and to make things even worse, nine of those have practically the same characteristics and different appearance, and each side has only one truly specific unit. The developers seem to have spent all their creativity on game appearance, and left none of it for unit concept... the units are as common as they get: tanks, artillery, rocket launchers, air strikes... which will result in far less interesting gameplay than it could have been.

Units can be upgraded by filling one of the three slots designed for that purpose. You can choose your unit to have extra ammo, armor, fuel, sight range, repair kit, or mine detector.

AI is another downside to the game. Enemy AI is totally pathetic. Enemy moves are predictable, and quite often extremely stupid, making this game no challenge for any experienced RT strategist. The enemy will always charge straight at the nearest unit in its range of sight. The once wounded units will be unable to defend themselves and won't even try to run away. As for the AI of your units, it is equally poor. They will have severe problems with path finding and deciding the order of actions, hence creating utter mayhem on screen. In short, the AI in this game is inadmissibly bad for today's standards and creates a very bad impression about the whole game.

The physics engine is, on the other hand, exceedingly good, and contributes to the game atmosphere. When units start or stop, small stones start flying around... particle effects have been used perfectly here, and they look especially good in massive battles... Wow to you, o players with older rigs...

All in all, S.W.I.N.E. still leaves a poor overall impression. Not only is the game easy and uninventive, but it also has few units, a poor AI, and happens to be one of the least stable games I played in a long time. I hope the developers would get rid of this problem in a patch. A game like this is nothing more than a fantastic concept and design drowned in poor code and playability.

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5.7   Okay


HIGHS
Great graphics and sound; cartoon-like atmosphere;

LOWS
Poor AI; numerous bugs; uninventive and ridiculously easy.

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