Monday, March 06, 2006

The Outfit Demo

THQ just released a demo of The Outfit to be released this March.

UPDATE: It seems like this preview is too on the negative side so I'd like to clarify. The game is good, expect many scores in the 8 range. It's simply that I personally was expecting more. It's good fun but not something I would pay 60 dolalrs for, that is, I will wait for a price drop on this.

UPDATE2: I've been playing some rounds online and the game is indeed very fun. The lag kills it, and I think that's the main and only real problem with the demo as of right now. The gameplay is good enough to set aside things like sound, graphics, etc. I'm thinking that if THQ is able to smooth the online play by release it should get pretty good scores, mostly in the 8 range.

My overall impression of the game in one word? "Alright"

Before anything else is said, the framerate seems to be 30fps, which is fine. What I didn't quite enjoy was the persistent lag throughout all the matches I played. This is only a demo but it's definetely not looking good since it was in all the matches--even for a demo, it's just too much.

The point of the demo is to capture enemy--and neutral-- bases until they have none left, that simple.

The gameplay in this game is simply solid, nothing beyond that. You have three to six AI buddies you can supposedly give some simple orders. I say supposedly because I never got them to do anything other than just follow me, which is done automatically. You can play a one on one match (you get six AI to control) or a three team match, where you get only three (or 4, I can't remember) AI buddies to help you. The AI is just ok. They follow you, they shoot at what you shoot and it's simply nothing impressive but not dumb. You get to choose a soldier to play as at every respawn. Each of the three soldiers differ in the weapons they carry and look only.

The weapons you get to use are what you'd expect. An American/German machine gun, pistol, rocket launcher, sniper rifle, etc. You can also make use of grenades with the left trigger, By FAR, the best weapon to use is the flamethrower, it is very effective and fun to use, but ultimately playing as a German or American won't make a difference until you get to the vehicles.

Unlike the weapons, vehicles from both sides differ in both, look and feel. There's a bunch of vehicles you can buy, but you can only buy one at the start of the round. As you kill more people (or capture bases, or simply find gold vaults) you get more points which you can then use to buy better vehicles. Whatever you decide to buy, your order is deployed in less than ten seconds by an airplane. The vehicles themselves are not as satisfying to use as I'd like to. The physics are cheap, very cheap (Update: In matches with no lag, they are actually quite decent) . They are rigid and not quite as maneuverable as I'd like to (Update: After playing some lagfree matches, it is much better). Shooting and driving is a real chore (again, I think it was the lag). They are not unplayable though, it's simply that it could have been done much better.

The graphics in this game are poor, very poor. The demo level is very small, although understandably as the game only handles six miserable players online!!! .....Uh....anyways, in that case, it's the right size actually. Things look average overall for an Xbox 360 game. Poor character models as well as terrain detail, foliage, water (good old mercury look) , and all kinds of visual effects, all look very average, very uninspired. In visual effects fire takes the lead and in objects, vehicles do. In other words, the game looks best when the German vehicle "X" with a flamethrower on top is making the rounds spitting fire infront of you.

Past trailers for this game have showcased the destruction of the level. Well... you guessed it, it's average at best. Yeah, you can run over a tree but at the time of impact it simply dissapears and three pipe-like things simulating to be pieces of tree trunk take the place of the long gone tree hitting the ground. Simply put, it looks cheap. (Update: this effect looked very pathetic, but lag is the one to blame) And that's how most of the damage is handled in this game. Most everthing can be destroyed, but is not rewarding at all. Did I mention it takes a LONG time shooting a building with a rocket launcher before it starts showing any signs of damage? Well, that's the situation.

Finally, the audio. Have you played the "Conflict" series? That's what this game sounds like, nothing special.

It was a fun game though. I have to say I played around ten rounds and I could play a few more. That is, this game is not bad bad, it's just nothing really special either. I'm expecting reviews in the 7's and 8's.

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