If you take a quick look at Steam’s relatively new free to play section, you’ll be greeted with a bunch of titles that, depending on your taste, will pique your interest. Anywhere from Asian-developed fantasy MMOs to futuristic shooters set in deep space. But one title stood out just a little bit further than the others. That game? War Inc. Battlezone.
A modern warfare-themed shooter at its core, War Inc. focuses on short, flashy battles between two teams of mercenaries on various maps set around the world. Sound familiar? Of course it does. Name any game out there that puts you behind the trigger of an M16 or AK-47, and you’ll basically have played War Inc. Tacked on is the usual free-to-play fare, where the player that pays the most, sprays the most. An in-game store that sells you permanent weapons and armors for 40 or 50 bucks a pop isn’t a new thing, but it’s still annoying to see. This isn’t Call of Duty. This isn’t Battlefield. This isn’t even Resistance or Killzone. This is shit.
War Inc., or (as my associates and I more fittingly dubbed it) “War Stink,” is an extremely mediocre third-person shooter that is so unpolished, so unbalanced, and so broken that no amount of patching will save it from the Indie developer hell it has gone through. Now, before my residence is firebombed and my family scalped by angry fans — yes, I do understand it’s an open beta.
But come on. Open your eyes. APB reloaded, another 3rd person shooter that has recently been resurrected and morphed into a free-to-play MMO has a better open beta… and that game already died once.
So what it is that actually does stink about “War Stink”?
Animations. Terrible. Your avatar moves faster than your legs, and if you look down to the floor, you can see your little extremities do their hardest to keep up with the rest of your body. When you fire weapons, the gun doesn’t move at all. There is no hammer clicking back with every shot. The slides don’t do what their name suggests they do — slide. Instead, whenever you fire your weapon you’re greeted with a small, extremely simplistic muzzle flash, and that’s it.
Oh, by the way, the sounds… Oh god the sounds! Pistols, rifles, machine guns, shotguns, rocket launchers. They all sound exactly the same. A light bang here. A pop there. I was convinced that the studio they used to record what can only be described as audio genocide was simply the lead developer’s kitchen. The performer had to have been his infant child, banging away on pots and pans with a wooden spoon. It’s awful. Not to mention the fact that half of the game is completely silent. There isn’t any music — apart from the main menu — and the in-game ambiance is nothing but the constant sound of wind blowing (which they must have recorded by going out into the parking lot of their studio and holding a tape recorder in the air).
And it doesn’t end there. You and your teammate’s avatars rarely make a sound but for a few rare instances of grunts whenever you get shot. Other games at least have the decency to let you know when a member of your team throws a grenade, or has to reload. There is none of that here. The soldiers on each side’s respective army are all mute bullet sponges whose sole purpose in life (it seems) is to grab a machine gun and hold down left mouse button.
Did I mention the imbalance? Every game, especially in the beta phase, has these kinds of issues, but being one-shot from a non-silenced sniper rifle that doesn’t make a single sound from across the map really kills the mood.
There are only a couple of things in “War Stink” that keep it from getting a 0 out of 10. The graphics weren’t actually that bad. Some of the levels actually are pretty attractive, especially when compared to some other titles of the same genre. Armors and weapons all look pretty solid, and the environments are realistic enough. They certainly are suitable for a free-to-play shooter, that’s for sure. But in the end, it doesn’t come down to how good the game looks. You could be running around the Louvre museum wearing Italian suits while supermodels throw jewels at you for all I care. The gameplay and presentation are atrocious, and they are holding the game back.
There is also a SHIT ton of weapons. I’m always a fan of games that implement an arsenal of real-world. Without a doubt, it’s one of main reasons I like the original Fallout games. War Inc. has just about every assault rifle you can name off the top of your head, with promises by OWG to add more. However, you realize that none of this matters from the moment you hop in game. You instantly come to the shocking realization that the flashy, exotic Belgian firearm you just bought after hours of farming sounds exactly like every Tom, Dick and Jerkoff’s MP-5. Inexcusable.
Well, that was the good bit. Now where was I? Oh yeah.
Map design is terrible. No, wait. I take that back. The map design is actually really good. Why is it really good? Because all the maps are simple copies from Counter-Strike and Call of Duty. Remember the days of playing CS: Source and logging into a server and playing some FY Iceworld? Yeah, Battlezone stole Iceworld. The exact fucking map. I shit you not. There’s also a stone quarry map that looks like the stone quarry map from Modern Warfare 2. Same layout, worse graphics.
In short, this game is fucking godawful. It really is. Try it if you want, it kept me entertained for a few hours as I and my friends roamed around killing people and laughing at just how bad it was. But be forewarned: that entertainment will not last. You will soon realize that those 4 precious hours you just spent running around boosted maps head-shotting idiots who only didn’t kill you because they were stunned at how bad it was, will never come back to you. You will then realize that people actually purchase weapon packs and armors off the in game store for 40 US dollars, and at the same time, thousands of children are dying in Ethiopia. War Inc. Battlezone is a scam. Don’t buy into it.
Game Play: 3/10
Replay Value: 4/10
- Steam Store page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/107900/
- Metascore: http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/war-inc-battlezone
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