by Robert Matelsky
previewed on PC
Action in Middle East
The developer, Cauldron, is introducing its newest installment in the Soldier of Fortune series. While the series is probably not one of the most well known franchises in the gaming industry but that doesnít mean that it cannot be fun.
In this ridiculously gory game you play as Thomas Mason. The story starts out when a routine escort mission takes the turn for the worst. You are escorting a Chinese government official whom you obtain information from in the Middle East. Once you escort him to safety your partner turns on you and kills the group of soldiers who were helping you with the escort. The story unravels itself from there. The story is more intriguing than the ones in the previous Soldier of Fortune games but itís not comparable to some of the more fantastic stories familiar from some other first person shooters.
Extreme gore and mutilation
Soldier of Fortune: Payback is a first person shooter with an extensive selection of weapons to use throughout the game. These weapons vary from your typical submachine guns, assault rifles and sniper rifles to explosives and weapon attachments. At the start of each mission you can choose an expansive list of primary and secondary weapons. There are 40 real world weapons in the game and most of them can be customized with scopes, ammo type, and more. The customization system is similar in what you saw in Rainbow Six: Vegas.
However, even if your armory sounds pretty well stocked, you are going to really need it all in the game, since youíre going to have to burn through a lot of ammo even to kill a single enemy. Even when an enemyís arm is blown off he will still be shooting at you with his last seconds of life. However, headshots will of course kill an enemy or even decapitate him.
The gore in this game is extreme and definitely not for the faint of heart or squeamish. In interviews with the development team, they said that the violence is actually toned down from what they saw in real-life examples while researching for the game. Every body part you can think of can be shot off. This makes for some pretty awesome gameplay.
Familiar turf on controls
The controls are exactly what you can expect from any first person shooter, itís easy to use and there is not much of a learning curve. From just looking at the game it looks typical and no uniqueness to it. That all changes when you actually start playing the game and shooting enemies. The extreme gore makes the game play like no other and you can see the differences from your common first person shooter.
The genre of FPS games is pretty well-trodden and the games usually have no drastic problems in them. However, there is one potential issue in Soldier of Fortune: Payback. The game uses a rebounding health meter like in Halo and Call of Duty. The problem here is that it warns you of your depleted health only moments before you get killed. The game is a little bit on the difficult side because of this, and also due to the fact that you may have to go through a whole ammo clip to kill a single enemy. Fortunately, there are a few weeks before this game comes out and the issues can be fixed.
Drowned under the competition?
With big name games coming out like Call of Duty 4, Mass Effect, and Assassinís Creed, Soldier of Fortune: Payback may have a hard time finding its target group. However, the game looks pretty cool so far with its over-the-top gameplay and good graphics. If just the idea of mindless blood and gore sound interesting enough to you then this is definitely the game for you. Maybe itís unrealistic that a single shot from an AK-47 blows off an arm quite so often but, what the heck, itís pretty cool in a game!