by Marko Susimetsä
previewed on PC
A more postive experience came from the physics engine. I was surprised to see my dying enemy drop his AK-47 so that it rolled down the stairs and fell down the stairwell. And dead soldiers tumbled down conveniently placed hillsides just as satisfyingly. Several other objects seem to follow the same laws of physics - when the player yanks a phone off the wall and throws it on the floor and then continues to mutilate it with his knife, the piece of equipment reacts as expected, breaking into even smaller parts. Here too is room for improvement however. When I ran over some heavy sandbags, one of them jumped into the air and bounced around on the top of the other sandbags for quite a long while, as if there was someone very small hiding inside it. I would not have seen this, but the strange sounds made me stop and turn back to see what was happening...
One of the most troubling shortcomings in this version of the game is that every weapon, from a pistol to a rifle has pretty much the same effective range. So, you can kill those guards in their guard towers either with your pistol or your rifle, from a distance that ensures that they do not shoot back. The only reason why you cannot do it with the submachine gun is that they have too much a recoil and are more suitable for closer encounters. Hopefully, this will be fixed for the final version.
The game has the above-described single-player story to play through and it has been said that the final version will also give you more Castle of Wolfenstein -kind of experience with more variety in how you can approach your enemies and move around in the environment. Also, there are some innovative missions that the player has to perform and there's not always time to kill all the enemies before reaching a certain goal. But, The Stalin Subway is a shooter above everything else, so it is no place for a secret agent or a covert op. On the other hand, one must congratulate the programmers for one very important decision: if the player shoots innocent civilians, the game ends immediately. It is good to see such morale even in a shoot'em up.
Like in so many other FPS games out there, the enemies in The Stalin Subway seem to spend an inordinately amount of time hiding behind various obstacles, just waiting to jump you when you happen to walk by. For a moment there, I felt like I was playing Doom3 with all its nasty monsters that have nothing better to do than to wait for you behind closed doors and heavy crates.
In the great tradition of the genre, The Stalin Subway also professes a multiplayer mode. Two of them, in fact. The first one is the traditional deathmatch and the second one is something called 'bomb', which is apparently going to be similar to 'defuse' in Counter Strike. Unfortunately, these parts of the game will only be reviewable when the game comes out officially.
Onward to Moscow?
So, should we look for our fatigues and old AK-47's and go to Moscow? Well, I must say that the graphics certainly look good and the weapons have some nice differences that actually makes you pay attention to what you are holding in your hand and the number and distance of the enemies you are facing. Still, the AI still has some small problems that need to be fixed before release. But I'm sure that the game will be worth its price. If not for anything else, then for the unique setting and the actual locations that you will see while playing it.