by Marko Susimetsä
previewed on PC
KGB officer Gleb Suvorov is in a deep jam. Stalin - the General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party - rules over Moscow and USSR despite his advancing years, and faces enemies who'd like to get rid off him. The insurgents have developed a secret weapon that is planned to go off during the Bolsheviks Party assembly, killing Stalin and ending his regime. Gleb Suvorov is yanked into the events against his will when he learns that lots of innocent people will die unless he can stop the murderous plan. In addition, he'll have to save his father from a dire fate and survive the wrath of his comrades in the Russian military.
Sights of Moscow
The Stalin Subway presents a setting rarely visited in PC games: Moscow under the regiment of Stalin and the player in the shoes of a KGB agent. On top of that, the agent has to save Stalin from a terrible weapon, even though he'd like to see Stalin dead as much as anyone else.
The game presents many famous sights from Moscow, including the Kremlin and Moscow State University. These locales are realised in a high level of detail and look good, although, despite the highest graphics settings (and a long list of special technologies used by the V8 engine), they do not look astounding or very different from the graphics seen in other games using photorealistic graphics - the only real difference is that some of these locales actually existed and/or still exist. Also, the weapons available to you and your enemies are modelled after period pieces. It is said that the artists spent many a day in museums to get them exactly right. A job well done in that respect.
Sounds of Moscow
Most of the sounds in the game are well done but if the game wants to stand out from the crowd, there is still some work to be done before it is released. Sounds in the construction yard scene, for example, are annoyingly repetitive and illogical - who's ever heard a bird sing on a construction yard with several loud machines making annoying racket, and soldiers shooting at each other all around? Of course, the weapons fire etc. is very good, but it would be surprising if they weren't in a game like this.
The programmers have paid a lot of attention to the emotional reactions and logic of the NPCs, which promises that this game will offer something more than many other shoot'em ups. Civilians cover in fear when you approach them holding heavy artillery and enemy soldiers hide behind obstacles if and when they have to reload their weapons. This betrays an eye for detail not often seen in this genre. There is room for improvement however. Civilians seem to cover in exactly the same way, shaking in fear and crouching on the floor/ground. And although the soldiers act pretty logically when they shoot at you if you approach them holding a weapon in your hand, they show no signs of fear or pain when you cut them up in pieces with your knife or shoot at them from point blank range. The same deadpan expression follows them even to their deaths.
Something odd that I noticed in the AI, was the fact that when you used your sniper rifle to kill your enemies from a long distance, the poor fellas could do nothing but stand there and wait for the next bullet (unless the first one was a headshot). Similarly, the soldiers near to the victim waited for their own turn. It seems that, in the present version, the AI only kicked in when you get close to the enemy. The civilian AI was even less attentive. With fighting going on all around a deep moat, workers continued shoveling away until I ran close enough to for them to notice all the bullets whistling by and the dead soldiers who had tumbled into the hole. There's still some time left before the game is released and these things may be changed before the final version hits the stores.