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SummaryExcellent war game that help paved the way.
The GoodThe first time I saw Frontline on a shelf at Blockbuster I was a little curious, after seeing so many articles about the PC versions and the original PSone games, I was intrigued that a newer console version was released. I knew that it wouldn't be as good as the PC version, but still I was pleasantly surprised.
To start of the graphics are phenomenal for that time, even though they are a bit dated now. The tracers from gunfire, the dirt and mud from mortar rounds impacting, grenade blasts, rock chipping around you, it really does convey that you are in a war zone. Also the texturing and the lighting are pretty damn impressive too, even to this day I'm still impressed how well this game looked back then.
The controls take a little bit to get used to, but luckily they are easy to learn and once you get them down pat, it's not a problem. The music is great as well, each level's music fits and certain situations can get your blood pumping.
The choice of weapons really help the game along, from pistols, grenades, machine guns and rifles (my personal favorite is the Springfield 03) and the plentiful ammo and health refills in some of the easier modes can make the game bearable, especially when you are ambushed which happens from time to time.
The variety of levels are a plus too, from storming the beaches of Normandy to a U-Boat even, there's no lack of variety. Two of my favorites is the mission in the Netherlands and the Nijmegen Bridge where the sniper rifle is present. It's really fun to use it and pick off Germans especially the ones running, it's always fun to watch them flip backwards or shooting them off of the Nijmegen Bridge.
In short, this game really does have a lot to offer.
The BadWell, a few things did bother me, one was the physics of the NPCs, it's a shame they couldn't incorporate some kind of rag doll effects instead of the preset animations. It's not really a drawback, just a personal preference, however it can be fun too at times, especially if you use the sniper rifle to shoot out an enemies knee having them fall face down and shoot through the top of their head (what can I say, I love to do sadistic things at times). I do wish though that vehicles could have been implemented, you can use fixed machine guns from time to time, but it would have been nice to use a tank, a half-track, shoot from a plane or something. To me that was a major disappointment.
Now the lack of blood doesn't bother me, in fact I think that is what gave the game a kind of charm, the thing that bothered me was the storming of the beaches. Now bear in mind, I know that the technology was a bit limited back then, but I was expecting something along the caliber of Saving Private Ryan with dead bodies strewn across the beach especially after the boat capsizes and you can see men get shot through the water, similar to the movie. Sadly though, you only get a few dead bodies, now true there is a lot of chaos with mortar rounds and machine gun nests bearing down on you which helps it along and distracts you from the lack of bodies.
Also along the lines, the game doesn't have that feel of realism that the modern war games have, instead this one has a pure sense of going commando. Now true some missions you have some help and run with a squad at times, but infiltrating a U-boat in a crate, taking out basically an entire division at a dock, sabotaging a armored train or even breaking into a top secret Nazi facility. This game is a bit more fiction, but still it has it's charm, it just doesn't have that sense of realism storyline-wise that the modern day games have.
The Bottom LineIn the end, Frontlines is still pretty damn impressive to this day, now true compared to the newer games (next-gen not withstanding), especially the Call of Duty games it really doesn't match up that well. Still, Frontlines came along at the perfect time and helped pave the way for the future Medal of Honor and Call of Duty titles on the consoles.
So if you have never experienced this game at least give it a shot, odds are you can find it cheap at any local video store especially now with the declining of the PS2 on the horizon, it'll be pretty cheap, but you will still get your money's worth.