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SummaryA real "Popcorn" game!
The GoodAction gaming at it's best!! Or at least pretty close to it... Nevermind, RTCW is a blast to play, with cool weapons, great production values, and a series of well designed set-piece based levels. Both the single player and the multiplayer mode (which plays like a WW2 Team Fortress) deliver a solid entertainment experience, which holds it's own with the best the FPS genre has to offer.
The graphics are truly incredible, I won't comment on the flamethrower and it's amazing particle effect since everyone knows by now that it's super-cool, so I'll just stick to the enemies who feature the most impressive 3D character modeling I've ever seen. The Quake3 engine delivers an impressive amount of detail, but the developers maximized the engine and delivered the graphical equivalent of what Half-Life did with the Quake2 engine.
In addition the game has hundreds of looks for individual soldiers, and a randomizer feature keeps them fresh by changing little details on each enemy (a patch here, some googles on this one, beard on that one, etc.), not to mention that the animations are really good and make each character moves like the real thing during combat.
The music and sound is also veeeery cool, and I would like to go down on record to thank the developers for returning to that age-old fps tradition of having "undestructible" foes. No more wussies that get shaken by a well placed hit, or "puzzle" bosses which require a specific hit to be done... The new Wolf does it like it once was: gigantic monsters that simply take all your ammunition to bring down, and who shrug off rocket hits. Not to mention that they land 2 hits and you are gone... Yay!!! :) Beating those monsters sure makes you feel good!
The BadThere are only 2 problems with this game. The first one is it's lack of innovation, sure the game is fun and all... but we've done it all before. Aaaaalll of it, and in some aspects, better too (like the sneaking parts). No matter how much fun I had playing the game, in the end it all feels like one big Deja Vu.
The other problem I found with the game is... well, the direction it took. Let's see, as "new" as the game had to be, the premise itself was that it had to be an homage to the good ol' Wolf 3D, this means that a lot of stuff had to be included in the game that was acceptable once, but not so anymore. For starters the game is super-arcadish, the story is a joke (it makes Metal Gear Solid's look like Shakespeare), the WW2 feel is sorely lacking, and details like the "secret doors" are heavily overdone. By the time the mission objectives told me that I was to destroy everything as I saw fit, and that "the fate of the free world rested on my shoulders" I pretty much assumed that the developers realized the direction the game was going and decided to go all-out to try to capture that "So bad it's good" feel. But I think they blew it.
I guess the one thing that hurts the most (besides the story and the ending . Bleurggg!!!) is the wasting of the WW2 premise. The whole thing serves simply as a backdrop for the clothes, weapons, vehicles etc... merely a cosmetic choice that has little or no impact on gameplay and which pales in comparison to games like Medal of Honor... Of course, this all serves the arcadish-feel the game goes for, and some will defend that this is what it was supposed to be... Well, all I can say is that "updating" a game should mean more than just offering the same gameplay under a new shiny 3D engine. That's it.
Oh, and Heinrich (the final boss) is a joke. I just waltzed around him with my mini-gun aimed in his general direction and ended the fight in no time...
The Bottom LineIt sure is entertaining!! And it sure looks good!!! If that is all you want then I guess this is for you. For the rest of us, this is one hell of a fun game, but it's no classic. Just like with the new Planet of The Apes movie, when it comes down to it, 20 years from now people will remember the original Wolf 3D as a classic, not this one.
(still RTCW is a million times better than the new Planet of the Apes! Don't get scared!! ;))