|System: X360, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Techland||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: TBA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Q4 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 (32 online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Matthew Walker
We all have the hero complex. No matter how deep down that is, we still have it. On the other hand, there is one thing we might have a little more - the need for money. Well, if you could combine the heroism and the money need into a job, there is no job closer than that of a mercenary. All of the explosions, body counts, money, and not to forget, the rescuing of beautiful ladies.
You know the plot of nearly every 80s movie. Apparently, the folks at Techland love the film classics of the 80s so much they have incorporated the life of a mercenary into their latest game, Warhound. You will join the hectic world of mercenaries, vying for the best contracts that pay the most, appeal to your heroic side, and of course, have you saving the damsel in distress. The game will not just stop there. You will also be traveling the world, ala Rambo, to help out governments, assassinate dictators, and work towards preventing the largest terrorist attack ever.
The game is designed for FPS fans. With its fast-paced action and over the top missions, there should not be a reason for any fan of the genre not to dive straight into the hype for this game. At the start of the game, you are presented with a map. Fsrom this point, you can select from a few contracts. This is designed for you to build your reputation as the baddest of the bad. After a while, more contracts will become available for you to choose from. The interesting thing about the contracts is that they all require different things for you to complete the job. Before each mission, you will be able to equip yourself with the right equipment in order to get the job done appropriately. For instance, one of your contracts might call for you to blow up a third world warlord's compound, so you had better make sure you have the goods to do the job. Designed to feed the need of being a hero, despite the hard-boiled edgy mercenary that you will be, you will always side with the angels. That does not mean we will not be able to satiate our need for chaotic violence though.
Unfortunately, you will not be able to be the jack of all trade mercenary we have come to know in the movies. You will have to choose which type of merc you are. There are three specialization classes for you to choose from - Weapons, Mechanic, and Alpine. Weapons specialists will be able to use every weapon, including those they find out on the missions, but in order to make sure that you can, you will have to purchase certain licenses and pay for you training on the weapon. The Mechanic can drive anything from a jeep to a tank in the field. The Alpine specialist is designed to allow for better maneuverability on the battlefield, easily overcoming obstacles and rough terrain.
At the end of each mission, you will have to opportunity to scavenge through useable equipment to take what you want back to the safe house. Here you will also be able to purchase more ammo and weapons for your future contracts. The shop will not just be for buying new weapons and armor though. You will also be able to pick up more information on certain contracts, which looks like it will be pretty handy for future missions. In addition to the information, since you will need a vehicle to exit out of a mission, you can purchase transportation extraction. The cheapest form of extraction is the cabdriver, cheap-yes, but more of nuisance because of the need to find him first off, and second because his cab may not function correctly. On the opposite end of the extraction option is the very expensive helicopter airlift. From being highly dependable to being able to pick you up nearly anywhere on the field, if you have the money, this will be the way to go on every mission.
One of the more interesting aspects of Warhound is that you will be competing for the contracts. Once you have started building your reputation in the world of mercenaries, you will see on the map that others are vying for the same contracts you are. This adds a level of competition to the game that should make even the more timid players serious competitors. Unfortunately, the online play will not incorporate the competition. However, there will be up to 32 players that can compete in single mission battles. This could be a draw back considering the appeal of the contract competition, but maybe this will be something that Techland can work on for assured future sequels.
Warhound will be using the fourth Chrome engine to deliver their mega detailed jungle environments. Even though the jungles and other outdoor environments look great, it would have been interesting to have a couple urban settings. The level design is nothing to be ashamed of. The trailers and screenshots depict all of the hard work that Techland has poured into the details of the game. With the ever-growing popularity of FPSs, it is no surprise that this newer addition is exploiting every visual opportunity they can. The only thing that is questionable at this moment is what the system requirements will be for the PC. We could anticipate that they will probably be pretty high considering the amount of detail and overall mechanics of the game, but we will have to wait and see.
Warhound is shaping up to be one of the holiday season must haves. With the growing demands of realistic gameplay, we could be in for one wild ride. The missions and enemies may become a bit predictable but that was one of the joys to every action movie of the 80s. Maybe, if we are lucky, we can convince Techland to pack the game with a red bandanna to wear while we are playing the game. That way we all can be a Rambo if only in the game. Keep checking back with us as the release date gets closer for more information.
CCC Freelance Writer