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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

Cauldron HQ

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

November 2007

 

 

- The best looking Soldier of Fortune game yet

 

 

- Enemies either hide or run straight at you in an effort to save bullets

- Hard to figure out where grenades are going to land

- Completely uninteresting

 

 

Review: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (360)

Review: The Orange Box (360)

Review: Halo 3 (360)

 

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Soldier of Fortune: Payback

Score: 4.0 / 10

 

Dude, I don’t know what I ever did to Soldier of Fortune, but why is it smacking me around?  For the most part I enjoyed the previous two Soldier of Fortune games, even if they were straightforward and over-the-top bloody affairs.  This game, though it looks so much better than the previous games, is like a bad joke.

 

soldier of fortune payback            soldier of fortune payback

 

The plot is completely disposable.  It doesn’t matter what you’re doing or what the goal of each level is, the basic gameplay has waves of idiots racing toward you on the off chance that they’ll be able to club you to death rather than expend precious bullets.  That’s not really fair though; there are just as many enemies that will snipe at you – with incredible accuracy – from nearly invisible locations.  When an

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enemy is in the crosshairs, the on-screen icon turns red and I can’t count the number of times I swept areas just waiting to see the crosshairs turn red so I could unload a clip to eliminate the unseen enemy.

 

Like the previous games, at the beginning of each mission you’re allowed a chance to 

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select your armaments.  This is generally neutered by the fact a lot of the enemy ammo won’t work for the guns you select.  It means picking-up and sticking with enemy weaponry almost exclusively, which defeats the purpose of the weapon selection at the start of the mission.

 

Soldier of Fortune is the defining first-shooter for gore.  Horrifically, there are a number of “dismemberment” points on each enemy.  Basically this means individual limbs can be shot off, usually to the accompaniment of a lot of screaming and blood gushing out like a fire hose out of control.  That’s about the only thing it has going for it.

 

soldier of fortune payback          solider of fortune payback

 

The game includes all the conventions of modern first-person shooters, but the control feels somewhat unfinished.  Especially in comparison to the likes of Call of Duty 4 (also from Activision) and Orange Box; turns take a while to get started (even after adjusting the default sensitivity), you never can tell where a grenade will land, which proves very troublesome when you’re the one throwing the grenade, and having the “sprint” activated by pressing down on the left stick doesn’t feel right. (That last one I also faulted Call of Duty 4 for.)

 

Judging by the roster of Achievements, the emphasis of Soldier of Fortune: Payback is on multiplayer competition over Xbox Live, which is too damn bad.  Instead of concentrating on a single-player and at least making it competent, the team had to split resources and make a haphazard multiplayer feature as well.  It functions fine when you can find a game with more than three people.  Though I have no empirical evidence, I’d say the lack of players can be traced to the fact Halo 3, Call of Duty 4, and Team Fortress 2 are so much better.  And more fun.

 

- Omni

(November 29, 2007)

 

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