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GamesFirst! Magazine


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by Novalogic

To stand out, shooters require more than just big guns and bad guys. It’s about more then just frags or blowing stuff up.  It’s about pitting your skills against others (real people or computer AI) in the art of warfare.  Land Warrior, the newest in the Delta Force line, has great potential, but to falls a bit short in the end. Delta Force: Land Warrior is a solid shooter.  It’s fun to play and has decent graphics, but it is in no way going to bump the power house shooters from their pedestals.  Delta Force fans everywhere will rejoice however, because it is a HUGE improvement over earlier DF games.

As with many military-style FPS games, there are several modes of game play in DF:LW. There is, for example, the single player mission- based game. In it, you proceed from mission to mission completing set objectives, like rescuing hostages or destroying enemy choppers.  The missions are well-designed, and the environments are very large.  A compass/radar screen guides you to your nav-points and to your final target.  The biggest problem is that the computer AI seems to have a few bugs in the works.  Turning a corner and taking out two or three enemies before they can even get a shot off is not uncommon.  And I am not talking about a few hundred yards between you-- more like a hundred feet or less.  If you know how to snipe, and snipe well, you can walk through almost any mission with ease.  The enemy soldiers come from everywhere, but they don’t hide very well. If you tire of the mission-based scenarios, you can always go to the instant mission mode, which allows you to select any mission and jump in without following the storyline.  But again, the AI doesn’t feel right.  Reaction times are way too slow.  Another noticeable oddity is that in both single player modes all bullets fired are like tracers; a thin white line extends from the rifle as the bullet travels.  This makes it quite easy to identify enemies' locations--all you have to do is follow the white line.  Thankfully, this doesn't occur during multi-player mode.

Multi-player modes in FPS titles are where most players spend their time.  Stories get old, missions get frustrating, but jumping online and killing your friends just never loses its luster. This holds true for Land Warrior as well.  The box touts the promise of the wonders of NovaWorld which is supposed to be a NovaLogic persistent world for players to use.  Unfortunately, it has not been up since I started the game.  But you can join or host your own game and play with up to 50 players, and the multi-play levels are HUGE.  Seriously, this is by far the largest set of maps I have ever seen for a shooter.  They include lots of wide open spaces, along with a few buildings and other cover to hide in.   However, at the time of this review, most servers peak at 30 players and many of the games I played were 10-15 players.  The only problem with huge maps and few players is that it can sometimes take a while to find everyone.   This is definitely not a fast Run-N-Gun Quake-style shooter.

DF:LW's   graphics are good.  The landscapes are amazing, and the character models are very detailed.   But the weapon models are cartoon-like, and   the game also lacks any noticeable proportional damage.  If you shoot an enemy in the foot or arm it kills them just as fast as a chest or head shot.  I expected more “realistic” damage from a “military” shooter.  In the multi-player mode, shots like headshots are noted and increase your score accordingly.  For some reason this was left out of the single player mode.

Game controls are standard.  Mouse/Keyboard users will find the controls easy to configure and get used to. But keep in mind that a mouse is the only supported controller, so game-pad and joystick users may be out of luck.

Those that played and enjoyed earlier Delta Force games will surely enjoy this title.  Other shooter fans may find some problems or quirks that don’t settle very well.  This is a title that you should really check out the demo before you go out and put your $40 down for it.

On a side note:  When I first set up the game and tried to play online I would be disconnected after about one minute of play.  It turns out that there was a problem with my server/router. If you're playing behind a firewall/server/router and you experience the same thing, be sure to open up some ports or call the manufacturer’s tech support.

Ben Moore

Snapshot

Ups: Good graphics, huge maps, solid gameplay

Downs: Bad AI, careless damage model, nothing really new here

System Reqs: Pentium II 400, 64 MB RAM, 3D card

 

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