World War Zero PC CD-ROM
Published by Reef Entertainment
Developed by Rebellion
Release Date: Out Now
World War Zero, an introduction.
What if the first World War had never ended? Imagine if the war had continued for another 46 years? Could you imagine the devastation? Well World War Zero gives us this 'what if' scenario, as in the game the year is 1964 and the war hasn't ended. Here though the enemy is not a German Kaiser but a man called Baron Nikolai Aleksandrovitch Ugenberg who is the leader of the Russo-Mongolians. Of course this whole scenario may feel familiar to you; it certainly was for us and within seconds of loading the game up we had a strong feeling of déjà vu.
What's the game about?
Our feeling of déjà vu was more than justified because we have played this game before, albeit under a different name and over 3 years ago. World War Zero is essentially a reworked IronStorm, a FPS game that we reviewed in 2002. Basically it's IronStorm with a few additions and subtractions. The additions come in the form of support for anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering. The subtractions are the multiplayer modes which have been completely cut out and the majority of cutscenes. The levels have been also been reworked (and simplified in places) and the character models have also been improved. Otherwise though, this is the same game as IronStorm.
What's good about the game?
It's a no frills FPS that's easy to get into with straightforward missions. The game has had the third person view stripped out (which was the default view in IronStorm) and the usual 'WASD' FPS controls have been adopted. The graphical improvements may be minimal in places but the addition of anisotropic filtering and anti-aliasing help to smarten the appearance of the game. The character models look better and it's really noticeable when you look at the faces of the NPCs which looked very dated in the original IronStorm.
What's not so good about the game?
The big complaint has to be that it's virtually the same game under a different name. To that end you could also complain that World War Zero costs £19.99 whilst you can buy IronStorm for £4.99 on the Sold Out range. Cutting the multiplayer was a mistake too and makes the asking price of the game even more difficult to justify. With just a linear campaign to play through the replay value is non-existent, although you do have 3 difficulty levels so if you play through on normal or easy you can at least attempt a more challenging difficulty level later on. Some of the cutscenes that have been taken out actually flesh the story out quite a bit and it's a shame that they've been removed.
How does it look?
In regards to the graphics World War Zero is slightly better than IronStorm. As we've already mentioned the game now supports anisotropic filtering and anti-aliasing. Bloom can now be enabled too. Support for the native resolution of 17" and 19" TFT screens (1280x1024) has been removed (it was supported in IronStorm) but support for widescreen displays has now been added. The mission levels have been adjusted slightly and simplified from those in IronStorm. Character models have been ever so slightly improved but the graphics on the whole are still far too angular and still look dated. The one benefit of all this though is that the game should run very smoothly on all PCs with a decent CPU and graphics card.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
Like IronStorm the game is subtitled by default. All cutscenes, including the introduction, are subtitled. Communications you receive during a mission are subtitled too and these subtitles are quite large and displayed at the top of the screen which makes them really easy to see. Objectives are given in text and can be recalled by pressing the Tab key. The game doesn't have any captions and given that there are times when enemies can be heard before they can be seen, this can be troublesome.
No matter which way you look at World War Zero it's a game that represents poor value for money. Looking at the single player game in isolation you have a reworked IronStorm with some graphical improvements and some cutscenes taken out. The problem here is that World War Zero is £15 more expensive than IronStorm and it doesn't even have the multiplayer modes that were present in IronStorm. What's here is OK and the minor facelift is welcome but not when the price is so much more expensive.
Overall Game Rating: 5.0/10
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This single player only rework of IronStorm is far too expensive and simply isn't worth the asking price when you consider that you can purchase IronStorm for a whole £15 less.