When I first played this demo, last year, I wasn't overly impressed. The graphics were generic and overly saturated, as most 2K developed games are. Overall, part of this game intrigued me, but not enough to consider purchase, especially at $65. A few months ago, I saw that this game won an award at E3 for best story. I became more intrigued because it told me that this game was more than JUST another shooter. Then, I recently stumbled upon a review of this game. Not to mention, I saw the game for $20 or less on this very website. Therefore, something told me to go ahead and give the game a shot. I am glad I did.
CAMPAIGN/STORY: This is the bread and butter of the game. I've never played a military shooter with a story that is QUITE as immersive, heartfelt, graphic, and as compelling as this game. You'll play as Cpt. Walker, who is a part of the Delta force. Walker is teamed with Lt. Adams and Sgt. Lugo. Six months after a massive sandstorm in Dubai had passed, the team is sent on a recon mission to find survivors. Upon arrival, some grim discoveries are made. For one, fresh corpses of the 33rd Infantry Division -- who were initially sent to evacuate the city -- are found. Interestingly enough, players will be more surprised to see who's responsible for their deaths. Then, the story just takes hold of you and doesn't let go. What is most interesting about the campaign is players will be faced with decisions that could have a bearing on the outcome of the game. That makes for an automatic replay of the campaign. The bottom line is players will see exactly why this game won an award for best story because it IS.
GAMEPLAY: The gameplay is not the BEST, but it is very good and unique. For example, much detail is used in the interactions during gameplay. Sometimes, the environment can be used to take out enemies. Sand-filled walls can be shot out to create a sandy avalanche on the enemy. Structures that enemies are standing on can be shot, which leaves enemies to fall to their deaths. My favorite is the interaction of a grenade throw. If a grenade is thrown and the enemy is not killed, the dust from the blast can blind enemies, which can lead to some easy kills. This is the type of interaction and details that I have yet to see on other military shooters.
Movements can sometime be smooth. Others times, they can be a pain, especially when grabbing cover. I could press a button to grab cover and the action might be unresponsive or my character will start sprinting. It's not that much of a problem, but I've played games that had smoother movements. Shooting weapons is smooth with no issues. Enemies go down with a couple of shots, as they should. Scoring a headshot is cool because upon hitting an enemy in the head, the game goes into a brief slo-mo.
The melee in this game is very brutal, gore, yet exciting at the same time. Melee an enemy with a weapon will only knock him down, not kill him. Therefore, walking up on the injured enemy will bring up an option to perform an execution. I would say the actions rival the one's on Army of TWO The Devil's Cartel. Enemies are very smart and aggressive in this game. Players will endure various kinds of enemies, who do not just attack and grab cover the same. Some may aggressively move, shoot, and grab cover. This same enemy might just decide to pull out a grenade, if he cannot take you out with initial actions.
GRAPHICS/VISUALS: The game's Unreal engine runs on a 720p output. Unfortunately, players should not expect the game to look as good as games, such as Max Payne 3 or games in the Uncharted series. The colors are vivid and sharp, but the close-ups of the character models during cut-scenes look oversaturated, as if they were in a painting. However, the graphics and visuals are pretty good have their own identity because of the details in each levels. In fact, in some levels, the graphics seem like they could have a 1080p output. It is cool to see many of the textures and vividness of the sand, destroyed apartment and office buildings, museums, as well as other structures that were untouched by the sandstorm. There's even good detail, when heavy sandstorms arrive in the game.
MULTIPLAYER: The multiplayer is similar to that of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. However, the environments can be used to take out enemies. Nuff said.
SOUND: The sound is in Dolby Digital Surround. The weapons sound very realistic, as well as explosions. The voice acting of the characters in the game is VERY good. Hearing enemies' talk amongst themselves is very crisp and clear.
TEAM A.I.: Your teammates are a great help, instead of a hindrance in this game. In fact, in some firefights, they might be the best option to use. Orders can be given to your team ala Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. One of the coolest orders to give the team is to throw flashbang grenades at the enemy. The light just blinds the target(s) and makes for some very easy kills. Sometimes, players can order the team to take out an enemy and they may do random actions, depending on the circumstances. For example, if a player orders a long range target to be taken out, a teammate will pull out his sniper rifle and do so. If the enemy is at mid-range or close quarters target, the teammate will could throw a grenade or try to get as close as he can to engage the target with a weapon.
VERDICT: This game is worth a purchase, ESPECIALLY now due to the $20 or less price tag. Gamers, who want more than just another meaningless shoot'em up game, will feel like they struck gold. This game actually has a movie-like story to go along with shooting enemies.