The Outfit Review
|Release Date:||17th March, 2006 (UK)|
|Reviewer:||Brian Rae (Bri)|
|Buy now at Amazon.co.uk|
Imagine an episode of the A-Team where, for some reason or another, they get transported back in time to France during WW2. That's about as close as you can get to visualising The Outfit, Relic's new shooter-cum-strategy for the Xbox 360.
Graphically, the game is impressive. Although the level of detail in the environment isn't brilliant, there can be a lot of action happening at once and slowdown isn't much of an issue. Whenever a vehicle or building is destroyed, and that'll happen a lot, it's satisfying to see chunks of debris being scattered from a rather powerful explosion. The destructibility of the terrain means finding cover, especially in the multiplayer game, is hard work as nine times out of ten it gets demolished leaving you crucially exposed.
During the campaign mode, you get to take control of 3 heroes throughout 12 single player campaign missions, plus an extra 3 Nazi generals for the multiplayer side of the game, each one with their own areas of expertise. Captain Deuce Williams (voiced by Robert Patrick of T2 fame) leader of The Outfit and Anti-Tank specialist. Sergeant Tommy Mac armed with submachine guns and flame throwers and last but by no means least Lieutenant J.D. Tyler, whose shotgun and rifle combination can punch a hole through a man's body from any distance. Each hero also has their own unique special move, which can be used make your troops perform special actions like taking the enemy on hand-to-hand or launching a tear gas attack.
At the heart of the game is a feature called 'Destruction on Demand'. This is what brings the RTS element into the game. For every enemy that you kill you are awarded Field Units, these can then be spent on calling for reinforcements, deploying machine gun nests, dropping tanks and other assorted vehicles even calling in artillery and air strikes which in turn will allow you blow up even more Nazis to get even more points. A simple system, but one that does the job it set out to do effectively. A quick press of the Y-Button brings up the menu where you can purchase your weapons of choice.
Unfortunately the single player campaign isn't the games strongest point. The levels are very linear and all seem to revolve around capturing an armoury, a motor pool and a radio tower (which unlock the extra 'Destruction on Demand' options) along a set path. Within each mission there are sub-objectives, which award you with medals and gamer points for completing. From destroying search lights to protecting Allied troops there's a fair few of these bonus missions, some of which can be tricky to find, so if you want to unlock all the points you'll have to work for it, which can either be a curse or a blessing depending on your point of view. The levels seem to lack a real sense of freedom with the Destruction system too. For the most part you'll be dropping down an anti-tank gun just to take out the tanks down the road, or using an air strike to remove a road block.
Luckily, multi-player is where this game really shines. There are 3 modes of play to sink your teeth into. Co-operative, Death match and Strategic Victory. These can be played split-screen, over system link or online with Xbox Live. The multiplayer game is where the RTS side of things really comes into play. Using them effectively will give you the upper-hand against your opponent and because your playing other people, their defences and tactics can alter dramatically meaning you'll have to pull out all the stops to win.
There are a few niggles that dampen the experience. Despite the fact that most of the terrain can be blown to smithereens, the weapons have been tailored to combat specific threats. If you fire the bazooka at a tank, it'll blow up sending debris flying in all directions. Aim that bazooka at a solider and fail to hit him square on and you can expect to see him get back on his feet a fair few times due to an obscene lack of splash damage. The controls and aiming, especially in the vehicles seem sluggish and a little cumbersome.
The Outfit, whilst being a fun and enjoyable game to play, is let down by issues that could have been avoided. The idea of bringing the real-time strategy idea into a shoot'em-up could also have been executed better as it feels a bit tactically challenged at some points. Overall, if you're looking for a good multiplayer game to play online, or with some friends, then this could be what you're looking for. If your looking for a game to play by yourself, you might be let down by the blandness and linearity of the campaign mode.
- Great fun to play online or against other people
- Lots of awards to unlock
- "Destruction on Demand" is an interesting idea
Not so good stuff
- Tedious campaign mode
- Awkward controls/aiming