My Worst Day World War 2
Peter Slappesen was working on a fishing boat out at sea in 1940 when the Nazis invaded Norway. He decided to head to England where he joined the fight against the Axis powers. For a few years he worked for the millitary in London before being posted to Scotland in 1943, where he was trained in the finer arts of sabotage. Our story begins in 1944 on the island of Krykkja (do not ask me how that is pronounced). Peter is a one-man demolition team sent in to destroy two German heavy cannon fortifications.
I really want to like My Worst Day World War 2 (henceforth MWDWW2). In concept, I love it. Using stealth and reconnaissance techniques Peter must make his way around the island engaging the enemy where required and keeping a low profile when the stakes are too high. Using the scope on one of his sniper rifles, he needs to get into optimal position to engage German fortifications and targets, then using the element of suprise, mop up remaining resistance using an array of machine-guns, SMG's and PIAT rocket launchers.
In practice, the games flaws detract from an optimal experience. Let me make this clear - any FPS game that does include an option to reverse the mouse Y-axis for looking and aiming is incredibly frustrating for many gamers. If it not were for the fact that I had to review the game, it would have been uninstalled promtly for that reason alone, but even now, after playing for hours, in the heat of a gunfight I'll still pull back on my mouse to aim upwards. Grrr...
The island of Krykkja is huge, and the game treats it as one contigeous level. Great for ingame immersion, not so great for loading times and framerate. We're talking loading times of up to a few minutes depending on your PC. On my PC, my Nvidia 7800GS chews up Half Life 2 and spits out a blistering framerate. MWDWW2 stutters along at 5-6 frames per second when Peter is indoors, and not much better out in the open country where I can only seem to manage about 15-20 FPS. The game is playable at these framerates, but not highly enjoyable. Bad planning, bad coding - or both.
The game world looks nice but feels a little sparse. Most buildings can not be entered, and the ones that can are frugally furnished. Trees are interwoven 2-D bitmaps, but from a distance the forests look reasonably good. In fact, at distance most of the textures and models look passable. I liked the foggy atmosphere and rugged terrain. Even the archetectural styles have a true Scandinavian feel.
There is no music in-game, but a tune accompanies the introductory sequences which serve to set the scene well. Directional ambience and sounds are apparent, and can be used to detect an unseen enemy when Peter is under fire.
The enemy AI is adequate without being impressive. Enemies will not actively hunt out Peter even when shot at. They will meander around on patrol if left to their own free will, and will shoot back from a standing position. They will not duck or attempt to find cover during a battle. A lot of the time, however, Peter will be engaging the enemy from quite a distance, usually with a sniper rifle, so AI behaviour is not that much of a negative point. If Peter comes under fire, his best course of action is to get prone or run back to a safe position and then snipe from afar. In 'Difficult' mode, sniping is made more challenging at distance due to wind and gravity; a cool feature. Success in MWDWW2 comes through good recon and seeing the enemy before they notice you. Tanks can be heard from quite a distance and are not much of a problem if Peter stays well hidden (or is a good shot with the PIAT launcher), and the spotter aircraft are easy to evade detection from. Apparently, there is some kind of island wide alarm system in place which is activated under certain conditions, although I've never experienced this during my testing. Perhaps that might significantly alter the default enemy AI. Weapons fire feels and sounds great and is at least as realistic as many commercial titles out there.
An indie FPS is truly a breath of fresh air, and the way MWDWW2 plays as a strategic shooter rather than a flat-out twitchfest is welcomed. It can be played in a Standard mode, where the player has just one life and needs to find health packs (brandy bottles) around the environment, or also in Arcade mode where brandy bottles grant an extra life in addition to the three lives the player starts with.
Creeping around the perimeter of German installations, scoping out targets, planning a route of attack and then exectuting the plan. MWDWW2 has it's moments. If it weren't for the mouselook, framerate and unimpressive AI issues, MWDWW2 would have scored even higher than the silver star I hereby award it.
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