Redefines the expression 'Cinematic Experience' in a game.
DestructobotMk3 wrote this review on .
The original game allowed for a deliberate method of playing, where it was perfectly viable for players to cloak, infiltrate the enemy encampment, and pick them off stealthily and silently. Stealth is still an option in Warhead, and for most part a viable one, but it is far more likely for players to just run-and-gun their way through this game, a six- to eight- hour series of intense firefights, frontal assaults and in-your-face attacks.
Part of this has to do with the main character this time, the tough-talking, wisecracking Psycho. His mannerisms in the impressively-directed cutscenes lead us to identify with him as a no-nonsense protagonist who prefers the most straightforward approach to any situation.
Warhead is essentially a series of moments, lovingly crafted to raise the nape hairs. Standout encounters include a swiftly paced, nearly out-of-control hovercraft ride through frozen environs; a thrilling defensive mission in which a small squad fends off a horde of attacking aliens; and, most of all, a standout final boss set-piece sequence which brings the (unfortunately short-lived) action to a glorious climax in a hail of gunfire, perfectly befitting the character.
Visual fidelity is through the roof. All the usual suspects of particle effects and shaders from Crysis are present in full force in this follow-up, with some additional eye-candy also on offer. Notably, the names of the detail settings have been revised to 'Mainstream' ,'Gamer', 'Enthusiast' and so on, so that gamers can reconcile the overall build of their systems to one of these presets fairly intuitively. The engine is not necessarily better-running, but traces of optimization are present all around. Regardless, moderate-to-heavy tweaking with config files should enable most gamers to be up-and-running with playable frame-rates.
The sound doesn't grab attention to itself quite obviously as the graphics, but impressive production values are in evidence here as well, with a majestic, sweeping score accentuating key battle moments, solid sound effects and ambient noise, and competent voice acting. The actual lines spoken in the game, however, are in urgent need of refinement, at least for the next game.
Warhead is a worthy, albeit abbrievated follow-up to a standout game. True to the spirit of the original, gamers will need to carefully tweak the engine to their needs to run it in an acceptable form, but this level of initial involvement is rewarded by what are surely the most impressive action sequences witnessed this side of a Half-Life game.