When this game works, it’s brilliant; when it missteps, it’s very disappointing.
BlightedEye wrote this review on .
During the first couple of hours, as I played the single-player campaign, it seemed that this game had everything right. The graphics were amazing (I was particularly impressed by the draw distance and the real-time shadows on everything), the audio was excellent in every way, and the gameplay was simple, deep, and worked perfectly.
As I progressed, however, I realised that this perfection amounted to only half the single-player campaign. I’m not sure why, but in some areas objects would take a couple of seconds to pop into view. The mission Guardrail IX, for example, had one section that appeared to be a large open area until I waited a few seconds and pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, several piles of wood popped into view one after another. Unfortunately this pop-in was quite severe in many areas of the game and really detracted from the otherwise great graphics. Framerate was also an issue occasionally as large explosions could make it drop to into single digits.
While the severe pop-in was rather annoying, it was not the worst part of the game. Gameplay, which was mostly great, was sometimes very unpolished and frustrating. The AI was the biggest offender in this regard as many times my teammates would not recognise enemies standing right in front of them. I was grateful when the enemy returned the favour and didn’t notice my teammates. In these situations I would mostly stare in stunned silence until my teammates finally shouted, “Enemy spotted!” or, more frequently, were shot down. While the AI could be the most frustrating, the game engine’s obsession with having objects move through other objects was also annoying. Once I forced to shoot enemies while in a helicopter flying through buildings, and many times I would find enemies and teammates stuck in objects and walls.
Aside from these issues, however, the campaign was well-done, challenging, and a good length (it took me 20 hours on hard).
While the single-player version of the game is quite unpolished in some cases, the multiplayer does not suffer the same problem; although it does lack many of the single-player’s graphical and gameplay features.
In contrast to the single-player, there are no real-time shadows in multiplayer and the draw distance, while still large, is considerably more restricted. On the bright side, I never once saw an object suddenly pop into existence. In the single-player campaign, on the best features of the gameplay was the ability to take cover and lean around corners. For some inexplicable reason this feature is not included in multiplayer. Also, glass in multiplayer in completely bullet-proof and all boxes and other objects are stuck to the ground and immovable. Despite these drawbacks, however, the multiplayer is still solid and can be quite fun.
Overall, this game is a mixed bag. When it works well it’s brilliant, stunning, and even groundbreaking at times. But you never know when mailboxes might start popping up in front of you, when teammates might suddenly decide to run into the middle of an open field when told to retreat, or when you’ll be forced to shoot enemies while flying through the buildings of Mexico City.