Reading the numerous comments in defense of this simulation's gaming goodness leaves me feeling like Alice gone through the looking glass. I love this genre and look for any goodness I can find in such games, especially when they involve WWII on the Eastern Front but honestly, this one is a train wreck filled with bugs, balance issues galore, broken objectives and other serious playability issues. I realize that one person's elixir is another guy's poison but this pile is pure strychnine.
In its attempts to be realistic, Iron Front: Liberation 1944 bites off far more than it can chew.
- Filled with bugs and technical snafus
- Controls and situational reports are confusing
- Graphics and sound are terrible
- Multiplayer matches are hard to find and set up
- AI is absolutely awful.
Realism in shooters is something the computer game industry has both striven for and struggled with for some time. It's good to feel that what you're doing has some connection to the real thing, especially when historical settings are involved, but it isn't fun to spend half your game time field-stripping rifles and doing KP. A veneer of authenticity can make for a more emotionally charged experience, but to pull this off, a game needs to hide the inevitable lack of realism that's at the core of first-person shooter gameplay. It's a delicate balance, and one that Iron Front: Liberation 1944 utterly fails at. As fate would have it, Iron Front also fails at not crashing constantly, not looking like its graphics were drawn by a teenager, and at being any fun at all.
Iron Front starts with a solid historical basis, at least: you play either as a German or a Soviet soldier in the middle of a campaign to win the Eastern Front in World War II. It's an enticing premise for those who have imagined the life of a foot soldier in the ranks of two of the world’s most ruthless dictatorships. Gameplay lands somewhere between ARMA and Battlefield 1942. There's a thick coating of realism, alongside a kitchen sink full of possibilities. You start off as a simple soldier, but ultimately you can do everything from manning heavy weapons to commanding tanks to flying fighter aircraft. Sniping, stealth, huge frontal assaults: everything’s included. Iron Front: Liberation 1944 is highly ambitious in scope, but ends up trying to do way too much. The ground portions do feel somewhat realistic (at least in the sense that you can die and kill instantly), but the opaque control system makes flying a plane cumbersome and inorganic.
To its credit, the game offers dialogue in both German and Russian (subtitled) or in horribly dubbed English, if reading isn't your bag. The thing is, regardless of the language you choose, you won't care what anyone is saying. Apart from the occasional stultifying cutscene in which you listen to a narrator read text that's already visible onscreen, most dialogue in the game is AI-generated radio babble that comes so fast and furious, and is so poorly tracked on your heads-up display, that it may as well be a TV left on in the background. Iron Front tries hard to give you a feeling of being one part of a much larger battle, but because the briefings interface is totally obtuse, and because the way information comes at you in missions is so confusing, the interface overwhelms both you and itself.
In fact, the entire game overwhelms itself. During the review process, Iron Front received a large patch that fixed some (but by no means all) of its stability issues. Yet in spite of the patch, the game still crashes, just not as often. Other bugs have revealed themselves since: loading screens frequently hang, necessitating forced quits; controls stop responding mid-mission for no apparent reason; AI entities stand around doing absolutely nothing while receiving effective incoming fire; and sound suddenly cuts out or goes extremely quiet in the middle of critical briefings. AI pathfinding is also a huge issue, with non-player characters frequently getting lost or trapped on geometry, and enemies patrolling in endless circles, doing nothing of importance.
When Iront Front works, its great. Unfortunately, it working is a rare event. I cant even pass the Soviet tutorial because the Zis-3 never activates, and I make sure that it is always patched up-to-date.
Having owned and played Arma 2 and enjoyed it a lot I found this review a lot to be desired. Here is a good review done by a person who is IMHO more used to playing games such as these. Anyone who reads the above review should also read this...
P.S. Simhq regularly hosts multiplayer servers for this game and features screenshots of their past events.
brainiac1988 I totally agree with you. This guy should stay far away from reviewing milsim's, he obviously has no idea what he's talking about. Half the "review" is just a rant about keybindings. Perhaps you're better off sticking to a console Mr. Reviewer?
@Sheddius Have you actually played this game? I mean really played it? I have. Its awful! Even for a sim its awful! TONS of bugs, broken objectives. Awful. Take for example, the mission searching. You go to an objective marker, then they spawn 100 germans right ON TOP of your team with no way to hide or escape. Or give you bonus objectives that are impossible to complete in the time allowed. And thats IF you can even get the objective to trigger. Half the time the game wont let you advance or will fail your mission because you didnt follow a very strict preset path. Yeah thats realistic. Or how about mind boggling options like unlimited saves in normal and up difficulties and ONE save in novice difficulty! MAKES NO SENSE! Not to mention the poorly translated English menus. Revert and suspend my game? Dont you mean restart and quit??? I could go on and on. I swear you people who defend this game havnt even played it!
Well, what is the essential difference between the mechanisms of this game and that of ArmA 2? ArmA 2 was just as buggy and frustrating when it was first released, yet it managed to score as high as 8/10. The only explanation I can see is that neither of the games are reviewed objectively ---- if the authors cannot even write a review from the point of view of the intended audience of the game, he/she might as well not write it.
The game shouldve been reviewed by someone who's into the genre...He is obviously not into military sims.
Ok its a pretty bad game, even for a military sim.. but "2.0 - Terrible" ?
No, I'd say somewhere between 5.5 and 6.5
2.0 is too goodits just rubishgameplay rubish, graphic rubish, sound rubish. & horror to control movement & interaction object.
for example, in second mission its difficult to mount into wagon, because stupid icon to take MP40 refuse changed to icon mount into car...
why in car have gun armory...why interaction to take item n mount is the same button...WHY ????
@xmonpar A Stuart tank KO a Stug III at 1500metres ????not that great, but yeah Red Orchestra is somewhat better gameplay integrated.
Being that I'm desperate for tactical shooters, I loved ArmA, and other people seem to like it; I'll get it.
Well yes the game is Arma 2 in it's own right and i also agree a score of 2.0 is really harsh. But yes the game for some has some bugs and if your not used to playing a game like Arma 2, then you will find more fault in the style of gameplay. Most people honestly dont have the patience or time to learn the game as it based on tatics not shoot from the hip type game. If i were to review the game based on playing it i would of gave it a score of 7 as my only quirk with game was the flying mechanics in game felt weird.
The map looks like a rip-off from Arma II. Not modified, not renewed - literally just the same thing.
This game is basically an Arma II mod its using an updated Arma II engine. The reviewer basically doesnt know what hes doing so he gave it a low score but it should have got the same score as Arma II since its the exact same game in a WWII setting instead of modern day. (Arma II got an 8.0 on this site)
Since Gamespot has gone to the new format their review quality has gone downhill.
Shame on Gamespot, it's not the site it used to be. Now they need money from companies in order to write a good review. Or the game must have been made by Americans. Shame on Gamespot.
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@Reuwsaat Honestly the game is really fun, if you like mil sims then you will enjoy it. The graphics are fine, any more and you will kill your GPU, the only really bad factors about this game are the bugs and shotty connection, but that can be all fixed, if you are up for the larning curve the game is really fun. Learning curve isn't that hard if you are playing with other people who know how to play and are willing to help/teach you.
Game not for brainless fps players,play something smart before, then come and test again with some brains in the head! Even here infested with zombies (fps players)
I saw this "Why, for example, is there a separate key for "stand up"? Why can't you simply hit the "crouch" or "prone" button again?" and immediately knew we had a CoD moron play a military sim. Gamespot, step your game up by choosing the correct people to play games, or get rid of your CoD staff :)
@lmfaoown As much as I dislike COD it is inappropriate to call him a "COD moron", I see the context in which you are meaning, but since this is text it implies that all who play COD are morons. I do agree that this seems to be the wrong reviewer for the job though, as I said they should have used a reviewer with military sim experience or the reviewer who reviewed ARMA 2 as he should have the necessary experience to review a game that is close to ARMA 2.
@Smosh150 I agree with you, and not all cod players are morons. I worded it pretty badly, and was a really quick reply.
GS threw out its own principles for review for this one.
Where is the standard review procedure that needs several other editors' opinion to make sure review score is objective?
More or less the same ARMA 2 gets high scores while this not U.S. miliatary simulation, not funded by U.S. military gets lowest score possible?
Deep silver didn't pay anything to list ads on your site,
Deep silver is politically irrelevant.
This review is punitive at best.
A fine showcase of principles required for a public review site.
Only a modification of Arma was bought by the US military to help instruct soldiers on firing techniques and situational awareness. It wasn't funded by them, they put out a competition to developers to come up with a system they needed, they chose, and bought it. The version of Arma we play is nothing like the one they have, and was build and released before.
A 2.0 is a little ridiculous. Is Iron Front as good as Arma 2? Definitely not. I expected this review to have a midrange score in the 5-7 range and complain of meager content, lackluster netcode, and steep system requirements. Instead I read that the game is bad because you die without knowing what killed you, the controls are too hard (they're really pretty simple), and that the game bombards you with too much information. Those kind of complaints indicate that this isn't really the type of game the reviewer typically plays. This is where the review system is flawed. Eric Neigher's arguments are completely valid for him, but they're strongly biased by his perspective on the game. To the sim fan a lot of controls are expected, authenticity is considered fun, not an obstacle to it, and lots of information is usually a good thing. Often I see the justification that "Well the review is for the average gamer and not just fans of the genre" which is based on the flawed assumption that there is an average gamer. There isn't. Every gamer I've met has unique tastes that make them particular to certain genres, sub-genres, certain games, certain systems within the games themselves, etc. Imagine if you saw a review of the next Call of Duty game with a lower than expected score by a sim fan and the review had complaints like, "The enemies didn't use proper military tactics, the control scheme was overly simplistic, tank physics are non-existent" Every arcade fps fan reading the review would be very confused because those are features they expect. I don't know Eric's background in gaming but it doesn't seem like this is his genre and games should be reviewed by people experienced in them.
your probably right but that doesn't stop the game from sucking horiblly. Either way, the game really is disappointing and definately unappealing.
you sir, are very correct. i want my sim games to brief me with 10 pages long and make me spend 2 hours setting up the tactics beforehand.
So this game us based on an ARMA II mod? No wonder it sucks. ARMA II was one of the worst games I have ever played - pointless briefings, unplayable combat, detail creep, I couldn't stand it.
I played this game and finished the german campaign, it was fun, the graphics were amazing you just need a good pc, gamespot probably has shitty pc's and couldn't run it maxed
on emassive thing reviewers always seem to miss out on games that are like this. Is the editors. They completely ditch the editor mode. Ive spent over 500 hours on the ARMA 2 editor alone, you can design FGULL blown military opreations in ARMA 2 adn everything. I think reviewers need to review the whole game not just part of it.
This is a game that needs all the love and TLC that only a true computer gamer can give it. Full of bugs and glitches to sate the desires of technical tinkers, both subtle and gross--but it's not for the timid.
I too will admit this review does not seem to be as well thought out as it could. Hell, I played IF a bit back when it was still a mod for Arma 2, and it worked well. Sure, the AI is still not the best, but everything else worked fine. Played like Arma2 to me, only with weapons & vehicles from WW2. So unless they did something drastic to the game when it was made from a mod to retail, this review is overly harsh.
Well, this has to be the most stupid Review for a long time...
If the Reviewer isn't intellectually equipped to play a Game more complex than CoD DON'T LET HIM REVIEW IT! The entire Review is total nonsense... "Gameplay lands somewhere between ARMA and Battlefield 1942." This Game is nothing more than a Arma2 Total Conversion Mod and it plays exactly like ArmA2 in Multiplayer... nothing new... But Mr. Eric "mentally challenged" Neigher doesm't know, because he isn't doing his job...
Controls are fine, but if you play for 15min. and can't even doubletap a Key in the right moment, well then you are too stupid for it...
Multiplayermatches hard to find and setup? Yeah, totally hard to choose a Mission from a List and click OK, when everyone is ready... You may need a special College degree for that...
Graphics terrible? Graphics are at least ok, when you set them right and according to your Hardware... But again, you would need to know what you are doing...
The Mission-Editor isn't even mentioned, well it's important, because you create Missions with it, which are fun... Too stupid for it? WRONG GAME TO REVIEW!
This Game isn't very good, it isn't worth the money and it's filled with bugs, but it is NOT a 2.0 and Mr. Eric Neigher did an horrible job reviewing it...
Time to get rid of some underqualified Staff Gamespot!
Another terrible Gamespot review. I have a feeling this guy only plays halo. Considering this game is basically ARMA in WW2 nad that got a high review...I'm a bit confused. I Own the game and it still needs a lot of polish but the graphics are very realistic. The sounds are realistic but to to subdued. I see great potential in this game. I would say in it's current state more like a 5.5-6.0. The ARMA engine has always been clunky and I really don't get why they won't fix the basic things but the game is much better than a 2!!
@Dredloc ARMA 2 doesn't have garbage graphics, and it has a large modding community and tons of developer support.
A year ago i played ONI and it uses double tapping w to sprint and imo it's better than using alt (skyrim) or space (mass effect)
"double tapping the forward key to sprint is extremely clumsy"?
How? are you using a computer with a 1.6ghz single core cpu and integrated graphics to play this game? I've never have any problems double tapping "w" in A.V.A (Alliance of Valiant Arms) to sprint. What did you do GS? Get the Xbox reviewer instead of the PC reviewer, or does your gaming pc just suck?
Despite this review I still want to play it. The extreme realism talks to me. Bugs can get fixed, and it may be entire crud, but it still deserves a chance (when it's cheap).
I guess it was the usual PC reviewers day off and they had to enlist the Nintendo Wii reviewer.
Case in point:
"a morass of impenetrable key bindings"
"double-tapping the forward button to sprint is extremely clumsy"
Obviously Wii doesn't let you remap keys.
lol, thats funny as...nintendo wii reviewer....LOL.
i love it. ARMA 2 is the best open warfare game in existence. head and shoulders above BF3 in my opinion for so many reasons. These editors need to play around with all facets of a game like this not just 1 aspect. The editor mode in games like ARMA and this are a MASSIVE part of the actual games. Some people only play these games to design thier own military operations in the editor. In order for the operations to work though, the Ai DOES need to be damn good though and they ar in ARMA 2,
Eh, kind of a bad review. I haven't played this game but from looking at the screens it's pretty obvious that this is an ARMA mod. The UI is the same the briefing screen is the same etc. Everything that the reviewer complains about, with the exception of the crashes, are prevalent in ARMA games. The controls are the same, the briefing screens and other UI have the same functionality. The AI radio chatter is depicted in the same way on the HUD when in game etc.
The reviewer is basically complaining about everything wrong about this game that's also wrong about ARMA games but this game got a 2.0 and ARMA games didn't.
If ARMA 2 got a 2.0 id scream and complain. ARMA 2 is amazing and now wiht all the patches etc, the bugs are practically non existent.
@nyran125 Yes ARMA 2 is pretty awesome. I didn't mean to imply it should have gotten a 2.0. My point was that it's funny that the controls that seem to be just fine in ARMA2 are horrible in this game according to the reviewer even though they are exactly the same. The score is just dumb. And the reasons for it are even dumber. Why would you drag a games score down due to controls that the user can easily change? Moreover it's not the game's fault if most people speak german online. That has nothing to do with how good the game is.
It's just sad that this game gets a 2.0 for totally nonsensical reasons.