Publishers and developers City Interactive has its fair share of hits and misses. Actually more misses than hits as rightfully so, they never advertised as being a AAA developer. However there are bound to strike gold once in a while and this game, Operation Thunderstorm is actually quite good considering its basic plot, the pacing and progress made me want to play it almost in one hit as its pretty intensive yet satisfying shooting game.
The game takes place in the year 1942, the height of the Nazi army and the British intelligence (MI6) assigns you to go behind enemy lines to eliminate three top ranking German officials – Joseph Goebbels (Nazi minister of propaganda), Heinrich Himmler (creator of the infamous concentration camps) and Herman Goring (Luftwaffe commander). And if you haven't noticed, these are all real Nazi’s officials so it places an interesting twist as all of them died around 1945 / 1946. So one come to think are they all going to escape just barely (to maintain history sake) or you actually going to eradicate them?
The gameplay is your run-of-the-mill first person shooter (FPS). You aim, you kill, you move on until you meet your objectives. Also the game is linear yet for some odd reason, you have a mini map on the bottom left corner marking your next objective. This could be easily removed as I rarely use that map – actually I think I used it just once when trotting through the sewers – and no that's not a spoiler as every FPS game has a sewer level (for some odd reason).
You can only carry a maximum of four weapons however that's more than enough. Of course you also get a worthless knife (as I used it just once and yep it's hopeless alright) and because you are in German territory going lone wolf, expect to use a lot of German weaponry (as ammo is easy to find) however the start of every chapter, you get a fully loaded stg44. Also the manual goes on saying that use different weapons for different situations (i.e. short / long range combat) however I didn't take any notice of that as all of them do what they designed to do – to kill people.
One of my pet peeves about modern FPS is the concept of self-heal – i.e. stand still and all is good over a period of time. This makes me almost immortal unless you have decent AI that won't allow you to do that. However in Operation Thunderstorm, the AI are not the smartest bunch as they have a tendency to stick their heads above cover and the vast majority just want to run at you (send my regards to WW1). So because of this, I played the game on the hardest difficulty level (there are three to choose from) and had no real issues finishing the game. Granted that I used some tactics however you can say it was a comfortable run.
If you have played any of the FEAR games, you'll be right at home with all its glitches as this game runs on the Jupiter EX engine. It's quite a decent engine with great response times however it does fall into the cracks when you are trying to navigate through boxes and the like as the physics are not quite up there. Also when your enemy dies, the physics are pretty dramatic as you will witness some odd death positions.
The sound quality is quite decent as the natural ambiance sounds like water dripping / floor creaks etc. are convincing enough. Even the voice acting from the German soldiers are pretty decent considering they say the game line over and over again. However the occasional wise cracks from the main character doesn't fit the bill as considering the general atmosphere feels pretty sombre (which is a good thing – similar to Velvet Assassin) the occasional stupid comments made from the main character killed the mood.
There is also a multiplayer component where it basically recycles the single player maps. There are three modes to choose from being death match / team death match and capture the flag. And because it's using the Jupiter EX engine, I cannot image it takes much coding to do this. Only capture the flag could cause confusion just to locate the flag as after all, you are using the single player maps so I don't think the meticulous balance will be there.
The single player campaign is quite short also as I'm not sure how many hours I have clocked it however I'm certain it's around six hours – note I'm notoriously slow when completing games however basically it's a short game. Whilst the game plays the way it was designed (i.e. a shooter) it does that pretty well however I wish there were more outdoor settings like a sniper level (or something similar to that effect – say ‘hello’ to FEAR 1 for those monotonous indoor levels) as you do a lot of corridor shooting and can be quite tedious at times. Yet it's a budget shooter and I did like the romp however if it maintain that ominous feeling, it would be a sinister game indeed (in a very good way).
7.2 / 10