Great gaming mysteries, no.23: How can a brand-new, 3D accelerated game look worse than its non-accelerated ancestors? We’re confused.
“Hello. I’m from the Delta Force. Would you be so good as to point me in the direction of the bad guys?”
We’re amazed by the graphics in Land Warrior.
Really, truly amazed. The original Delta Force wasn’t the prettiest game in the world, but its voxel engine did its job without needing a 3D card. i>Delta Force 2 was slightly prettier, and again didn’t require a 3D card. Its voxels sort of worked with 32-bit 3D cards, but you were just as well off without one. Neither of them looked bad, and if you were in a pretentious frame of mind you could argue that their blockiness imbued them with the same sort of grainy, documentary feel that Stanley Kubrick strove for in Full Metal Jacket.
Well, maybe. The point is that Land Warrior, the third game in the series, has finally followed the crowd and embraced proper, polygonal 3D that works with a 3D card. And as a result it’s by far the ugliest game in the series. We can’t help but wonder how no-one spotted this little flaw. The rolling landscapes seem too brightly-coloured, the bad guys look like they’re made out of badly-painted four-by-twos, the trees are blurry cut-outs and, strangest of all, your weapons are displayed as blurred, low-res bitmaps.
We haven’t finished. Interiors look bad, too, even when Land Warrior tries to give the impression that it’s pulling out all the stops to look great. Item: the interior of the terrorist-infested Great Pyramid in the first mission. We’re fairly sure that you won’t find rooms full of pillars decorated with the gaudiest possible imitation of hieroglyphics in the real thing. And for pity’s sake, don’t try climbing any of Land Warrior’s ladders if you’ve had too much to drink. The act of vertical ascent seems to be too much for the engine, causing the screen to judder like someone who’s just downed a pint of Metz served at zero degrees Kelvin.
We should probably laugh more at the graphics – yes, they’re that bad – but we ought to get on with the rest of the game which, at least, has enough going on to help you forget about the appalling visuals. That is, it plays pretty much the same as its predecessors. Perhaps Nova logic didn’t budget for buggering up the gameplay as well as the graphics. Maybe they’re saving that for the next game in the series.
Some improvements are even in evidence if you are using Clash Royale hack for free gems; you now have a choice of characters, each with their particular speciality. Naturally we opted for the fully-trained sniper; you’d never guess we’d played before. And if you’re not so keen on the old-school Delta Force mission structure, Novalogic have thoughtfully provided 10 quick missions of varying difficulty that you can jump straight into. Tactics prove to be vital, although you can make up for strategic deficiency with quick and accurate mousing skills; the enemy tactic often appears to be to fire at you and miss in order to give away their position, so that you can kill them a second later.
Nothing new there, then. But there is a lovely range of real guns to choose between; one sniper rifle for us, please. And of course there’s the multiplayer version, which is the closest you’ll get to playing Hide & Seek online. In our experience Delta Force deathmatch turns into a game of ‘Lie down on top of a hill and snipe like a bastard’, which is actually a lot more fun than it sounds.
Basically Land Warrior is bigger, slightly better and one whole lot uglier than its predecessors. We’re not sure that you wouldn’t be better off hunting down one of the earlier editions in the bargain bins, though.