STAFF REVIEW of Outfit, The (Xbox 360)

Thursday, April 20, 2006.
by Tony Ingrassia

Outfit, The Box art Yes War is hell, and there are enough war games out there to make your head spin. I guess military games could have there own genre, but they kind of skew the lines a bit depending on the mode of play. Is it a First person shooter, 3rd person strategy, is it realistic or arcade like in its play, there are many subtleties that set war games apart form each other. Needless to say there is defiantly something out there for just about any military mind set. So were does The Outfit fall when it comes to games of war?

The Outfit offers some unique additions to games of war, while entertaining at times, it does fall prey to some redundancy as you move from mission to mission. You are offered 3 choices of character to play as, each one offering there own unique weaponry, stamina, and health. Each character also has varied bartering skills, more on why later. The basic structure of The Outfit is mission based; each mission is basically you and your troops making it from point ?A? to point ?B?. Many enemies abound, a lot of shooting, a lot of blowing up and so on.

Let?s focus on some of the positives of the game first, The Outfit actually has decent graphics and the landscapes, building and objects scattered about are pretty well detailed. Add to this that just about everything is destructible and you end up pleasing quite a few gamers. The biggest feature in The Outfit is the ?Destruction on Demand? function. Lets back up for just one second, as you play through each mission you earn points/currency by killing the enemy and destroying enemy strongholds and buildings, what is the earned booty for you ask, well, back to the Destruction on Demand?You earn certain DOD (Destruction on Demand) functions by taking control of enemy radio towers, motor pools, etc?your DOD has 12 open slots that are automatically filled when a new function is available. It costs points/currency to use these functions, this is also were the bartering skills of your character come into play, the higher the skills the better the price. You?re most basic skill is calling in reinforcements, your troop consists of 4 soldiers and yourself, as you lose men during battle you can call in reinforcements to aid you in combat; your troops are then parachuted in to help your cause. Some of the other functions that will be available are Tanks, ground based artillery, 4x4?s, and the ability to call in air strikes. Besides the reinforcement that are just dropped into your current position, your other functions when called up appear as a transparent frames that you can place anywhere it is clear, if the area is obstructed in any way the frame will turn red indicating you can?t place it in that position. Once you have settles on an area your item is ?Drop Shipped? by plane on the spot you have chosen. It is actually a sweet in game feature; your character places a red smoke flair to indicate the spot for your ?Delivery?, then a huge crate hits the ground after being parachuted to you, the sides? pop open leaving your new hardware ready for action. Let me answer a simple question right off the bat, yes, you can drop your hardware onto enemy forces. One of the other cool functions on the DOD wheel are the Air Strikes, if you have taken control of a radio tower you can call in an air strike to destroy blocked access points or demolish buildings, just like the other functions a frame appears with airplanes and a target, place the target on the spot you want to bomb and call in the strike.

Taking over enemy camps and buildings involves you taking out the enemy forces and standing near the ?Objective? long enough to take over, a small meter winds down as you hold your position, when the meter fills to your side, the Nazi flags roll up and American flags take their place. Now once you have taken control it is possible if you leave enemy soldiers behind, or forget about new enemies being dropped in, to lose control of an Object, thus also losing whichever DOD function you gained when overtaking it, example, taking over the motor pool will give you access to a tank, lose control of the motor pool and no more tank. That being said if you just hang in there and wait for all the enemies for a given area you should have no problem maintaining control. Again, lots of explosions, lots of gunfire, mass destruction and cool hardware, what?s the problem you ask?

Well here are my issues with the game. First off while the maps are pretty well designed, the objectives are repetitive, it?s just a case of overtaking 3 or 4 posts and moving on. The AI must be made up of a master race because you need to shoot one with a rocket launcher 2 or 3 times before they stay down. The same can be said for our heroes, they are just as resilient, actually more so, because you really can?t lose in The Outfit. If you die you just re-spawn at your last point of control, no harm no foul. So I ask you?what is a War without the anticipation and nervousness of losing? If the only real consequence of your actions is having to start at your last check point, which is usually a few steps behind you, is there really any danger? The characters movement is very slow, throwing grenades becomes useless unless you?re right on top of your intended target, the range of our Heroes ability to throw are pretty sad making grenades more of a distraction than a weapon. The maneuvering of vehicles at times will lead to some frustrating moments. On top of that there are some mundane issues with the game, when it says to destroy ?All? of the enemy barracks or camps, it means ALL. I spent a little too much time trying to figure out how to get passed an obstacle just to find that I left 1 tent standing, not an armory, not a moor pool, or even enemies?just an empty tent. I need to ask why.

The Outfit could have been much better, I?m not sure where it got derailed but it did. There is one aspect of the game that is truly fun and that the multiplayer aspect, whether split screen, system link or Xbox Live, playing against friend is a ton of fun. Is that aspect alone strong enough to carry the entire game? Not in my opinion, with so many other offerings available that supply not only a great Multiplayer experience, but also deliver a solid single player experience, it?s hard to move The Outfit into that group of games.

Overall I think the developers deserve kudos for the Destruction on Demand function, it?s very innovative and the way the functions play out visually in the game are very entertaining. Having the ability to cause all of this destruction is fun but not enough to keep this gamer entertained for too long. I think The Outfit was a good first effort, now all the need to do is wrap the DOD feature in some innovative solid game play and you?ll have yourselves a real winner.

Game On!

Overall: 7.6 / 10
Gameplay: 7.6 / 10
Visuals: 8.6 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


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