Hour of Victory Xbox 360 Review
What have you got up to for the past seven years? I am sure you achieved a lot! Maybe you graduated, maybe you got a promotion, or perhaps you got a new job? I am sure you met a lot of new people over the course of the last seven years and there is also the strong probability you have made a few new friends over the course of that half decade. What I am sure of is that over the past seven years you have played a fair few games and due to you reading this review I do not think it would be a stretch to assume that a handful of them would be sitting in the FPS genre. Well now imagine, if you will, that those years never happened, and all the clever ideas, innovative gameplay mechanics and excellent level design all ceased to be. Do you know where you are? Well, I’ll tell you, you are now well on your way to being in the state of mind nFusion must have been in when they created Hour of Victory. Yes, this game is that bad!
So, these days almost every big FPS has a hook to draw you in. In some you have a cover system, in others you have to lead a team in battle and in some you just feel like a member of a team as you head into said battle. HoV is also one of these games, its hook being that instead of controlling just one protagonist you can pick from a selection of three guys with a supposed varied selection of skills. Now, from the outset that does not sound like a bad idea, however it is a bad idea, a very bad one, a terrible one in fact. Not only is the idea steeped in mediocrity, it is also poorly expanded on, meaning instead of helping the game stand out from the crowd it severely limits it instead.
The three main characters on show are Lieutenant Ross, a brutish commando who can take more of a beating than most, Major Taggert, who is a rather nippy chap and quite good at infiltration, and finally, there’s Sergeant Blackbull who is good at jumping, and has his own grappling hook. Unfortunately, it seems that nFusion did not realise that in the likes of Call of Duty, Medal of Honour, and Brother in Arms the one solider you’re asked to control at any one time is able to perform all these task without the stupid need for switching in and out. Even worse, each of the different character attributes in game are not all that different from each other, so when you come up against something your current soldier cannot accomplish, it is rather off-putting and pulls you out of any realisation of fun you could be forcing yourself to have. Of course, if the game had some interesting levels, smart AI, acceptable graphics, and physics that felt like they actually existed in the real world maybe the game could find a place in the hearts of a few gamers. Regretfully, it does not.
There is just so much wrong with the game it is amazing it ever got released. In truth, so many stupid decisions have been made that it borders on being comical at times. The enemies in the game boast almost no form of reliable AI, making them cannon fodder to whichever character you choose. At times, they will decide to hide behind an object, but they don’t seem to understand the object is only two foot high, and with your average Nazi being a bit taller than that you can easily shoot them. Even worse, some of the enemies in the game don’t seem to want to shoot you at all and at times will move around trying to find a good vantage point even though you are standing right in front of them. The icing on the cake is that mélée attacks kill enemies with one hit, so when you combine this with the simpleton AI you have an unintentionally simple, but still highly aggravating game.
The problems don’t end there though, as the game makes many other mistakes throughout its tour de farce. Cutscenes are overdone and repeat time after time with each character’s unique trait getting an unskippable cutscene every single time they use it. It just keeps on going though as you can, at times, just run through whole sections of levels to trigger one of these scenes as when they are playing you cannot get shot, magic! More problems come when enemies spawn out of nowhere, to appear right in front of you as you are walking by. Level design is as basic as can be and even though the game supposedly offers different paths for different characters, many of the unique areas seem to overlap making the whole game feel extremely linear. The game controls are also as slow as treacle, with everything you do feeling sluggish. There is a multiplayer mode, which allows up to 12 players to play three team-based modes, but as you’d expect the whole thing is almost as broken as the single player game. In fact, should you be silly enough to buy the game this is the best place to cry and share stories with others about how you were £40 better off just a few hours ago.
Although the game boasts use of the UE3, it does not take advantage of the engine at all. At times it even struggles to look anything more than a budget release that hit the market in mid 2003 on the original Xbox. Also, none of the visual effects look anywhere near ‘next-gen’ at all. I guess you could class the character models as mildly impressive, but it does not help when they animate like a chicken with its head cut off. Now, I suppose some parts of the music and audio could be singled out for a small glimmer of praise, but even that is a huge struggle to do, so I won’t. First let’s speak about explosions, which for some reason sound like farts of white noise through your speakers. Yes, with every explosion you get a fart of white noise and with enough explosions you just may begin to believe that a dead relative you lost in the war, the same war that has been shoddily recreated in front of your eyes, is trying to contact you through the game. Of course, this is not really happening, but in this instance it is better to believe a malevolent sprit is haunting you than to attempt to take the game seriously. In a weird turn of events, the music in the game is actually quite impressive, with some nice up-tempo orchestral scores, but this positive is quickly turned around when you realise that music is highly overused in the game. In fact, it is done to such an extent that you may start to believe a manic marching band is following you around every nook and cranny of the map.
Now, I know games don’t make themselves and I also know nFusion spent quite a lot of time working on developing this title, so for me to rip apart their game in a review written over the course of one solitary day is not very nice of little old me, but in all honesty there are no plus points I can think to brighten this review up. War may very well be hell, and the WWII FPS sub-genre has now gone well beyond the point of absolute saturation, but at least, after all these years, some developers can still manage to create a worthwhile addition to keep the behemoth chugging along. However, the complete inadequacy of HoV undermines all work seen, over the years, in those titles.
Finally, if after reading all of this, you are still thinking to yourself “it cant be that bad, maybe I will try it out,” then let me just say that you’d be better of solving Lex Luthor’s maze, as even the utter hopelessness that was Superman 64 was a better game than this. In fact, letting John Romero “make you his bitch” by playing Daikatana would be a better option. Yes, this game is that bad. It’s rubbish. Really rubbish. Honestly, it’s just crap.
Don’t buy it, Don’t even think about buying it. Just download the demo and laugh.