The Outfit Xbox 360 Review
When it comes to World War 2 games there’s generally two types, either action or strategy, but now and again one comes along that takes elements of both. The Outfit is one of those games, whilst it is primarily a third person shooter it does have elements usually associated with a strategy game, but do these additions elevate it above your average shooter?
Despite being in high definition the Outfit isn’t the most ‘next gen’ looking game, and could easily be mistaken for a top end Xbox game. Everything is detailed enough, character models, vehicles, and scenery, but for the most part the game camera is set too far away from the action, making everything too small to appreciate it all. The only real times you get to see how good everything looks is when the game’s cut scenes play as they are done using the game engine rather than having pre rendered FMV. Even though everything is a bit on the small side it all works well together, you get some lovely explosion and smoke effects when blowing things up but there’s very little in the way of lighting effects as the whole game is set during what looks like a bright summer’s day. You do get a very good draw distance though; everything can be seen at any distance, which furthers the impression of a clear day, which just doesn’t seem right really. All the WWII movies I’ve seen give the impression of everything being grey and grim and The Outfit’s colourful scenery and bright summer day just don’t sit right. Compared to Call of Duty 2, the Outfit makes World War 2 look like a picnic. Overall you get a reasonable enough looking game, but it just doesn’t cut it as ‘next gen’ really.
At first glance, the Outfit looks like a run of the mill squad based shooter, but once you start playing you’ll realize there’s a lot more to it than that. The game is a lot more strategic than it looks, rather than just fighting your way through wave after wave of bad guys to reach a main objective, like planting a bomb or rescuing a hostage, here you’ll find territories along the way that need to be captured to help you along the way. Most of these will just be spawn points, but every mission in the campaign has three main territories that are essential for the completion of your mission, first of these is the Armoury, which will give you access to all sorts of gun emplacements, from small tripod mounted machine guns through to some really heavy duty artillery. Next on the list is the motor pool which, as you’d expect, gives you access to a range of vehicles, these being jeeps, half track armoured cars and tanks. Finally there is the radio tower which gives you the ability to call in air strikes, which is handy for not just taking out impassable obstacles but to take out any serious opposition.
Not everything is available from the start though, you start off with the basics and the upgrades become available as you progress through the missions, and they don’t come cheap either, all these deployable assets come at a price, and this price is paid in field units (or FUs), which are earned in several ways, the most straightforward is killing the bad guys, but are also awarded for capturing territories or completing mission objectives. But you’re not limited to just using your own hardware on the battlefield, enemy guns and vehicles can be commandeered if they’re not being used, but you have to be careful as if you’re not, the same thing can happen too you, nothing more frustrating than using your last FUs up on a rocket armed tank, getting out to repair it and some Nazi comes along and jumps in and drives off in it. Trust me, you don’t want that to happen. That’s not all there is to spend your FUs on though; they can be used to repair your vehicles and guns as well as buying them, they can also be used to call in reinforcements too to either man gun emplacements or more importantly to replace dead team members.
Luckily it’s just as easy to replace your chosen team leader as it is your fallen compadres with the game giving you unlimited respawns. Whenever you respawn you’re given both a choice of team leader and spawn point, this can be handy as each team leader comes equipped with different weapons for different situations. Captain Deuce Williams comes equipped with the heavy weapons and a pistol and grenades as back up, Tommy Mac carries a range of machine guns along with a flamethrower and sticky bombs, perfect for close combat, and finally JD Tyler has his rifle, perfect for a bit of sniping, along with a shotgun and a bag of Molotov cocktails. Ammo is unlimited on all weapons, and there’s not even any need to reload, but what you do get is that the weapons heat up, if you use one constantly for too long it’ll overheat, shown by a gauge to the right of your sight, once it hits the top that’s it, you have to wait for it to cool down, but take a short break in firing and it cools down without any loss of firepower.
Controls in the game are pretty standard for a shooter, your left and right triggers control grenades and shooting respectively, left shoulder button switches between primary and secondary weapons and the right shoulder button allows you to sprint. Analogue sticks control movement and camera as usual and the face buttons allow you to summon hardware or manpower, enter vehicles or gun emplacements and climb obstacles. The campaign can be played either on your own or with a friend, both off and online which can be a blast.
The game’s main multiplayer mode plays very much like Star Wars Battlefront, being a territory based game. Here it’s all about command points, you start off with a set amount, and when your opponent holds the majority of the territories you start losing points, whoever loses all their points first loses. You also get standard death match games and Destruction mode, in which the player with the most FUs wins. The online game works well, you don’t get any connection issues (cough, GRAW, cough) and there’s no noticeable lag. The lack of online problems is probably due to them keeping the player numbers down, it’s a bit of a downer not being able to play with more people but it’s probably for the best. There’s nothing worse than over ambitious games that try to support more players online than it’s capable of, certain developers should take note of this. There’s not too much variety in game types, they are fun, but to be honest their longevity is questionable. A couple of extra game types wouldn’t have hurt, something for them to think about if they have any plans for a sequel really.
Like the visual side of the game, the audio for the most part is pretty run of the mill. Sound effects are nothing special and the game’s music seems to be a pretty standard affair but what saves it is some nice voice acting. The script for the single player is a bit on the cheesy side but it’s the little one-liners you get during the single and multiplayer games that made it for me. Some character’s quips are better than others, but for real comedy value you want to play as Nina, the head Nazi’s right hand woman, in multiplayer. Just imagine a Nazi dominatrix with a degree in sarcasm and you’ve got her to a tee. Everything else is adequate, it serves its purpose well enough, gunfire sounds like it has some kick back to it, explosions sound destructive enough but it’s all pretty standard stuff. Thank goodness for those voice actors though, whatever THQ are paying them, it isn’t enough.
The Outfit isn’t a particularly long game, clocking in at around 10 hours to complete the single player campaign, but it has some replay value, as there are plenty of secondary objectives hidden away which can be completed to win medals/achievements. So, if you’re one of those score whores who like to get all your achievements in a game then the single player should keep you going for quite a while. The multiplayer should give you a fair amount of play time too, I don’t think it’s got that much staying power but it should give you a good few nights fun before it loses its appeal.
What we have here is a fun arcade-style shooter with a bit of strategy thrown in, it’s nothing new or original and quite frankly could have easily been done on the original Xbox but it should keep you amused for a while if you’re willing to overlook its shortcomings. Worth a rental at the very least.
7.8 out of 10