Developer: nFusion Interactive
N Amer - 06/25/2007
Intl - 06/29/2007
Hour of Victory Review
Since its successful launch, Microsoft’s white box has welcomed the World War II shooter with open arms with titles like Call of Duty 2 and even The Outfit and we can come to expect more in the near future. Now Midway has jumped into the familiar WWII first-person shooter territory with Hour of Victory for the Xbox 360, a seriously flawed and dated first-person shooter with very little to offer. Yeah, it’s that bad.
As a loyal fan of the first-person shooter genre, I accepted the tired World War II theme and even loved the idea that you can pick from three very different characters that possess their own specialty. It’s like yanking out three characters straight out of The Dirty Dozen. The story centers on the European and African theatres as word has it that the Germans are attempting to develop an atomic weapon and it’s up to the Allied forces to put an end to it before Hitler’s war machine succeeds. So answering the call are three specialists who will journey from the Bavarian Alps to North Africa and finally Berlin.
Unlike most World War II first-person shooters, you can pick from the three specialists at the start of the game and switch them at every checkpoint (or after you get killed). There’s Lieutenant William Ross of the British SAS, a true commando who takes more damage and prefers to jump into the fray. Then there’s Major Ambrose Taggert of the American OSS division, he’s an infiltration operative that prefers stealth, can pick locks and moves more swiftly. Finally, there’s Sergeant Calvin Blackbull who is a US Army Ranger sniper who specializes in long jumps and making good use of his grappling hook.
While it may sound cool that all three have their own specialty, these special “skills” aren’t put to any interesting use. In fact, all you’ll really use is Taggert’s ability to pick a lock and Blackbull’s use of his grappling hook to get to a better sniper vantage point. Of the three, Ross is the powerful one who can take a licking but not to the extent suggested in his profile. The truth is that none of these skills are worth anything thanks to a number of bugs and other gameplay glitches that are just too numerous and noticeable to ignore.
Here’s a preview of the buggy gameplay you can come to expect from Hour of Victory:
Behind the wheel of an Axis Tiger Tank, Taggert bulldozes his way across the line and, thanks to some rather awkward vehicle controls, ends up in a ditch. Suddenly, the tank begins to twitch is if it just came to life and finally the screen goes awash in red. His sudden and confusing death just makes me scratch my head wondering what exactly killed me.
Sergeant Blackbull uses his grappling hook to get up on the roof of a building that will give him the perfect view of an enemy gun emplacement. He raises his sniper rifle, looking through the scope to get a good view of a German soldier’s head. Squeezing off a shot I’m expecting to see my target drop dead but instead his head tilts back as if my bullet hit him square in the temple but he shakes it off and goes back firing rounds from his MG42 turret. Did his helmet deflect the bullet? If that’s the case then why does the same thing happen again later in the game with an enemy without a helmet?
Sometimes the best strategy is to just come in with guns blazing and I take Ross out into the open firing his submachine gun and tossing grenades. Instead of taking cover behind, say, what is left of an old car, they take refuge behind a picket fence … with their backs turned to you. It was like picking off German soldiers trained by the Dumb & Dumber guys. What further proof that the enemy AI lacks a brain? After I easily dispatched those soldiers, another group of Germans ran out to avenge their fallen comrades only to be shot down by the last soldier too eager to shoot at me.
I think you’re getting the picture here and it is these things that play a huge role in Hour of Victory’s many flaws. The controls are also a major pain and can be unresponsive at times and that twitch I mentioned above can also apply to your own character. You’ll die a lot in this game and many times you won’t know what killed you. The game’s level design also gives the game its dated feel. Aside from the fact that you get to control vehicles or man a flak gun, there’s very little variety or objectives that haven’t been covered by other WWII shooters. Even the online multiplayer mode feels tacked on and generic.
When it comes to the game’s visuals, Hour of Victory isn’t even a gorgeous-looking game. There are moments in the game when it does look good and tries to mimic those of Call of Duty 2 but then again there are moments when the game just looks like an excellent original Xbox game. Still, from afar, the character models look pretty good and so do the backgrounds. The visual effects aren’t flashy but they do the trick.
There’s also a good soundtrack but mainly it’s a copy of what you would hear in most World War II themed games. The music isn’t particularly moving but it plays nicely with the action and the sounds effects do their job pretty well. There’s even some decent voice acting and everyone sounds the way they should but there’s nothing really special about the sound.
Unfortunately, there are hardly any positive aspects to this fractured first-person shooter that just isn’t able to do the action justice. If anything, Hour of Victory feels unfinished and plagued with enough bugs to cripple the action in the worst way. This game would have been acceptable on the original Xbox but in a new generation that features stellar WWII games like the Call of Duty series, Hour of Victory is an Xbox 360 game fans of the genre will want to miss altogether.
Review Scoring Details for Hour of Victory
There are three different characters you can play and they supposedly have their own unique attributes but somehow their skills just don’t set these worthless characters apart. Sadly, the awful level design and controls filled with way too many glitches make this a WWII first-person shooter that will just disappoint.
The graphics don’t scream next-generation but at least there are some decent visual effects and character models that don’t look so bad from afar. It’s when you’re looking at somebody from a close distance that you’ll notice how bad the graphics look.
When it comes to the explosions and the gunfire, Hour of Victory does a decent job but it’s not as exciting or as detailed as, say, Call of Duty 3. The voice acting is also pretty decent and the music tries to sound pretty epic.
The game is challenging but not for all the right reasons thanks to some serious gameplay glitches that will often find your character dying under some mysterious circumstances like your tanks exploding for no reason after getting stuck in a ditch. Also, why does it take half an ammo clip to take down an enemy?
Taggert, Ross and Blackbull have their own specialty but all three play alike either way. There are vehicles to commandeer as well but all of this doesn’t work whatsoever. It’s like Midway released the game before they even finished it. There are also online multiplayer matches but they don’t add very much.
Up to 12 players can battle it out in a deathmatch and capture the flag-styled game modes and, for the most part, it runs pretty smoothly. It’s just too bad that the bad controls get in the way of the action, especially when it comes to the more frantic game mode Devastation.
There’s a game somewhere among the bugs and glitches that make up Hour of Victory for the Xbox 360 but you’ll never find it seeing as the entire experience feels broken and rushed. This is actually too bad since there are some good ideas here but they’re never implemented well and thus makes this a game you should avoid.
If anything, Hour of Victory feels unfinished and plagued with enough bugs to cripple the action in the worst way
Reviewer: Eduardo Zacarias
Review Date: 07/10/2007