This quarter of 2007 has sure had its share of blood soaked games, let us recall a few; Conan, Manhunt 2 and Beowulf are the recent ones. If you are into brutal slayings of human meatshields then this title will surely be for you. (You sadistic punks, you know who you are).
The game itself is just an average FPS, that being said, it is at its core a fun experience, and isn’t that what gaming is supposed to be all about?
The fun comes in ripping apart every enemy on screen. Arms and legs blow off, heads explode like watermelons and spurt fountains of blood — it’s like Jason meets Rambo. There is something sadistic, but oddly pleasing, about blowing off limbs. (Again, you know who you are). There are some guns so powerful that you can actually send bodies flinging sideways until they bounce off trees or buildings. I can’t deny that there are many times I was laughing out loud.
I really liked being able to take out my fellow terrorists with a silenced sniper rifle. Or using an AK-47 to blow out a knee cap or puncture a throat. The interesting thing about the depth that was put into this gore is the animations that follow a hit. Let’s say you take your time and blow off the guys left ankle, (yes, you can get that detailed); your target will fall to his knees, look at the mess you just made of his legs and then pass out. Shoot them in the throat, and they will drop their weapon and grab their throat.
But while all this is very entertaining, that is where the fun stops. Soldier of Fortune Payback is about a 5 – 7 hour experience, after the first hour blowing off another limb is just plain old boring. The gunfire is intense at times and firefights can be a lot of fun, but only so far.
And this is where the game truly suffers, the AI. Realistically, if the developers had taken as much care with the AI as they did with the gore then this could have been a smash hit (ok, a little better on the graphics too ). Unfortunately they did not, enemies will run right at you and frequently may I add they are coming at you with a melee weapon and not a gun? But, most of the time, if the enemy gets close; they just run right past you… Hmm, there was this one funny moment when I saw an enemy run toward a grenade I threw… splat…
Soldier of Fortune:Payback is a renter in my opinion, there is not alot of replayablity and the AI just stinks. But it is fun to play a few hours with it for sure.