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FEATURED VOXPOP oblivion437 Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that.  It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece.  I strongly recommend anyone...

Shadow Harvest: Phantom Ops Member Review for the PC

Ivory_Soul By:
Ivory_Soul
07/14/11
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE Action / FPS 
PLAYERS  
PUBLISHER Viva Media 
DEVELOPER Black Lion Studios 
RELEASE DATE  
M Contains Blood, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Violence

What do these ratings mean?

The Good: Myra's sections are more interesting than Aron's

The Bad: Terrible graphics, technical problems, guns feel like pop guns, no enemy feedback, brain-dead AI, poor cover mechanics, just everything else

If you are an avid first person shooter player you know what makes one good: Graphics, punchy interesting guns, tight controls, and a good multiplayer suite. Shadow Harvest has none of those and seems like it was made just to mock good FPS games. I could go on about the story and characters, but I doubt most will even get through the first level without uninstalling it or tossing their mouse. The story has something to do with a made up Middle Eastern war with a tough guy Aron Alvarez and a sniper chick Myra Lee.

The game has so many problems that the characters and story are the least of them. The levels are very linear filled with oddly placed items that block your path, blurry visuals with terribly low resolution textures. The game is also very choppy and has poor performance even on high-end systems. The game uses a lot of cheap visual tricks to try to look good, but it fails in doing so. When you aim down your sights the whole screen turns blurry instead of using true DOF (Depth of Field), plus the weapons don't even feel punchy, but more like useless pop guns.

When you're actually shooting enemies feedback is very important and these guys don't even respond to shots! They just stand there with no visual indication of you hitting them or not. The HUD layout is kind of like GRAW with diamonds over the enemies to help spot them. Sure you can switch characters, but Lee's sections are just slower and more annoying and the stealth is completely broken in this game. I do prefer Lee's sections over Alvarez because you get to do some neat melee attacks and the gadgets are cooler, but the brain-dead enemies are still just as stupid.

There are some more problems like weapons having small ammo capacity. You get only 90 rounds for most guns and you will blow through these very quickly. The game uses the archaic health pack system, but 4-6 hits and your dead. Health packs are hard to come by, and a lot of the time you will run out of ammo for all your guns and have to stick with your pistol. You could use the cover mechanic to stay alive longer, but it's completely broken due to the fact that the character constantly stands up, or the camera zooms in too close. These problems run through the whole game including long load times, loading after every time you die, and infrequent checkpoints. Missions aren't explained very well, and the entire game is just a big disaster.

The game could have been at least a decent or mediocre shooter, but it chose the easy way out by becoming something abysmal with tons of issues that make you want to just burn the game. Shadow Harvest should not be played by anyone and even forgiving gamers will look the other way after one mission.


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