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Soldier of Fortune: Payback Member Review for the Xbox360

EnderSR388 By:
GENRE Shooter 
PLAYERS 1- 12 
PUBLISHER Activision Value 
DEVELOPER Activision 
M Contains Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language

What do these ratings mean?

First off I did kinda bag on this game, pretty much for the sole reason that it wasn't developed by Raven Software. I'm throughly surprised at how fun this game is! It's not going to win any awards or anything, but it's gory, violent, over-the-top and most importantly, fun.

GRAPHICS: I didn't really know what to expect. This game is developed by a pretty much unknown studio (Cauldron HQ), using their own proprietary graphics engine known as "CloakNT". The only other game that this studio has made is a PC shooter called Chaser. Again, I never heard of either this game or the developer before. I very surprised at how well this engine performs. The draw distance is extremely far and the texture work is relatively tight. The lighting also offers a good sense of realism. HDR (High Dynamic Range) lighting is definitely in effect with this game. The gun models are also decent and on par with most shooters that have been released on the 360 as of late. Explosions kick up some wicked particle effects as well as realistic looking fire. Enemies also explode into gory pieces when standing too close. Yes, the grenades have splash damage!! This counts for you too, so watch out. The character models are well done with large amounts of detail. They are also animated well, this is especially noticeable when hitting enemies with multiple shots. The blood effects give a satisfactory spurt or pop when you land lead. Again, this is a SOF game so you should know that terminating targets with EXTREME prejudice is par for the course.

SOUND: On of the things that caught my attention from the start was the musical score. It's actually very good and sets the mood for certain points in the game without becoming annoying. Likewise the gunfire sounds good and for the most part realistic. Bullets whizzing by, explosions, screams of agony and screams of anger, all come through with great clarity and don't sound muddled or cheap. The voice acting isn't bad, but it's not that great either.

GAMEPLAY: This game controls surprisingly well! A lot better than even the yet to be released America's Army game (in which the controls are horrible!). The buttons are mapped to the controller well for the exception of the duck button. I actually had to RTFM to figure it out. You have to press down on the D-pad to duck and un-duck. The one major flaw with this choice, is that you have to take your thumb off the left analog to do it, which makes you a sitting duck. Clicking the left analog in puts your character into an all out sprint (complete with motion blur and camera bobble effects) which is great for bounding from cover to cover under heavy fire. You can also click the right analog to perform a melee knife attack similar to COD4. Guns in this game also can be customized with many different scopes and a silencer. This adds a few degrees to the otherwise standard FPS game play. You also dual wield most pistols. The MP portion of the game plays out a lot like the COD series, but more violent since you can blow body parts off. The only problem is that as of this morning there was exactly 7 people (including myself) online. It's a shame too, since the SP won't last too long and doesn't offer very much in the way of replayability when you're done.

OVERALL: As stated, this game won't win any awards or convert people who normally don't play FPS's, much like BioShock did, but if you're looking for an extremely violent, very linear, but very fun FPS, then this is your game!

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