Date: March 25th, 2003
Genre: Tactical First Person Shooter
Publisher: Project 3/Strategy First
Developer: Termite Games
Buy 'NEW WORLD ORDER': PC
Since its release in 1999, Counter-Strike has set the bar for tactical shooters. Over the years following its release, many companies have designed their tactical shooters around the pros and cons of Counter-Strike, the most played first person shooter of all time. Due to the quality of this mod for Valve Software’s hit title Half-life, it is very hard for a company to dish out a game that can compete with Counter-Strike. Yet time and time again, companies try their hand at tactical shooters, usually with minimal success. Termite Games decided to take a stab at making a tactical shooter, which came in the form of the recently released title, New World Order.
New World Order, Termite Games' new tactical shooter, puts the player in the shoes of an elite counter-terrorism operative. A member of the GAT (Global Assault Team), the player takes on the role of John Dobbs, the team’s newest recruit. It is the players job to rid the world of dangerous terrorist factions. The player is given access to over 13 realistically rendered weapons, in three different skill levels and five different game modes. Termite Games' new DVA engine, provides accurate effects that make the game that much more realistic.
At first glance New World Order looked quite impressive, like it could Counter-Strike a run for its money. The articulate weapon and player models, along with the diverse game modes, made the quite appealing to any fan of the first person shooter genre.
The install was a hefty 1.5 gigabytes, so naturally even with a 48x cd-rom, it took a while to install. Once the install was complete, it was time to give the game a shot. Configuration of the game was easy enough; controls were standard, w, s, a, d, to move around. There was quite a range in the available video settings, which was nice to see, as the game requires a minimum 1 GHz processor, which means it probably won't run well on at least a 1.5 GHz processor with a relatively nice video card (i.e. GeForce 3, Radeon 8500 and up). Once everything was setup, it was time to try out the tutorial, which was simply the first mission in the single player campaign.
The game starts out in a large warehouse area, divided into makeshift rooms for training. Like Counter-Strike the player must purchase his/her weapons and ammunition via the weapon menu; the default key bound to this is ‘n’. Once the weapons are purchased, the player has only one direction to move in. Once in the next room, an alarm is triggered and a siren sounds, followed by an explosion and the entrance of two armed terrorists into the warehouse. The tutorial from this point on is basically, systematically seeking out the remaining terrorists and disposing of them.
It is possible to pick up weapons off the dead terrorists, but like in real life, the player can only carry so many weapons. In the case of this game, the player can carry, one rifle/sub-machine gun/shotgun, 2-3 pistols, and 4-6 grenades. Although, lacking in different grenade types, the game is blessed with an arsenal of over 15 different weapons. All expertly crafted, to resemble their real life counterparts. Each weapon has its own preset recoil, making the higher powered rifles harder to use, just like in real life. The realism involved in the weapon physics was quite impressive.
Enemy AI in this game was ridiculously poor for a game with so much potential. The AI in Quake III bots is better than the AI in New World Order; the terrorists will merely attack their target head on, rarely taking cover behind nearby objects. The AI will reload while standing right in front of the player, making them a pretty easy target even for the most amateur of gamers. As technology progresses, in today’s world it is crucial to utilize it, and Termite Games failed to do that, producing a very disappointing AI system that truly hurt the game. To take a page out of nFusion Interactive’s book on AI and design New World Order AI system more like that used in Line of Sight: Vietnam would have been beneficial to the success of this game.
The DVA engine was an interesting piece of technology, adding detailed particle effects to the walls, floors and other inanimate objects. When shot, each surface produced a different effect and sound. For instance when a bullet hits dry wall, the impact point turns to dust and falls to the floor leaving a whole in the once perfect wall. Glass and steel experience the same effects. When shot, glass cracks while the point of impact breaks into smaller beads of broken glass. Steel, when shot sparks and dents in to the point where the bullet struck. Strategy First has a real winner here with their particle engine; a few touch ups here and there and it would be perfect.
The game’s demanding requirements are caused mainly by its crisp, detailed graphics. The visuals in the game have an almost revised Swat 3 look to them. The environments are blessed with amazingly modeled objects like phones, plants, benches and street lights. The weapon models are perfect down to the last screw, and the character models are expertly crafted, to provide, a realistic yet arcade-like experience. Unfortunately, in order to truly enjoy this game, the player must be using a relatively powerful computer.
A huge disappointment was with the video options. At first glance they looked great because there were so many different settings for various video modes. After a few hours of experimentation, it was learned that the difference between the highest detail levels and the lowest was barely noticeable. When the frame rate counter was on, the difference between the highest and lowest detail levels was 10 frames per second at the most which was quite discouraging. In a game like New World Order, which is designed for the game play more than the crisp visuals, the user should be able to dramatically reduce texture quality in order to achieve optimal performance. That is what made Quake III so good; the user could reduce texture detail to simple blurred surfaces in order to achieve optimal gaming frame rates. In today’s gaming industry, almost any gamer will say that he/she cannot play a first person shooter with less than 30 frames per second. New World Order on a system slower than 1.7 GHz will run well below 30 frames per second during gun battles.
The sounds in this game were quite impressive, making for quite an intense experience. Utilization of both bass and treble frequencies in the weapon sounds made for a perfect sound setup. It was quite the surprise when walking down a corridor and three silenced shots struck the steel door directly behind Dobbs. A deep thud sounded for each shot, turning around with his M4, quickly squeezing the trigger. Three bullets struck the terrorist in the chest sending him to his knees in fatal convulsions. The whole event went un-noticed by his terrorist friends as both men used silenced weapons. It was neat events like this that made New World Order the unique experience that it is.
This game, although supported by a nice single player campaign, was designed to be an online team based tactical shooter, and that is exactly what it is. With over five possible game modes ranging from hostage rescue to fallout, the multiplayer experience is by far the highlight of this game. The online gameplay outdoes that of rival Counter-Strike dramatically. Unfortunately, the gameplay only outdoes that of Counter-Strike, if the user has a high-end system, which not everyone does. It is Counter-Strikes ability to be played and enjoyed on systems as old as the Pentium 2 processors that make it so great. New World Order is designed for new age PC’s and is a little ahead of its time for a multiplayer game. Developers have to realize, that in order to maximize the pleasure that gamers get out of games, they must make them playable on economy PC’s.
At first, New World Order looked like it was going to fall through the cracks as another cheap Counter-Strike rip off, but it managed to pull through. Aside from the weak AI and the odd graphical issue, the game was very impressive both visually and from a gameplay perspective. Since it’s designed for higher end systems, it is for a more exclusive gamer that can afford a nice gaming rig. This hurt the game, because if it ran smoothly on today’s economy PC’s it would have had so much more potential as a multiplayer game. It looks like the reigning champ in tactical shooters is still Counter-Strike; until the next time.
Score: 8 / 10
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