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Game Over Online ~ Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3

GameOver Game Reviews - Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 (c) Capcom, Reviewed by - Thomas Wilde

Game & Publisher Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 (c) Capcom
System Requirements PlayStation 3
Overall Rating 60%
Date Published Thursday, August 14th, 2008 at 04:23 PM

Divider Left By: Thomas Wilde Divider Right

Wolf of the Battlefield comes with the option of playing the beta of the upcoming Super Street Fighter II: HD Remix. Generally, when you pair a game with a completely unrelated demo like this, it's to shore up the chance that the game will actually see some sales. You saw it, for example, when Konami packaged a Metal Gear Solid 2 demo with Zone of the Enders, thus guaranteeing that certain particularly fanatic gamers would purchase the latter simply because of the former.

This isn't necessarily indicative of a lack of quality, but it's a warning sign. In Wolf of the Battlefield's case, it should serve as a giant blaring red light. It has excellent production values and is clearly the product of a bunch of talented people who knew what they were doing, but it has a major technical flaw that keeps me from being able to recommend it.

In short, Wolf is a sort of watered-down bullet hell shooter, the natural evolution of games like Jackal on the NES. It's accessible twitch gaming, which starts off as challenging and rapidly turns up the gain. There's a storyline that's readily ignorable, and serves only as a thin veneer of justification for increasing amounts of gunfire. There are bad people; you are ostensibly good; perhaps you should shoot the bad people before they do so to you. There's your damned story!

Commando 3 gives you access to multiple vehicles, in addition to a limited stock of grenades, infinite ammo, and a small stock of M. Crashes, which destroy all enemies onscreen and damage bosses for "free." Killing multiple enemies without getting hit racks up a score multiplier, enabling you to crank up the gain and amass thousands of points with a little bit of skill and practice.

The controls are sharp, the graphics are clear, and the visual aesthetic--a sort of "Samurai Jack" thing--is eye-catching. There's only one thing wrong with Commando 3, and it's a big deal.

From the screenshots attached to the review, you may get the idea that the game gives you a lot of real estate to work within, and for the most part, that's true. You do occasionally wind up in cramped quarters, but that's part of the genre.

For whatever reason, though, take those screenshots and block off the edges of each with a nice thick black line. That line represents the limits of your available firepower. For whatever reason, your bullets instantly vanish well before they reach the edge of the screen. You are effectively hamstrung, unable to defeat incoming enemies before they get a chance to take free shots at you.

As a direct result, Commando 3 is a game that's all about sudden cheap hits. You get whittled down constantly by bullets you cannot prevent, and it doesn't help that to throw a grenade, you have to temporarily stand still. Enemies frequently hang out just at the edge of your bullets' range and take pot shots at you, and their bullets don't share that artificial constraint. You're constantly dodging and weaving to avoid enemies you cannot yet dispatch.

Granted, destroying an enemy before it even reaches your field of vision is an old shooter trick that often breaks gameplay. Commando 3 would be legitimately challenging even with that, though, considering the waves of enemies and constantly changing environments it throws at you. By employing a bizarre range limitation to artificially enhance its difficulty, though, it means the game, if you'll forgive the alarmingly twee turn of phrase, shoots itself in the foot.


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