Boiling Point: Road to Hell
Ever fantasized on how GTA would look if you would put the game in the setting of Far Cry? Maybe you also added some Deus Ex elements to get the ultimate freedom in gameplay? If you’ve said yes to the questions above, you’ve had the same idea as developer Deep Shadows and publisher Atari as they’ve created Boiling Point: Road to Hell on pc.
The makers take you to a South-American country like in Far Cry, with cities, camps, suspicious plants, villages and of course military bases surrounded by palm trees and tropical bush. Contrary to the FPS topgame, everything isn’t shown in great beauty on an average system but that shouldn’t surprise you when looking at the scale of the surroundings.
What you can expect are graphics that exceed those of GTA although they’re not as varied as the well of inspiration of this game. Proud owners of high-end systems will be better capable of enjoying the immensely huge land that is displayed without loading times but even they will be confronted with slowdowns, lag (if you can call it that in an offline game) and breaks.
The GTA-inspiration can be found in the fact that you get quite a lot of vehicles at your disposal. Jeeps, oldtimers, a helicopter and planes, boats, … plenty of choice (although it isn’t possible to steal all vehicles all the time) and the same can be said for your weapons arsenal that offers the classic toys: machine guns, pistols, sniper rifles, grenade launchers and even a SAM. Too bad the makers haven’t hidden many secrets and easter eggs like Rockstar did in San Andreas (like Hot Coffee? ed.)
All this nice gear of course is meant for a higher goal, what we tend to call gameplay. As Saul Meyers, former military, you can go looking for your daughter Lisa in Realia. From Puerty Somba you start your quest but soon it becomes clear that in exchange for that well-meant attitude, you’ll have to do some lesser legal missions. Both the CIA, guerilla fighters, local inhabitants, members of the mob or government officials all are dying to give you missions so that you can progress a bit further in the story. You’ll have to dig deep in your pockets for information on your lost teenager. And filling those pockets is done by successfully ending missions.
An additional consequence of your driving around, shooting and average day out is that certain factions will start disliking you while you’re doing others a favour. If you help a corrupted cop, the bandits will hold that against you. If you afterwards help the mob a bit, the government agents in their turn be less fond of you. This offers a nice piece of replayabiliy since you won’t be able to do all missions at once, but at the same time you have to look out that you don’t get the entire population on your neck because in that case you can say goodbye to quiet rides in your car.
Another downpoint are the controls. That the shooting isn’t completely perfect isn’t so bad seeing that we’re not talking about a hardcore-shooter. A lot more disturbing is that way you drive your vehicles. These controls are downright awful and although they improve later on in the game (thanks to better vehicles and the fact your personal RPG stats go up) it remains difficult and frustrating to evade trees and navigate safely on the small roads in the jungle.
Now that we’re complaining: also the way missions are being taken care of (often a decent reward lacks), explained and pointed, could use a bit more attention from the designers. The same can also be said from the inventory which is overly complicated. Positive thing from the mission structure is the large variation of it. You can take on any mission in different ways which will appeal to both the more sneaky persons as the Rambo’s amongst us.
Before letting the conclusion loose on you I would like to say something abuot the sound. That aspect obviously was seen as a “nice to have” part as it’s outright bad. Not only because it’s extremely repetitive and the dialogues are hardly understandable, but also because the sound effects are of low quality with the sounds of the vehicles as biggest downpoint.
I don’t want to go deep on the amount of bugs and flaws in the game seeing that it’s easy to say it simple: there are many and they often result in you getting stuck, the game crashing, or your frustration level rising sky-high. Putting a game on the market like that is just stupid and Atari would have done better by waiting a little longer. Still, some patches have by now done their very necessary work.
Boiling Point: Road to Hell is best to be compared with the banana republic it wants to put on your pc; you have to live with a lot of organisational discomforts but you get a lot of adventures and surprises in return. Overall, the concept of the game, added with the freedom and large surroundings, can be named successfull. Also the variation in the missions is a strong point. Unfortunately, it’s so ambitious and extensive that it’s filled with bugs and flaws. The biggest of those luckily have been fixed with the latest updates but still you’ll encounter strange things that ruin the fun. With the 2.0 patch that currently still needs to go through the Russian translation, this game may well become a lot more enjoyable, but that remains to be seen. For those that aren’t afraid of a couple of bugs and are looking for an innovative shooter, the positive sides of the game are worth a trip to the store.