Faces of War
World War II games seem to still be on the rise as again we get one thrown in our lap. Does it meet our standards?
Faces of War is a tactical real-time shooter. This term may sound complicated but you can see it as a mix of the famous Commandos and the team-tactical feeling from Brothers in Arms. Don’t underestimate this game as the emphasys is mostly on the tactical part. Most of the levels you start with a select group of soldiers (three to four) and during playing you rarely get reinforcements. From a suitable place shooting at the enemy with your machine gun will proove more successful than going straight at them.
Controlling the units can be done in two ways with the first one being the most intuitive. You can send your troops to a new location with your mouse and then a silhouet will become visible that shows you in which direction they can fire. Don’t think too soon that you’re safe as a dughole will give more cover than a couple of crates. Next to that the interface also contains about 20 buttons to give your units more specific orders.
The second way is the so-called “Direct Control Mode” which is best suited for the vehicles. By holding the CTRL-button (of pressing “end” once) you take direct control over your units and movement gets done by the arrow keys while you aim with your mouse. This way is often a lot more precise than when you let the computer do its thing but despite the vast possibilities of control, the gameplay is rather with effort due to the badly worked out principle of squads.
The missions are divided into three storyline: Axis, Allieds and Russia. These contain seven missions each, accompanied by three tutorial levels. After finishiing these you immediately get thrown into the action; panic guaranteed!
The level buildup is varied and forces you to change strategy each time. Unfortunately all events are scripted which ties the freedom of the game.
If you’ve seen some screens from Faces of War you’ll agree with me when I say the game looks beautiful. Also the physics are alright as all debris will fall realistically from the rooftops. Unfortunately this beauty comes at a price as when there are too many moving particles the framerate dares to drop to a couple of frames per second… or even seconds per frame.
I would love to be able to say that this is a top game thanks to its graphics and strategic gameplay but I have to be strict. Random crashes, non-occuring triggers, dropping framerate and -oh no!- corrupt autosaves with more crashes as a result… Sorry but this game wasn’t ready for release. Hopefully a patch can save the bear’s skin as currently the animal is bleeding to death.