The Outfit is a game you can’t just push into a corner. Not only because the three main characters would probably give you a major asskicking but also because THQ wanted to melt together elements from strategy and action games in one explosive whole. The result is without a doubt explosive, but whether it’s a whole is a totally different story.
The idea is simple: you get three tough soldiers (Tommy, Deuce and J.D. Tyler), each with their own story and weak and tough spots on buying power, endurance, speed and health. They’re not so different (put Duke Nukem in a soldier suit during WW2 and you’ve got a good description of all three of them) and their mission remains exactly the same; shoot everything that comes in your way including every building, vehicle butterflower, hill and electricity cabinet, but most of all those damned Germans,
Political correctness is completely absent and personally I found the hard and realistic tone to cruse a bit with the graphical display and gameplay. This is not a major point however, as all in all the storyline is only an excuse to set you on your way to a following part of destruction on your XBox360. In total there are 12 missions in which you get to choose your character each time.
The levels are simple and extremely linear, something you’ll notice immediately and will hang over the gamefun as a dark cloud all the time. This kind of games urges for more freedom, something that becomes clear in the multiplayer. In the singleplayer you’ll have to go from hotspot to hotspot, mostly through clearly shown paths. Some side-missions bring some variation and exploration (and of course the unlocking of the X360 achievements) and for the collectors amongst us; additional replayability to find everything.
Now and then you also have to conquer certain points (radio tower, weapons depot, …) which later on serves as spawnpoint and which will give you access to more stuff you can order (see below). You’ll die more than once, but thanks to these savepoints this isn’t all that bad and this way you won’t get stuck either.
Next to your own character you can also stear a team of four soldiers and give some simple commands. They react as they should, but don’t expect a lot more than some 3D models that give you backup or are used to catch flying bullets.
Luckily you can replenish these guys with one push on the Y-button if they were to die. Through the Field Units (some credit you can earn by killing and conquering all kinds of stuff) you can quickly order new colleagues, tanks, anti-tank weaponry, machinegun nests and bombardments that literally fall from the sky seconds later. Counting the fact that your amount of FU’s is limited and you often have to decide where and when to buy something, this adds a welcome part of strategy to the gameplay.
Very unfortunate, however, is that despite this variation (driving vehicles, shooting yourself, drive jeeps or tanks, shoot down planes, …) the frustration level went sky-high inside me very quickly. The controls of the vehicles is in one word terrible, shooting is kinda mushy, and aiming is more a matter of luck than of skill. You never know when you’ve hit something and when you haven’t (and the way this is determined is plain bad) and often there are objects in the way that shouldn’t be thee. The hitboxes are plain bad and spoil A LOT of the inherent fun.
Luckily the multiplayer does make up a bit. The classic deathmatch is present just like the mode where you have to conquer certain points. Also co-op which always delivers some fun hours in the living room is available. Thanks to the good maps and the fact that the game immediately becomes a lot more fun thanks to the brains of the human opponents, The Outfit gets a lot more enjoyable than during the singleplayer campaign.
Graphically, The Outfit disappoints a bit to be honest. The animations are a bit woody, textures never impress and the overall presentation is less sharp than you would like. Luckily (and probably the underlying reason for the lesser graphics) this is made up by the interaction. You can blow up a lot, not to say everything (trees, walls, buildings, …) with the necessary eye candy and accompanying explosions. Overall we’re a bit spoilt with the Xbox360 so all in all the graphics are still quite good when taking into account that a lot of resources are being used for the interaction and possilities for destruction.
The Outfit promised a lot and most definitely has its strengths, but the combination of different genres clearly falls on its ass in the end. In the singleplayer campaign boredom strikes quickly due to the linearity and repetition of the missions. The terrible vehicle controls and bad aiming add some frustration to that also. I’m certain that multiplayer fans and people who like simple games with a lot of action and a sniff of strategy will like this, but for me it’s disappointing.