Sometimes, even under the best of efforts and intentions, a game will fall flat. Even with new innovations and claims to realistic combat, this is all fraught with many in game problems that are too much to ignore. In this game, you play out the role of our armed forces fighting battles that have been recently fought in the Middle East. Yes, that much of the game is true. Actually playing the game however, is where KumaWar falls from grace like a rock. Why does it fall from grace might you ask? Lets find out.
KumaWar didn’t exactly receive a pleasant welcome from the community when it was released back in March. After the first 10 minuets of gameplay, I could see what those reviewers where griping about. Normally, I am not so negative, and I usually wait a few hours before I pass judgment. However, my initial thoughts after the first 10 minuets pretty much sums up what the rest of the game was like. To kick things off, I am going to go into detail about those first minutes in the game and you will quickly see what I am talking about.
After loading the game, registering, and updating, I am in the mission list screen. As of press time, there were 27 missions to choose from. I decide to just play the first mission since I don’t have to wait on the download, and off I go. The first thing that I noticed was that the graphics is very bland. Only the character models were actually worth looking at. The environment itself was just very plain. I am talking about graphics that would be average at best two years or so ago. Even though the models do look good, the animation is still pretty blocky, kind of like the original The Sims.
Next thing on the list is the combat, and a few things stood out here. As I round the first corner, I found two enemies standing by a car down the street. One takes a pot shot at me, the other does God knows what behind the car. I run and duck for cover, and as I look back, I realize that my squad is standing in the middle of the road, spraying their rounds at the enemy while getting hit. I loose one teammate and watch as my sniper takes down the enemy after his 6th try. I change to the sniper and finish the enemy behind the car, who basically crouched and did nothing during the fight. Oh well, my teammates are stupid and blind, but I press on anyway.
I go down the street and round the corner through a gate. I see an enemy no more than a hundred feet away, but he hasn’t noticed me yet. Since I am back as my main gunner, I go to the prone and slip back behind the wall. I then try to peek around the corner to take a pot shot, and realize that I couldn’t lean. I look in the options menu to find the key, but alas, there isn’t one. Instead, I go back and expose myself and aim for the enemy square in the chest. I let my character settle in so I have the most accuracy and squeeze off a round.
I was amazed that I missed when I am so close. Fortunately, the enemy still didn’t notice me, so I let off another. I miss again. I am not talking about a moving target here folks, or one that I need binoculars at maximum zoom to get a glimpse of. I am talking about an average guy just standing there with a weapon, oblivious that he is getting shot at. I shoot a third time, and hit. Even set on realistic settings, a shot with an M16 into the chest of an unarmored person doesn’t down him. It takes addition 2 hits over a period of 4 shots to kill him. Let me put it in a simple way. It took seven shots to kill one man, since only three found their mark, from no more than 100 feet. Second, when the enemy actually figured out that he was getting shot at, he turned at me and started firing. He didn’t attempt to find cover or crouch or call reinforcement, just turned and let the bullets spray. Fortunately, his weapon’s accuracy is worse than mine, since he must have laid down about 15 rounds at me, all missed. Well, that was fun, lets move on.
I stand up and walk forward a few feet, and notice another enemy about 3 feet away to my left, and crouching behind a box. He sees me and starts shooting....into the box. I stop and stare at him, just to see if he will hit me. After 3 volleys, he is still shooting the wood. I let a round off into his head, and he dies instantly. At least something has been done right. The only thing that I wonder about is where was he when I was shooting up his buddy? On second thought, where were my buddies when I was under fire? Oh well, I move on.
I enter a house that is nearby to clear it out. As I enter, I notice that only my sniper followed. I look back and see that my other squad mate is hung up at the gate. I give the order to follow me, and they don’t move. I then manually change to each of them and move them to my location. I then go back to the lead guy and enter the building. With no enemies, I leave the building and search for more enemies. As I get into a few firefights and take enemies down, I notice my squad hasn’t been firing. When I look around, my squad isn’t with me. I then double back, ordering follow me all the way, and then I finally find them. They are both in the first building I entered, one staring at the wall while my sniper stares at a plant. Again, I manually change to each of them to get them out of the building, switch to my lead guy, and continue. When I round the second corner, my sniper stops to stare at the wall. I manually change to him again to get him to rejoin the group. When I round the third corner, an enemy sniper kills my teammates and me almost instantly. At this point, I realize 10 min. have passed, at my frustration limit has hit the roof. I save and exit.
I would like to say that this is the case in just one mission, or maybe just the early missions that were released back in March. No, this is not the case. The scenery is still bland and blocky, the animation is robotic, the AI can be substituted for a rock, and the accuracy of anything except the sniper rifle is pathetic. If you have read this far, you are probably wondering why I rated this game up in the forties since it the gameplay sounds pretty pathetic. Don’t get me wrong, it is, but after I cooled down, I got to take a look at the other things that KumaWar delivers.
For the exception of the gameplay and the bland environments, everything else is done pretty well. You are thrown a wealth of information for you to read, from weapon information to news coverage to a lengthy video briefing that you can watch for every mission. All of this is done with such professionalism that it makes you wonder where why wasn’t such talent and attention to detail used for the actual game itself? I love reading about Saddam’s sons getting killed in battle, but I can go to CNN and do that.
Also, I have to admit the sound isn’t too shabby. Everything sounds nice and clear, but don’t expect much more than sound effects from your weapons. There isn’t a whole lot of variety of sound ingame, but the video presentations before missions are done very well audio wise.
The last thing I will touch base on is the multiplayer, or lack of it. I am not saying Kuma/War doesn’t come with multiplayer, I am saying that there is hardly anyone playing. As of press time, I only found three servers running, with maybe 5 people total playing. I entered a cooperative match, and it wasn’t too bad. Without the nagging friendly AI that needs to be babysat gone, it started to become enjoyable. At least for a little while I forgot that the enemy AI is horrendous and it either slaughters you or suicide charges you. If you are going to play this game at all, you have got to go multiplayer to get any money’s worth. That said, it still isn’t the greatest, and there are many other games out there that are better than this that you could be playing instead.
To wrap it all up, I do not recommend this game. Only if you really want to try it, just for giggles, take advantage of the free seven days and give it a shot. You will see what I am talking about. The game has been out for many months, and the same problems from the original release are still prevalent today. The multiplayer is the gameplay’s only saving grace, and that is because it eliminates the friendly AI. The other problems still exist. If you can stand the graphics, the AI, and weapon physics, this game will be tolerable for you. For the rest of you, I strongly encourage you to look elsewhere.
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