Hardware Online Arena
Genre Strategy -> Wargames
Today's Rank 0
Date N/A
Publisher N/A
Date 2003-11-07
When it comes to stress relief there's nothing better than climbing into a tank and blowing holes in someone you don't know. That being the case, Sony's Hardware: Online Arena should see blissfully contented gamers slumped in front of their TVs across the country. There's no real storyline here and no frills and sparkly bits to get in the way of the gameplay. A couple of button clicks, log into the online service and you're off, thundering around a half dozen combat zones with a vehicle selected from the tanks and armoured personnel carriers on offer. Online Arena is a very functional title, eschewing presentation in favour of what it does best, which is to present arcade-style blasting action without letting real-world physics get in the way of a good time. It has to be said that vehicle handling is straight out of the cartoons, with tanks developing the ability the race off of cliffs and buildings and soar through the air before bouncing like a space hopper when they finally touch bare earth--strange but oddly satisfying. It's possible to communicate with other players using a USB headset (not included), which adds massively to the playing experience and paves the way for creative taunting as you blast total strangers into little pieces. It also helps mask the ghastly in-game tunes that are horribly bland and totally dull. Graphically too, the game is very middle-of-the-road, managing neither to sparkle nor to totally let down. The vehicle models do their job, but there's not a lot you can see about eight trucks and tanks that are all decorated in camouflage colours. The game provides six modes including Death Match and King of the Hill modes, which should be enough to keep the dedicated warmonger happy for quite some time. Online Arena is distinctly average in many areas yet still manages to be incredibly good fun. --Chris Russell
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