- Developer: Third Wave Games
- Publisher: Ubisoft
- Cost: 800 Microsoft Points
- In Real Money: GBP 6.80 / EUR 9.60
This third-person multiplayer shooter, originally released for the PC back in 2005, has the distinction of being one of the better looking Live Arcade titles. At least, it does if your definition of "better looking" is "lots of things that are big and shiny".
The big shiny things are battle mechs, doomed to kill each other to pieces for eternity, presumably because they live somewhere called War World. The fact that the first thing I can find to say about them is that they look nice should probably tip you off to the game's fatal weakness. Beyond making for impressive screenshots, there's not much else to recommend. Robots get lodged behind scenery - and you really have to witness a giant mech being stymied by a tiny bush to believe it - while the frame rate is jittery.
In fact, it doesn't take long for the game to unravel quite badly, even if the basic package seems reasonable enough. Your 800 Microsoft Points get you eight maps and four game modes. Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and Bomb Assault are your options for online fun, while solitary offline players get an Arcade mode made up of 100 levels filled with increasing numbers of enemy bots. It's rather bizarre, then, that all the Achievements are for completing these offline levels rather than excelling at the online multiplayer.
That's just the beginning of a fairly substantial list of peculiar design decisions though, so let's get started. For a start, there's no tutorial which means you'll be working out most of the details for yourself. The arenas are littered with items, but as none of them are labelled and the game doesn't tell you what you just picked up, you'll have to go through a lot of trial and error to work out which ammo refills which weapon.
And while we're on the subject of weapons, although the control map shows you buttons for missiles, mines and other exciting things, you can only actually use these if you choose a mech with them fitted as standard. The game doesn't tell you this either, so your first matches will probably be spent wondering why half the buttons don't work. There's no way of picking up new weapons in the field, nor can you design your own mech as in the PC version. Oh, and you have no close quarters melee attack, and a host of other basic shooter functions - such as a sniper being able to zoom their view - are absent.
So what seems like a very impressive budget-priced deathmatch swiftly reveals itself to be all surface glitter with no gameplay depth. If you're a fan of online multiplayer slaughter, then it's a safe bet that you've already got plenty of games that do the same thing as War World, and do it a lot better.
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