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PC Reviews: Ironstorm


Ironstorm Screenshots

The Final Say!


Ironstorm - reviewed by Andrew B
Review Date: 12 December 2002
Review Score: 9.0/10
Distributed by Take 2 Interactive

Imagine being in a world where the first world war never ended and that Russia remained one of the world's most dominant super powers. The year is 1964, almost fifty years after the first shots of World War I were fired and the world is now a barren and desolate place that has been scarred by war. 

You play the role of Lieutenant James Anderson, a war orphan that was born in 1924 and volunteered to join the American military at the age of 19. Over the years, you have become a legend, your prowess in battle is known by the Allies and feared by the Russo-Mongolians. Your job is simple, follow orders and use whatever means available to fulfil those orders and kill as many Russo-Mongolians on the way as possible... it couldn't be any simpler. 

Ironstorm is a return to the first person shooters of yesteryear, where a decent storyline is important and the multiplayer option wasn't the main focus of the game. In its essence, Ironstorm is a thinking man's first person shooter that is set in the apocalyptic backdrop of war torn Europe, where the first great war never ended.

Instead of governments ruling the people, large military style corporations now dictate the laws of the land and spend countless billions on the creation deadly weapons. The leader of Russo-Mongolian empire is called Baron Ugenberg and now controls nearly all of Asia and Europe with only the small military might of the Allies to put an end to his rein. 

The game starts with a beautiful CGI cinematic, almost on the same scale as Saving Private Ryan that shows a ravaged land and troops engaging in battle. As the troops are cut down by enemy fire from the bunker, a lone sniper manages to save his team mates and helps lead the way to victory. Although the introduction cinematic is quite spectacular, I was quite impressed that the movie was set at a resolution of 1024 by 768 for some amazing clarity, detail and more importantly a very high frame rate. 

Once the cinematic is over, you have a choice of gameplay modes that include Single Player and Multiplayer modes of play. When selecting the Single Player missions, you must select your difficulty level, ranging from easy to difficult and then your adventure begins. The main format of the game is a series of missions through war torn Europe, where you are briefed on your objectives before you start the game. There are also many subplots in the game that help tell the tale of Ironstorm.

The world of Ironstorm is a combination of browns, greys and blacks that helps portray this dark and dreary world of a place gone mad. The developers have done an extremely good job in recreating what the trenches of World War I would have been like, then add some futuristic and powerful weapons and you may have an alternate reality of what would have happened if World War I never ended. Although the weapons have the grunt and power of current military style weapons, they all have this early 1920's feel to it that really suits the game perfectly. The gameplay of Ironstorm is much the same as any other first person shooter on the market at the moment, where you must use a combination of the keyboard and mouse to move around the world ofIronstorm. 

The game can also be played either as a first person or third person view but die hard fans will always choose the first person view for realism and accuracy. Those that have a wheel mouse can use the wheel to scroll through the weapons available to them and these weapons range from powerful machine guns to the highly deadly and accurate sniper rifle. There's nothing more exhilarating then using the sniper rifle to take out enemy troops and the game does support a variety of different zoom levels to perfect the gameplay of this title. 4X Studios have a done a great job on the AI of enemy troops and actually have them performing basic strategy such as hiding and using different types of weaponry to hunt you down. Even enemy troops must reload their weapons every now and then which makes it great for when you wish to sniper enemy units. 

Graphically, the game contains some great special effects such as various lighting effects that actually interact with the gameplay. For instance, if the sun is shining in the wrong direction, it is extremely difficult to look in that direction and that goes the same for enemy troops. The backgrounds are quite impressive and look like something out of a World War II movie with trenches littered all over the place and hundreds of shattered buildings. The character models in the game, although not as clear and well defined as Medal of Honor are extremely well made and contain some great looking textures. The realistic animation of the character models in Ironstorm is perfected by their natural movements that include a wide variety of actions such as running, crawling, hiding and of course dying. The game levels in Ironstorm are huge and the loading times are kept to a bare minimum when loading new areas of the game. The game supports a variety of different resolutions and even starts in 1024x768x32 for those that own power PC's at home. The only drawback to the graphics is that every now and then, textures and polygons may clip into each other. 

The sound effects in Ironstorm contain all the explosions, gunfire and ambience of a World War II movie. Ironstorm has some great sounding ricochet effects when you are trying to make a dash to the next safest area in the game. All the voice acting has been professionally done in the game and really suit the characters perfectly.

I would recommend Ironstorm to those that enjoyed the Medal of Honor series or love a good first person shooter. Unfortunately the replay value of the game is quite limited but it does offer some great multiplayer options for either LAN or internet play. With great graphics and gameplay, you must check this game out!

- Andrew B

 Copyright 2002 www.impulsegamer.com