History tells us that at the end of World War II a group of exiled Nazis formed the catchily named Organisation Der Ehemaligen SS-Angehrigen (Odessa). Its purpose was to fund and plan an elaborate escape bid from prosecution. This band of powerful, intelligent, and influential men disappeared into the jungles and villages of South America, never to be seen again. History also tells us that for some time after WWII, Odessa was still operable. What it doesn't tell us, however, is whether today, 60 years after the end of the second global conflict, Odessa still exists. Perhaps, even after all these years, the tendrils of Odessa are creeping out across the globe again? The Conflict team certainly seem to think so.
With volatile countries being de-stabilised by random acts of terrorism, the Conflict team are inserted into some of the world's most hostile environments to bring Odessa to task. Whereas every other Conflict game may have alluded to the fact it was somehow based on fact, Global Terror throws off those shackles and really goes to town. It's taken three previous Conflict titles to get here, and this one, we're assured, will be the mother lode.
"When you consider the lessons Pivotal has learned with all three previous games, it's little wonder they're where they are at the moment with this one," publisher SCi tells us. "Each title has built upon what went before, everything has been redefined, tweaked and modified until you see what you see now."
Precisely what it is we're seeing is almost certainly from the best-selling Conflict stable. Bradley, Foley, Connors and Jones are all back, as are the instinctive combat commands, weapons, and locales, but as Casper Field, Global Terror's producer explains, it's under the hood that the greatest changes have been made.
"The greatest single change we've made to Conflict since you last saw it is to the AI," he tells us, before kicking off the Sarin Factory mission. A few months ago, when we first saw Global Terror up and running, the Sarin Factory was a little like shooting terrorists in a barrel.
"The terrorists did what we called the 'conga of death' last time we showed off the code," Field says. "They just kept piling out of doorways into the line of fire. It's just not something anyone in their right mind would do." Now, with a few months tucked under its belt, and still a good few months of pure tweaking left to implement, developer Pivotal shows us how 'Terrorist Mark 2' thinks. We begin storming the factory, and we're quickly spotted. Rather than ducking for cover then sporadically peeking out for a spray of fire, the enemies now do something quite unnerving. They hide and stay hidden. If we get too close, they'll move out of sight again, eventually seeking to flank us. If we approach someone hiding behind a pillar, they'll shimmy around it in order to be as far from us at all times as possible. They, like us, have no desire to die, balanced only with the desire to kill. This makes them ferocious and formidable opponents, quite unlike any we've seen before in the Conflict world. Even tossing a grenade into their ranks won't necessarily mean a guaranteed kill this time either. They'll dive for cover, or in some instances make quite extraordinary life-preserving decisions. "If you throw a grenade up to an enemy on a balcony and he has nowhere to go, he'll act as any of us would - he'll jump," Field says. "It may be a fatal fall, or he might do himself irreparable damage, but it's human nature to make rash, instinctive choices in those situations." Regardless of human nature, it's also damned cool to watch.