War has a reputation for being all doom and gloom (I blame those bloody protesters and poets). Well done to THQ then, for putting the fun back into WWII. The golden days of Where Eagles Dare and The Dirty Dozen are making a glorious return down the Champs Elysées of videogaming.
The Outfit is a third-person shooter that sneakily crosses over into RTS territory. You
have three playable characters to choose between, have to create an anti-tank gun to destroy a tank around a corner or a machine-gun nest to wipe out some infantry. It would have been better if the levels had been a bit more open to tactical play. The majority of the time, you're just slogging through too many brainless shoot-'em-up sections.
Destroying enemy vehicles is spectacular enough, especially because of the Havok-powered debris flying everywhere. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for battling enemy infantry. The combat has been balanced so that certain types of weapon, such as machinegun nests or flame throwers, work best against ground troops. While this forces you to adapt to situations, there's still nothing more antagonising than shooting a soldier with a tank shell and watching him get back up! It can also take frustratingly long to kill certain enemies (especially the supposedly weaker ones).
We're also a little disappointed by how slow and unsatisfying it is to take out buildings. When they collapse, they just disappear into the ground in an extremely poor animation. It's strange because most of the game's animation is very good.
The Outfit's environments are fully destructible, and this is particularly important in multiplayer. If your enemies are taking cover behind a wall or building, you can just raze it to the ground with a rocket-launching tank. Multiplayer is easily the best part of the game because this time you're really forced to use DOD (Destruction on Demand) to gain a tactical advantage. There are two game modes, Deathmatch and Strategic Victory (where you score points for seizing objectives). You can also host a guest on your machine and play together on Xbox Live, split-screen or System Link with up to eight players.
Best of all though, it's also possible to enjoy two-player co-op on Xbox Live, split-screen and System Link. That includes all 12 levels from Campaign mode. More games should have this excellent feature.
Relic's game achieves so much, almost creating a new console genre, combining the shoot-'em-up with the RTS. While it fails slightly in not being tactical enough (at least in Campaign mode) or quite compelling or consistent enough as an action shooter, the range of game modes and levels on offer means you get plenty of bang for your buck.
The Outfit looks and plays with so much cheerful audacity that it's straight off the pages of GI Joe or one of those old British Commando comics. It's a title that you'll enjoy playing and deserves a great deal of credit for attempting something new. It sometimes misses the mark like a sneezing sniper, but at large even the Dambusters couldn't have hoped to be more on target.
DECORATED FOR SERVICES TO XBOX LIVE
- Xbox Live co-op play environments
- Loads of multiplayer modes
- Destruction on Demand is original
- A lot of repetition
- Weapons aren't satisfying enough