Resurrecting a PC expansion pack from early 2004 and flogging it as a full PS2 game tells you everything you need to know about the horrifically dated Team Sabre. An impressive 32-player online mode has been bunged in to give the impression of value, but we defy anyone to find more than a handful of similarly gullible gamers who've parted with their cash.
Believe us, this feels like a cynical money-making exercise on a par with the dire PS2 version of Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter. The 11-mission campaign is actually split into two separate scenarios, the only thing in common being their snooze-worthy plots. In the first you skulk around Columbian jungles in pursuit of a drug smuggler (yawn), and in the second you go after an Iranian rebel who has seized control of most of the country's oil (zzzz). They're lazy stereotypes that weren't even acceptable when the game was first made nearly three years ago.
Even dismounting the politically correct high horse doesn't improve Team Sabre. It's supposed to be a squad-based game, but the commands are perfunctory at best and you can get away with completing missions without much help. The only time you'll call on team-mates is to demand a medi-kit or some extra ammo, and you certainly won't be racked with guilt if one or two of them snuff it along the way.
Missions frequently play out something like this: you run through nondescript jungle or desert until an attack is triggered, or you come across a fortified position held by three or four enemies. You take up cover and pick them off one at a time using the scope on your gun. Once they're dead, you keep going along the linear route until the next attack happens or fortified position is located. Sniping plays such a big part that it feels like you're involved in a game of 'spot the moving pixel' instead of a squad-based shooter.
There's little deviation from this formula other than a couple of token vehicle sections when you're shooting at enemies from the back of a truck or a boat. Some attempt has been made to inject some urgency by having your team-mates call out the positions of enemies, snipers and .50 cal machinegun emplacements, but their repetitive phrases and pathetic shouts of "Byebye, bad guy" after almost every kill only start to grind. There's none of the intensity of the movie from where the game takes its name.
There's a two-player co-op campaign, which at least throws in more enemies and occasionally forces you into working together and using - gasp! - actual tactics. The 32-player online mode and its seven varied games are wasted in such a below-average game, though credit where it's due for making the effort. The four-player split-screen mode includes the same games and options, but trying to see what's going on in your quarter of the screen amid the low-res graphics only makes your eyes water.
Such a cynical cash-in on the Black Hawk Down moniker means there's little here to recommend. It looks and plays like a rubbish PC game from 1992 and no amount of multiplayer modes can change that.
Looks and plays like it was knocked up in five minutes, and never rises above 'slightly poo'.
- Lots of multiplayer options
- Shield your eyes from its ugliness
- Nothing to do but snipe
- Squad commands are superfluous