Hour of Victory ReviewCain Dornan
Ill try and keep this review short and sweet. If Hour of Victory was to be described in a single sentence, it would be that its a game that fails to achieve anything that it sets out to, and that its lack of polish in its presentation, coupled by its flawed execution, results in a game that feels unfinished and broken. Simply put, Hour of Victory is one of the worst if not THE worst first person shooters to grace the Xbox 360 to date, tarnishing a good reputation that the console has so far held for the quality of its shooters.
The game consists of a medium length single player campaign that tries to deliver an engaging, changing storyline, but never gets anywhere near close to achieving this. Instead, it slaps you in the face with a blurry, often confusing series of events that are neither relevant to history, let alone tie together with the surrounding sequences that youll be involved in. The games story staggers from one stage to another, and youll never quite know what is actually going on, apart from being told to move here, kill all enemies, retrieve this or locate a particular person.
At times, the game tries to add some variation into the formula, such as one stage which has an emphasis on using stealth to sneak past the enemies as you try and infiltrate a large building through the underground sewers to locate and extract a hostage. Unfortunately, youll quickly tire of trying to battle controls and a game design that is clearly not suited for tactical stealth play, and youll end up storming through the passages with guns blazing.
The level designs are poor, restrictive and unimaginative, forcing you along a very strict pathway that feels too much like youre being led by the hand. Couple this with some bad design decisions, such as inappropriately placed objects that get in your way and cause you to get stuck behind, as well as doorways that are too small and can prove to be a real pain to get through in a hurry, its clear that more time should have been spent on the drawing board creating an environment that was more practical and effective for this experience.
Attempts at improving the lifespan and the options available to you have been made by allowing players to select from three different characters to play as prior to each mission. These characters include a commando, who is tough, bulky and willing to dive straight into a firefight, offering added strength that allows him to take more damage than the two other characters and the ability to move select moveable objects that are scattered throughout the game. Then theres the sniper soldier, a skilled marksman who can scale to high points in the levels by climbing ropes. Equipped with a scoped rifle, the sniper apparently offers better precision aiming than his counterparts, however, given the annoying and inaccurate controls, its still difficult to line up headshots. Finally, the last of the three characters is a sneaking SAS soldier who can pick locks, cut fences and sneak past enemies silently.
Each character offers their own strengths and weaknesses, although the added abilities that the sniper and SAS soldier are able to do are rarely helpful, making the commando a better choice due to his pure endurance.
The single player missions range from short, five minute affairs at the beginning of the game through to roughly ten minutes per mission at latter stages. Some stages offer a checkpoint half way through the mission, to help avoid the annoyance of playing back through an entire mission if you happen to die towards the end. While some attempt is made at making varied missions, as mentioned earlier, each mission ends up feeling bland and uninspired, largely due to the poor execution of the game which feels unpolished and commonly frustrating.
Given that the single player is horrible, one could only hope for a somewhat solid multiplayer serving. Apparently, such a wish is quickly trampled upon booting up the games online multiplayer offering, which is so broken that its almost unplayable. Matches almost always lag, the level designs are even more bland than its single player counterpart, the collision detection is unreliable, and the difficulty of aiming at a moving object is almost impossible. The multiplayer mode plays so badly that it is one of the worst weve soon so far on the Xbox 360, making us cringe at the thought of spending anymore than a few minutes with it. Add to this the severe lack of online players, and its unlikely youll be spending any time with the games multiplayer at all.
Youre already aware of the poor level designs, as well as the general ugliness of how they look. Character designs are no better, with dated character models and sluggish, unrealistic animation makes this game look like last-generation release. Sub par voice acting doesnt help either, as do budget sound effects that quickly become old.
If youre even considering spending any cash on Hour of Victory, we could clearly mark you down as insane. While we can see where the developer has attempted to produce a solid game, it fails on every level imaginable as its poor execution and ugly presentation make this a game to avoid on all levels. Currently selling as a full priced Xbox 360 release, there are plenty of other games that would be more worthy to be in your collection than this one.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.