Comanche: Maximum Overkill
|a game by||NovaLogic|
|User Rating:||4.0/10 - 1 vote|
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While NovaLogic have had the good sense to set their latest war game some 50 years into the future (with a European war under way, a modern-day setting could have proven politically incorrect), there might be those who question their unfaltering reliance on voxel-based graphics to power their games. Their previous offering, Delta Force, showed that the technology does have merits in terms of providing low-spec gamers with lush-looking real-world environments, but it also highlighted the pixelated shambles that resulted when viewing objects close up.
Undeterred, NovaLogic have greatly enhanced their Voxel space' routines and put them back to work here in Maximum Overkill. In terms of gameplay, comparisons with Wargasm are as inevitable as they are accurate. We're promised a fast-paced first-person action game, with lashings of battle strategy and command tactics thrown in for good measure. With ten futuristic weapons of war at your disposal (varying from lumbering but powerful tanks to lightweight attack helicopters), there's a careful line to be drawn between reckless all-out attack and the more reasoned longterm approach of protecting your resources in order to consolidate and then strengthen your position.
Escaping from the indoor claustrophobia which restricts most first-person shooters, Maximum Overkill gives a real sense of freedom to roam, while attempting to banish those voxel-based prejudices. What's difficult to appreciate from the static screenshots above is the sheer open-ended vastness of the play area, and the beautiful way that voxels depict the war-torn landscapes. Cleverly, it's not just artillery and infrastructure that are destructible - natural environs deteriorate through the ravages of war too, because you find yourself blasting away hillsides and other geographical obstructions that camouflage bases and equipment. There should be plenty to occupy the single player across the 40 land and air-based missions.
NovaLogic are also pushing the multiplayer side of things. Via Novaworld, their own large-scale online gaming service, up to 32 players can fight private little wars of their own, either solo against all the other factions, or allied with other gamers for a more evenly balanced fracas.
The multiplayer modes will include traditional 'last man standing' deathmatches, plus the more cerebral challenge of'capture the flag' and 'king of the hill' scenarios where acceptable losses have to be weighed against strategic gains.
The game also offers the intriguing prospect of 'generals' being able to verbally abuse each other online and in real time (providing you've got the necessary microphone), which means war heroes can literally add insult to in-game injury by shouting obscenities as they slaughter the opposition.
Work on Maximum Overkill continues apace, with the game currently heading for a July release. This still gives NovaLogic time to wave the white flag and add 3D card support (which is being considered), without which blinkered voxel haters may decide it's a war that may not be worth fighting.