Hour Of Victory
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I Like To think that somewhere atop Game Design HQ there's a big tombola left over from a 70s BBC game show, and when they need a title for the latest copy-and-paste World War II shooty bang-bang game, they give it a spin and pull random wartime-inspired words out of the box.
Wup-wup-wup-wup, round it goes, and the first word is... 'HEROES!' Wup-wup-wup, spin the box... ooh, it's... 'COURAGE!' And there you have it - the challenge to the development team is then to head off into darkened rooms and make something vaguely interesting out of the title 'Heroes of Courage'. Or maybe Courage of Heroes' if they're feeling particularly out there.
Hour of Victory is, presumably, the byproduct of just such a contraption, the same demonic device that gave us Medal of Honor and Call of Duty.
The simple tragedy here is that unlike those fine games, Hour of Victory is every bit as uninspired as the drab title suggests. Game Design HQ also presumably contains some sort of checklist that all World War II shooters are obliged to conform to. Shooting down planes from a gun emplacement? Check! Driving a tank for a bit? Check! A bit where you go up in a cable car to a Nazi castle? Check! Helmets that ping off improbably when struck by a bullet? Check!
Hour of Victory has one not-at-all unique twist in that you have the opportunity to select which of three bland stereotypes you'd like to play for each mission. There's the Scottish commando who likes shooting, the sniper who also likes shooting, but from a distance, and the sneaky stealth guy, who prefers to sneak around a bit before giving up when he realises the game engine's not built for stealth gameplay and actually the war would probably be over an awful lot quicker if he joined in and did a little bit of shooting too.
All in all. this tired little addition to the game is an outright disaster. Instead of giving you a free-roaming path through a level and objectives that match each soldier's unique skills, all it really means is that the commando can push things out of the way, the sneaky man can pick locks, and the sniper - being the highly-trained, best-of-the-best, special operative of the three - can climb ropes.
As such, any potentially clever and interesting situations that might arise from you playing as one character rather than the other are immediately cast aside, and the solution simply involves walking round the comer to find a different thing to push, lock to pick or rope to climb in order to progress.
From here, things go from bad to worse. I've seen Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade enough times to know that Nazis are pretty damned stupid, but Hour of Victory's Nazis take the Iron Cross for Stupidest Nazis Ever. They just sort of bob around and occasionally duck behind things, hoping that if they ignore you you'll go away, and then acting all shocked when you saunter up to them and clobber them round the chops with your rifle.
Speaking of which, the code that works out whether you're close enough to a baddy to clobber them instead of shooting is completely broken. As such, the two of you can be on opposite sides of a crate, and, while he's shooting you in the face with his machine gun, you're forced to stand there wildly swinging your arms in an attempt to knock him out even though you're fully six feet away.
In fact the whole thing is pretty buggy. Tanks disappear inches from your astonished face, guns hang about in mid-air and NPCs shout Follow me! before sprinting merrily into the nearest wall, looking perplexed and then disappearing from view entirely.
Kill Me Now
Frankly, Hour of Victory is out-and-out the worst shooter I've played in years. For all its Xbox-isms and trendy bloom effects it never really feels much of a step up from Return to Castle Wolfenstein in terms of visuals, and the original Wolfenstein 3D in terms of gameplay.
The game has an impossibly horrible and staggered plot that makes no sense whatsoever and ties none of the missions together at all. The 'heroes' are all bitterly unlikeable pricks. The gameplay is tattered, broken and excruciatingly boring. In fact, there are just too many horrible things going on in Hour of Victory to sum up in a single magazine, let alone two pages. Put succinctly: the mere thought of booting up Hour of Victory ever again is making my balls hurt.
Where eejits dare
Old duffer scared by inanimate objects shocker!
At one point, you have to rescue some loathsome scientist who's stuck in that castle from Where Eagles Dare. He's a useless old codger, his poor Al essentially turning him into an unwitting parody of Indy's dad. He's inadvertently hilarious, and all-in-all the best thing in the game. The batty old goon kept going on about what a brave, handsome and talented soldier I was while shooting at suits of armour as though they were coming to get him, before running away and shouting 'Help me!'. Amazing.
Download Hour Of Victory
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP