Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior
Ever Felt perplexed by mankind? Just not connecting with the human race? Well, you're not alone, because so do the Tau. But then they do have the excuse of being an Alien race in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. You, however, should get more fresh air and stop trying to smoke those banana skins.
The Tau may be a relatively new race in the Games Workshop/Warhammer 40K universe, but they're already the stars of their own computer game, Kuju's futuristic shooter Fire Warrior. The game sees you taking on the role of a Tau warrior, one of the races stuck in the middle of an intergalactic battle between two huge forces, the Imperium and the Tryanid.
Like most of its genre pals, Fire Warrior displays influences and features from a number of other hit FPSs. It employs a similar style of combat and defence as Halo, with shield generators and a maximum inventory of two weapons at any one time. Also, as executive producer James Brooksby explains, Fire Warrior dabbles in a bit of Medal Of Honor style atmosphere: The first level is a homage to the Omaha beach landing in Medal Of Honor. You come out the back of your dropship and all the other ships are being blown away in the sky. You run out, everyone is dying in front of you, and you realise something has gone very wrong with the mission. MoH was an inspiration for us in terms of gaming atmosphere.
Kuju has also drawn from the likes of Aliens Vs Predator for a slightly slower, scarier atmosphere in some of the levels, with the action and pace varying noticeably between fast battlefield action and more tense, isolated gameplay.
Rather unconventionally, all the events and 21 missions in Fire Warrior take place within a single 24 hour stretch. The day in question kicks off with you trying to rescue your captured Tau leader, The Ethereal Ko'Vash, captured by Imperium forces.
As you progress through the game, you're taken through grandiose spaceships based on architecture from the Warhammer 40K world - which James describes as 10 mile long cathedrals in space" - to the vast and labyrinthine Imperium prisons. Along the way you can wield a variety off suitably apocalyptic weapons such as the blast cannon and the pulse rifle, and meet 24 types of enemies and allies.
It's straight ahead, gung-ho shooter type stuff, but the developer promises a top-notch plot with a few twists and turns thrown in. And if that and the pedigree of the Warhammer world wasn't enough, there will be some quality voice acting from the likes of Brian Blessed, Sean Pertwee and Tom Baker.
Download Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior
Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior is an immersive first-person shooter that plunges you feet first into the world of constant war that is Warhammer, daring you to do anything but emerge the same way you entered ' feet first.
One thing that makes this latest Warhammer experience unique is that you're playing it from the wrong side - instead of taking on the role of a marine in the Imperium of Man, Fire Warrior has you playing out the role of a young Tau Warrior.
While the plot is initially confusing, thrusting you into the middle of a war that you know little about, it goes a long way in capturing the emotion and bewilderment of a young warrior out on his first foray. As your character grows in battle, so does your understanding of what is happening and why.
The game plays like your typical first-person shooter in the vein of, dare I say it, Halo. You can only carry two weapons, you have a regenerating shield and you're fighting your way through a space opera.
Fire Warrior isn't nearly as sophisticated, as Halo and the surroundings are much grittier. The graphics really are superb, lending an air of realism with the occasional visor static, distance blurs and subtle heat waves. A downside to the game is that the levels are very tunnel like in their lay out. The inside levels are all fairly linear and the outside levels are typically in the recesses of huge trenches, so you don't do a lot of meandering. Although the level design is lacking in some ways, the game developers have done a good job of finding strengths in the maps. Instead of spreading things out horizontally, they spread them out vertically. In other words you have bad guys (or should that be good guys?) shooting at your from towers, the rim of the trenches, inside buildings, it makes for a very layered game. The sound effects also go a long way in helping you feel the game with a near constant shuddering barrage of heavy weapons attacks and excellent voice acting.
The multiplayer options are a little light, but what more can you do with a first-person shooter anyway? You get all the usually suspects: death match, team death match, capture the flag plus eight maps to choose from.
Not exactly the best multiplay, but it does extend the game's life a bit.
Fire Warrior is a fun game to play with a unique look and feel that will make Warhammer fans happy and give those new to the genre a unique experience as they blast away.
For a first-person shooter set in the distant future, Fire Warrior looks and plays a lot like 1993. Sure, the sci-fi-meets-satan aesthetic of Doom is indebted to the age-old Warhammer strategy games, and not the other way around, so the cosmetic similarities are excusable, but the pared-down gameplay is not. Fire Warrior is a purely switch-flipping, key-finding, frag-em-all affair, oblivious to any and all genre redefining innovation. After placing bombs on the joints of a walking tank in an hour-long level, for instance, it would've been nice to see the Titan lumber out of its hold and collapse in a smoldering heap. Instead, you faintly hear an explosion as the next scene loads. So much for scripting. Nor will the milquetoast online mode do much to sweeten the bitter pill of monthly broadband fees. Communicating with people is a big part of online gaming's appeal, yet with no text or voice chat options, Fire Warrior muzzles players. What's more, the only way to switch maps or tweak settings is to quit a server and start a new match.
Shawn's right: Absolutely nothing in this future-shocked shooter will actually shock anyone who's played a first-person blaster before. In fact, Warhammer is so crammed with cliches--color-coded door keys, exploding barrels, and grimy environments I swear I've already prowled through in Quake--that it feels like it's just going through the first-person-shooter motions. Levels and enemies get more interesting about halfway through--and multiplayer is a fun-for-a-few-games diversion--but none of that's enough to pluck this game from mediocrity.
I think Fire Warrior deserves a bit more credit than these guys give it. The objectives and most of the gameplay may feel familiar (it actually feels like an attempt to rip off Halo more than anything else), but that's where the cliches end. How many FPSes have you board an enemy ship out in deep space, starting on the outer hull and blasting your way in? Levels like that, along with scripted events and cool art design, eventually got me interested, despite the average graphics and ineffective weapons. Too bad the lazy multiplayer adds no value.