Delta Force: Land Warrior
|Genres:||3D Shooter / Tactical Shooter|
|Release Date:||November 7, 2000|
|Game Modes:||Singleplayer / Multiplayer|
Land Warrior offers cleaned visuals but oh-so-familiar gameplay.
Delta Force is stranded somewhere in the middle of no-man’s land between realistic tactical shooter and pure action game with real-world settings. With the advent of Land Warrior, NovaLogic finally refined the formula to a point where you can actually play the game and not feel like it’s kicking you in the head.
For my take, this third iteration is the most enjoyable entry, although in many respects it’s the same game the third time in a row. It’s just that here most of those glaring technical issues from older releases have largely been dealt with. The engine is capable of higher resolutions, the gameplay is more refined and the product overall is a lot easier to swallow – and on occasions actually enjoy.
Previous titles used the Voxel Space 32 engine, which allowed for intricate terrain and insanely long draw distances but couldn’t be accelerated by video cards. It was a debilitating handicap complemented by some awful framerates to boot. 3D acceleration has finally been introduced with Land Warrior, and now you get smooth graphics at 1024×768 on even 16 MB onboard video cards. Draw distances are just as impressive here, the visuals are a lot cleaner and building interiors somewhat more complex. It’s only a shame the game itself is an empty shell.
Forced To Repeat Itself
In fact, the entire blandness of the experience sinks in pretty fast, as you start playing the solo campaign and realize it’s essentially the first Delta Force with better graphics and a considerably lowered difficulty level. The inconsistencies become self-evident, especially when confronted by the game’s mission design – why are the battlefields so lifeless, with barely a few trees peppered every square mile? Why aren’t there any tanks, APC’s, mortar crews, jet planes or gunships? Why can’t you call in a couple of A10 attack bombers to pick off enemy armor or a machinegun bunker, or direct a volley of artillery to soften up heavy defenses? Despite its vast lines of sight and virtually limitless combat zones, much of the real-estate is wasted on only mediocre gameplay, with barely the slightest hint of creativity.
Much of that creativity is instead infused in the armory, which has been complemented considerably if not ingeniously (how come you have to shoot at choppers with the anti-tank launcher?). A host of new assault rifles, sniper rifles and machineguns have been added, and you can now discard your chosen gear and pick up enemy weapons should you run out of ammo. While the weapons are numerous, they’re not that appealing, resembling cardboard cutouts crudely pasted onto the screen. These pre-rendered guns likely made it in to save up on framerates, but the added performance could have been used to spruce up the empty environments – no such luck.
The AI is just as revoltingly bad as ever, with only one or two incremental updates. On most missions, one of the characters you didn’t choose will accompany you anyway, apparently to give the enemy more things to shoot at. Usually your teammate dies stupidly; on the few occasions that they survive, it’s because they didn’t do anything and thus weren’t exposed to fire. Like the other Delta Force games, this one’s a lone wolf operation. At least now you can save during a mission (a welcome addition to the game).
An Army of Two
Easily the most enjoyable way to play is on co-op. It’s great fun playing as a sniper team, with one person deploying a suppressed PSG rifle with a low-powered scope and another one calling in elevation and wind corrections on distant targets. You can kill off an entire base like this from high ground, then trade your long-range rifles for AK’s and go close combat. To the AI’s credit, it handles stealth more realistically this time – you’re almost invisible when crawling around at night, so it’s only curious that the game neglects giving you proper suppressed weaponry for you to indulge in your midnight hijinks more often.
But it doesn’t make much difference if you go in ninja or not – Land Warrior is almost laughably easy with the savegame feature, even when the AI is set to ‘Hard’ (which, by the way, doesn’t make them smarter by one iota – only more accuerate).
If you’re even marginally familiar with previous Delta Force games or have yet to try the series then Land Warrior is by far the most polished DF experience overall. It’s just depressing that three games into the series and there’s been precisely zero progress in its basic gameplay.
System Requirements: Pentium 233 MHz Processor, 64 MB RAM, Win 98/ME/2000
- Buy Game:
- Download Demo
- Official Website