Next one down. Just finished Soldier of Fortune: Payback. Oh my....
Now, I had already played Payback back in the day, so I knew roughly what to expect. I knew that it is a Soldier of Fortune game only in name, I knew that it was a small release, I knew that it was a poor man's Call of Duty created by amateurs. I knew that there's no John Mullins or any other references to earlier SoF games here and I knew that also the series' hallmark feature, detailed mutilation/dismemberment, is crappily executed in this one, quite literally turning humans into blood-filled pinatas.
Now, first off: the game is playable and I had genuine fun at times. As a matter of fact I'm willing to make the controversial claim that at times it's better than Soldier of Fortune II. For starters, it had functional bossfights, the fight against a Hind was actually pretty good. Parts of the levels were also decent, giving me some tactical freedom in somewhat open environments once in a while, something SoF II utterly lacked.
The problem is that the game feels cheap from start to finish. It's seriously an amazing example of how to make a "modern" shooter in the style of Modern Warfare at minimal costs and reminds me of City Interactive's (now CI Games) pre-Sniper: Ghost Warrior titles. There's you, linear levels (but with some decent arenas), objective markers and literally hundreds of enemies per level whom you slaughter by the dozen. Once in a while the action is interrupted by utterly terrible cutscenes, if you can call it that, where you see the terrible character models deliver utterly pathetic dialogue in first person. And once in a blue moon there's a silly scripted in-game sequence like riding on the bed of a pickup while gunning at a guy in another vehicle. And all of this is tied together by the most forgettable plot of all time, delivered by the most cliched voice acting of all time. That's all there is to it.
There's no interesting challenges, there's nothing special to do, enemies do literally nothing but run around like idiots and shoot. Even any enemy use of grenades and such is scripted and rare. So it's just shooting, taking cover, shooting, taking cover. Period. Most of the time things work, once in a while there's suddenly an enemy who just kills you with one or two shots from a shotgun or grenade launchers, but nothing too terrible. Checkpoint placement is okay most of the time.
Hilariously there's just five or six missions which really only take place in three settings (two of them take place in generic middle-eastern locations, two of them in generic jungle locations) and can be finished in about four hours. Then comes the hilariously bad ending that almost had me shake my head in disbelief.
The game also suffers from some really weird audio problem: the falloff of enemy gunfire is so high that you can't hear the guns of enemies standing maybe ten feet away from you. I don't think I've ever play another shooter suffering from this kind of problem.
So ultimately it's a functional, at times even somewhat fun, shooter that is in many regards so bad that it's almost good.
Oh yeah, the music was decent.