THE OUTFIT XBOX 360 REVIEW

A solid World War II game is hard to find. With hundred of choices between RTS’ and FPS’, your hard-earned money can dissipate in a snap! What if you could have the best of both worlds, combining destruction-on-demand gameplay and FPS/RTS combat scenario?

The result is THQ’s latest shooter, The Outfit. The Outfit blew up everything we knew about the traditional representation of WWII games. The game is fun the first week, but its adrenaline steam slowly runs out because of the repetitive battles.

In The Outfit, you control a group of three heroes, each in control of their own squad, and each with their own special set of weapons and squad orders. You’ve got J.D Tyler, the sniper, Thomas, the submachine gunner, and Deuce Williams, the rocket man, who appears to come straight out of Walker, Texas Ranger.

The general goal of the game is to destroy the living daylights out of the Nazis, and that’s pretty much what you do in every mission: blow things up, save allies, and blow more things up!

The Outfit plays a lot like an unrealistic version of Ghost Recon. The only difference between the two games is that you have unlimited grenades and ammunition here. Just like Ghost Recon, you can issue commands for your squad. You can order them to charge, hold position, or whatever instructions that goes well with the present situation.

Surprisingly, your squad reacts intelligently. They’re relatively successful in killing and manning gun stations. What’s nice is that if your entire squad dies, you can always respawn to a chosen point in the map. The game lets you access to “Destruction on Demand”, where you spend FU points, which is earned by killing a number of Nazi soldiers and blowing everything up that comes into sight. These FU points can be used to buy general war items and have them FedEx-ed straight to you via parachute.

Some of the items you can buy include military tanks, 4x4s with mounted bazookas, and stationary machine guns. One of the game’s highlights is the ability to call for air strikes that can quickly suppress your enemy’s strong points. However, the problem with this though, is that you can accidentally kill your own guys if they don’t move out of the way for weapon delivery, particularly if you’re ordering giant military vehicles.

Once you infiltrate a certain number of enemy territories, you’ll be able to utilize whatever piece of equipment they have in store, from Radio Towers, to Nazi Armories, to Motor Pools. Many hardcore FPS or RTS enthusiasts may find The Outfit a bit dull because of the very forgiving approach to the way you can overpower your enemy’s superiority; but for casual fans of shooting games this is actually quite fun.

And if you’re one of those run-and-gun types of player, you’ll definitely appreciate Outfit’s arcadish shooting style and the fast-paced action sequences.The game features Live support with up to eight players going at it at once. If you think eight is too small of a number for a war game, do remember that you’ve got the RTS elements, and that every player commands a squad of four. So if you do the math, that’s 40 people fighting at once! Chaos spills on the map and it’s fun to see all the action unfolds.

There’s nothing better than smoking your enemies with a bazooka mounted on a 4×4 jeep, squashing them with a heavy duty military tank, or blasting them into smithereens with a frag grenade. You can even enjoy the same experience through the game’s coop mode.

The coop mode is really great! You and a friend will have a blast crushing the incursion of the Nazis. The best part is that while you’re doing the dirty work, your buddy can destroy a different section of the map. Since it’s a team effort, whatever medals you’ve earned after a mission, your friend gets it, too!

The Outfit, being a 360 game, looks quite dated, though the special effects are top-notch. You’ll notice after a while that the terrain is quite bland. Some of the textures aren’t as sharp as they should. The characters you play are nicely detailed, but your teammates lack great attention. In fact, some of them look like they came out of a PS2 game. It’s one of those inadequate visuals you don’t really notice outside the cutscenes; so it’s forgivable.

The graphics are still very good in many respects. Trees cast realistic shadows; the surrounding village burns as though it radiates heat; vehicles explode with impact; buildings blow up like the 4th of July fireworks. In the audio department, The Outfit’s sound effects are what gives the game its authenticity!

The explosion from tanks and buildings take you right into the action. You’ll run across a deafening ambiance of over 30 Nazis with bazookas, rifles, and half-tracks. With respect to weapons, guns, bazooka, rocket launchers, and grenades are all accurately represented here. The sounds on the vehicles are also nicely reproduced. Voice acting is good, but does a person really need to listen to the same macho lines over and over again?

The orchestral soundtrack is fine for the most part. It does a good job mimicking the hostilities of war. Overall, The Outfit is a good shooting game – it’s really exciting playing with your friends, but as a single-player, you’ll likely to get bored quickly. THQ’s first attempt at RTS elements with the FPS formula is not too bad at all. It is rather aimed at casual gamers, but if you’re expecting some hardcore shooting, you might want to wait for something else.

FINAL SCORE: 8.0 OUT OF 10