previews\ Sep 24, 2002 at 8:00 pm

Iron Storm - PC - Preview

Just when gamers thought that World War first-person shooters have overstayed their welcome, along comes DreamCatcher’s excellent entry into the bonanza, Iron Storm.  With a sharp attention to detail, great enemy AI, and multiplayer modes, Iron Storm could very well be the surprise hit this fall for desktop soldiers.


The story takes place in 1964 during World War One in Central Germany.  That’s right, 1964.  Iron Storm is set in an alternate history in which World War One never ended and has been raging for fifty long years.  Evil political consortiums have even been making money off the war, through the improbable use of armies on the stock exchange, and these evil consortiums will continue to make money as long as the war exists.  As Second Lieutenant James Anderson, part of the Allies, your job is to hunt the consortium down, destroy it, and take out the maniacal Baron Nikolai Aleksandrovitch Ugenberg, head of the enormous Russo-Mongol Empire, along the way.


Iron Storm can be played in both first-person and third-person, a warm addition to the slew of first-person shooters already released.  The third-person perspective allows for easier sneaking and infiltrating, while the first-person view is used for more traditional wartime tactics, like blowing a German’s head off from 150 yards away.  Switching views is simple as pushing a button, and the change occurs on the fly. 


Iron Storm is a mission-based game with about 30 hours of gameplay.  The six missions vary from kill everyone in sight with squadmates to infiltrate a stronghold by your lonesome. 


Because Iron Storm takes place in an alternate history, the creators of the game have been allowed certain creative licenses with settings, weapons, and vehicles.  Even though this war is technically World War One, many of the technologies found in World War Two are present on account of the length of the war.  Players will find automatic weapons, penicillin, and tanks along with gritty World War One elements such as gas warfare, trenches, and barbed wire.  You can’t pilot any vehicles in the game, but there are stationary guns you can man in order to unleash lead into the opposing army. 


Iron Storm features an intelligent AI that would make Big Blue envious.  Enemies won’t simply stand around while you pop some caps in their homies as is the case in some other first-person shooters.  Shoot one of their buddies, and they’ll call for backup.  Enemies will hide behind objects and be very patient, often waiting for players to let their guard down and ambushing them.  It’s war, and it feels like it.


The developers of Iron Storm, 4x Studios, did an excellent job of creating a world that looks like it’s been ripped apart by fifty years of war.  Rubble is everywhere, bodies lay strewn on the ground, and buildings have been reduced to fragments.  This provides plenty of cover for snipers, ambushes, and sneaking around. 


Another aspect of Iron Storm that sets it apart from other games is the attention to detail, especially with the simple things.  When in first-person mode, you can look down and see your feet.  When picking guns up in third-person mode, you can actually see the gun on the player’s person.  It’s these small details that gamers should appreciate and add more realism. 


Iron Storm is expected to be released this October.

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