previews\ Sep 4, 2003 at 8:00 pm

Silent Storm - PC - Preview 2

Gamers are definitely no strangers to WWII style and themed games nowadays with such big names as Medal of Honor, Battlefield 1942, and Return to Wolfenstein becoming huge hits across the nation … but games that follow the same types of themes can tend to get a little stale after a while. JoWood’s Silent Storm is by all means a WWII themed title, but I got to see this new game while I was at E3 this past year, and was really looking forward to playing it myself because it is a lot different from those other titles I mentioned earlier. How so? I’m glad you asked …


Silent Storm takes place during 1943 in WWII, and blends a third person camera action game with a turn based RPG title, and manages to pull it off well. You start by selecting which campaigns you want to play, be it Axis or Allies, select which country you would like your main hero to be from, then either select a pre-built model (where you can change the facial appearance) or actually make your own character complete with different looks and outfits and points that can be distributed into various attributes. In addition, you also select what class of character you want to play with be it soldier, medic, engineer, grenadier, sniper, or scout depending on your personal tastes. After choosing your main character, you begin the game.


The gameplay is reminiscent of a turn based RPG, as I mentioned earlier. Movement, combat, and actions such as opening doors or even changing positions from standing to prone use a certain amount of AP’s (Action Points) to accomplish. Once you are out of AP’s, or don’t have a sufficient amount to perform your next action, the turn ends and your enemy gets to take their turn. In the same RPG arena, you will also earn experience points as you kill enemies or complete tasks, which in turn can be spent in building up various strengths or abilities such as stealth, improved senses, or more accurate shooting even when injured displayed in a tree format similar to ones found in games like Diablo. By improving in skill A, you might get an option to improve in skill B or C during the next level, and so on.


Combat also takes an RPG “D20 Percentage” kind of approach to the game as well, since firing a machine gun volley or cracking off a sniper shot all plays on percentages to hit based on distance, skill, and even the environment itself. If someone is crouching behind an object but popping up during their turn, you will see them only when they are performing an action … but then may lose sight of them once their turn is over forcing you to either position accordingly or maybe try and lure them out. Sometimes, you can hear an enemy but not see him, at which time the game will notify you of this so you can plan a strategy accordingly.


Now, to take down an army … your gonna need some buddies to help out from time to time. You don’t have to do this alone since you can recruit other people from a list at HQ to accompany you, and get to select which classes would best suit your party and can see every stat from name to attributes that you would need to know to be effective. Once you get into the game with them, each can be controlled separately which allows for some good tactics and strategies to be played like luring an enemy into the open so a hidden sniper can pick them off or using a scout to provide distraction while a grenadier sneaks up on a machine gun nest to hurl a grenade. As I stated in the beginning, there was an impressive balance for the individual characters here, and a lot of different ways to play and win missions.


Graphically, Silent Storm is shaping up to be really good, even in the Beta stage. The colors and graphics were sharp and clean, and the use of things like shadows or buildings for cover and sneak attacks were included to add an element of stealth into the possibilities. The environments are also fully destructible, and even the smallest desk clock or power box wasn’t safe from a hail of bullets from a machine gun. The sound is also shaping up nicely, and the music is dramatic and turning out to be a good addition to the environment as is the sounds of weapon fire and voiceovers of the characters themselves.


For you WWII fans out there who are getting tired of the “same old thing”, you should definitely be looking forward to Silent Storm. RPG fans who enjoy a turn based approach with games like Disciples II should also keep an eye out for this title as well. Even in the Beta stages, Silent Storm is looking to be a good and unique title to hit retail shelves soon with plenty of action and strategy combined with a good story line to keep you playing for a while.     

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