previews\ Jul 20, 2003 at 8:00 pm

Warhammer 40,000 Fire Warrior - PS2 - Preview 2

At first glance, you might mistake this for just another FPS.  Yes, it is another first-person shooter, the screenshots look typical, and its promoted features (15 weapons, 8-player online deathmatch mode, etc.) sound very familiar.


Don't be fooled though.  This is not another Joe's Diner-type shooter.  If the average game is equal to a Denny's restaurant, then Fire Warrior would be nearly equal to the California Pizza Kitchen, minus all the wonderful smells.  What the screenshots and public relations jargon fail to convey are the things that make this game different from the crowd.


Thus far, Fire Warrior's controls are very high in quality.  As usual, strafing is done with the left analog stick.  To aim, you simply move the right analog stick in any direction.  Without a mouse, you can't expect to have perfect aim and lightning-quick movement, but in Fire Warrior you can expect to have a greater amount of control than in most console shooters.  The aim/view movement is pretty fast, and with a little practice you'll be able to pick off hidden snipers with ease.


The demo showcased one of the game's 21 levels.  It takes place near what appears to be a giant construction site.  A couple of uncontrollable teammates will help you along the way, killing as many enemies as possible.  Exterminating enemies is very important (at least in this level) because you cannot advance beyond a certain point without eliminating every threat.  Some of the enemies are quite deadly, running relentlessly toward you, attacking with a deadly sword.  It takes more than a few well-placed gunshots to take down these bad boys, so don't expect to walk away unscathed.  In fact, you'd probably be better off expecting to die a couple of times.  This is a nice change of pace from the usual easy-to-kill enemies that overflow most first-person shooters.  I can't help but wonder though: if this is the first level, how difficult will the later levels be?


A really cool graphic effect is used to demonstrate what happens when you get shot.  As your health meter dwindles, gunshot wounds make the screen flicker, distort and fade out, just as a computer monitor would if it were being hit with a baseball bat.  The closer your character is to dying, the more severely the screen will distort.  I'm not sure if the main character is part robotic or if he's just using a computer-enhanced helmet, but either way this effect is awesome.


Aside from that, your eyes will have plenty of explosions to look at, as well as a number of detailed environments, sickly monsters and the thing that Mortal Kombat made famous, blood and gore.  The weapons have a nice look, too, and with 21 different levels, there is definitely going to be a lot of cool visual delicacies to feast your eyes on.


What it all comes down to is, of course, how well the game plays.  There are a lot of first-person shooters out there (perhaps too many), but you'd be foolish to turn down one as promising as Fire Warrior.  Its single player quest is great, we already know that.  And with an online multiplayer mode being developed for the final version, this game definitely has what it takes to compete with the big-name sequels.  Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag are the first three multiplayer modes to be confirmed, with at least one more on the way.


Look for Fire Warrior to blast its way onto PlayStation 2 this September.

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