IGN Review of Hour of Victory
How many World War II shooters does it take to screw in a lightbulb? It's an old joke, but then, Midway's Hour of Victory feels like the same old game we've been playing for the past ten years. Developed by nFusion, Hour of Victory is a mediocre shooter with bad graphics and terrible multiplayer. But to its credit, the single-player campaign only lasts about five hours, making it a tolerable way to collect a few hundred Gamerpoints.
Hour of Victory's "innovation" is in allowing you to choose from three different characters for nearly every mission. You can be Ross, who is all about brute force; Bull, the sniper with a heart of gold; or Taggert, the stealthy assassin who can pick locks and stab Nazis with his Rambo-sized knife. Each character has unique stats that may offer better aim with certain weapon types (not that you can really tell in-game) and also varying levels of health. Each also has a special skill. Ross can push heavy glowing objects out of the way; Bull can climb ropes to get to high ground for sniping; and Taggert can pick locks, allowing him to take shortcuts.
None of this, however, makes a damn bit of difference.
Whether you are Ross, or Bull, or Taggert, in the end you still have the same objective: shoot lots of Nazis. And because the game experience is pretty much identical no matter which character you choose, the best option tends to always be Ross. Why? Because he has the most health. And really, staying alive long enough to get through Hour of Victory's short, uninspired levels is all that matters. Climbing ropes or opening doors rarely ever benefits your character. And in general, if there is a lock to pick, nearby there will be a heavy object to push.
Even a well-implemented gimmick can't save bland gameplay. And this is not a well-implemented gimmick. nFusion would have been better served tailoring missions specific to a single character rather than leaving it wide open. There are a couple such missions in Hour of Victory and they play far better than the open-choice missions.
The gameplay is like most every other WWII shooter of the past decade. In fact, some of the UI looks taken straight from Call of Duty. Too bad no one thought to take the awesome gameplay from COD. Health is based off the Halo system, where you need to avoid damage for a few moments to restore yourself. However, in Hour of Victory, you also have to stand still. And even then, it can sometimes take a full minute before your health regenerates. But that's okay, because you will need short time outs anyway to recharge your stamina. With full stamina you can run past enemies like a bull running from a Mountain Oyster buffet. In fact, you can run past almost the entire game if you like. Because of the linear design and the abysmal AI, you can run through many of the missions without firing more than a few rounds.
If you do choose to play Hour of Victory as a station-to-station style game, you'll be witness to a number of AI blunders. Enemies will stand with their backs to you in a firefight, they'll occasionally shoot at their friends, and most just run straight into your gunfire. This explains why Germany lost the war.
To be fair, Hour of Victory has a few satisfying moments. These come towards the end of the game. These final battles raise the intensity level and the difficulty, making Hour of Victory at least mildly entertaining. If you absolutely love shooters and you can't wait to live through World War II one more time, Hour of Victory will at least give you something to do for an afternoon. There are no major game-destroying bugs and the game itself works as designed. Too bad the game design wasn't any good.
As for multiplayer, take our word for it and don't even bother. There are three modes offered through either System Link or Xbox Live play (supporting up to 12 players): Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, and Devastation. None of these are fun to play (in part due to lag, but mostly due to design). How bad is it? In Team Deathmatch, a clich¿d WWII theme plays for five seconds after someone is killed. People die every 10 seconds in deathmatch, so the same music pops up awkwardly again and again and again. Apparently, Hour of Victory's strength is in its single-player design. Oh boy.
©2007, IGN Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved