Rating: 9.87 out of 10 (Above Average)
The modern military shooter is being re-revolutionized, just in time for the holiday season. Last issue, we said that Bulletstrike: Soldier’s Mark was the permanent King of the Hill. It’s many innovations, such as four squadmates rather than three, raised the bar for the industry as a whole. Well, Doppelganger Studios has backflipped over the bar, ripped it out of the wall, and used it to beat Bulletstrike: Soldier’s Mark to death. Wargunner: Hero’s Call is a game that you should already be playing. Drop this magazine and go buy it. If you’re reading this review online, drop your computer out the window and go buy it. If you’re reading this on a smartphone, chuck your phone into traffic and go buy it.
Wargunner: Hero’s Call is a visual marvel. In fact, I’d describe it as true art. Each of the foreigners that your squad guns down is rendered in loving detail. The impoverished ethnic rebels are all rendered with a sculptor’s eye. Wargunner: Hero’s Call captures the fine aesthetic details of suppressing resistance to the global status quo in a manner that makes the player feel as if he’s killing the minorities himself. There have been complaints about the portrayal of Arabs in past Wargunner titles. The controversy can now be put to rest. The Middle Eastern enemies charging at the player with sticks of dynamite in each hand are now rendered in photorealistic detail.
The gameplay has also taken a great leap forward. Doppelganger Games has finally ironed out the main flaw in the modern military shooter: player movement. The player’s experience is no longer burdened with the niceties of controlling walking, running, aiming, reloading, or gun selection. Now the pure experience of pulling the trigger can be enjoyed while the designers handle the rest. Past Wargunner titles have inched towards this innovation through objective markers, linear corridors, and scripted events. Wargunner finally cuts to the chase and takes things to their natural conclusion. Wargunner’s cinematic mood is uninterrupted by exploration or player death, finally achieving gaming’s goal of challenging the film industry. Doppelganger Games realized that just because it’s a game doesn’t mean that there’s time to play around.
The story is nothing to write home about. It’s something to steal a jet and sky-write over your home city about until the air force shoots you down. As you plummet towards the earth, you won’t scream or cry. The knowledge that you brought the narrative of the millennium to at least one more person will keep you calm as your jet collides into the side of a building, bursting into flame and shrapnel. There will be no pain. The only thing you will feel as you fade into the next world is the warm glow of Corporal Reynold A. Merica’s narrative. Reynold shoots at terrorists for the government. The terrorists turn out to be part of a larger group. I’ll leave your imagination to fill out the blanks in this complex web. If I spoiled it, you would hang me from the highest tree in the country. Suffice to say that there is a stunt halfway through guaranteed to pull headlines. One might even think it was desigined to do so, but the creators of Wargunner: Hero’s Call have higher goals than grandstanding for media attention.
The soundtrack takes a surprisingly minimalist approach. Kid Rock’s American Badass is played on loop throughout the game’s campaign, with scripted explosions synced up with the song’s bass drum kicks. There is no other music. This triumph of modern sound design is matched only by the realistic tone of the gunfire. Every shot fired damages the main character’s hearing. Reynold is legally deaf by the end of the campaign, leaving the player unable to hear anything. Except, of course, the soaring chorus of American Badass.
Buy this game. Games like Wargunner: Hero’s Call deserve our support. Without it, there’d be no motive to make ten more modern military shooters next year. If you don’t have any money lying around, consider stealing. Your girlfriend just left her wallet lying there. Taking seventy bucks from it should teach her a lesson about leaving it in your bedroom. Anyone walking by the house could have taken it. It was bound to happen, really.
Disclaimer: Monkeys With Typewriters does not endorse Kid Rock’s breed of butt rock. Owning a Kid Rock record is grounds for execution in Dennard Dayle’s ideal world.