I don’t know if you guys remember the old Close Combat games but I sure do, because I remember the countless hours I spent playing the old games moving the little guys around on-screen. Now that times have changed and the technology in the game has advanced a lot, so the Close Combat series has under went some significant changes from the "good old days". So does 2K Games come out firing with the latest iteration of Close Combat in Close Combat: First to Fight for the Xbox? Read my full review to find out!
We have seen in recent years the US Army working on a great PC game that really has been taking the PC market by storm. I think we were all shocked to see that game be as capable as it was. Now we see that the Marines have decided that they liked the idea and have made a squad based shooter that tries to get people more interested in the Marines. Its not that I have anything against the military, because to be honest I have a ton of respect for our armed forces serving overseas, but I just don’t see how a video game would make people more interested. But nevertheless can these Marines make a good squad based shooter?
One of the game’s strongest suits is its storyline that goes alongside the single player portion of the game. Since I enjoyed the story so much I would actually like to leave that out and say that the story is very interesting and kind of sounds familiar to what is going on in the real world.
So how does this squad based shooter work compare to others already in the market? Well the controls in the game, which are very important for any squad-based shooter, are actually very solid, and make it very easy to get a hold of. You have the typical pop up menu that comes out, and this is how you are to issue commands. The game really does limit the number of commands you can give out, which tries to simplify things in combat. One thing this game really tries to do is make it feel realistic with intelligent squads, and that is something the game does accomplish as your team mates’ AI is absolutely fantastic. They won’t do many things to put themselves in harm’s way, and this makes the game work like you would hope a squad-based shooter would.
With this being said the enemy AI must have gone through totally different training because at the lower difficulty levels and even the standard one, you will find quite often that the game has the enemies stand around and take fire and not act like an intelligent enemy. Now at the higher difficulty settings this seemed a little less prevalent but for anyone who has played squad-based shooters, it’s going to be pretty obvious of the enemies weak points. This doesn’t totally kill the single player but to be honest it does take away from what could have been a stellar offline experience.
But of course this is only half of the Close Combat experience, because the game also includes Xbox Live support. You have the option of team deathmatch as well as playing co-op through any of the single player modes and both of these were honestly a blast to play. I found that my experiences online were all above average and made for a very enjoyable and worthwhile experience. With that being said, you can see this game hasn’t gotten the publicity it deserves, as evidenced by the mostly empty online lobbies and difficulty in finding players to play. But once you found a game the experience was quite impressive.
Is Close Combat: First to Fight the best squad-based shooter? No. But it does a lot of things right in the gameplay department that make for a rather enjoyable experience. It has enough positives to make the gameplay stand up on its own.
The visuals of Close Combat: First to Fight are the least enjoyable part of the game in my opinion. First off, the character models are rather poor especially in today’s standards, with the lack of detail and a very blocky appearance. I would have hoped the developers could have made a more appealing squad, but even with that said, the environments were sitting with me a lot more then the character models. I found that the environments were very lush with color and detail, and although they weren’t very interactive (as in most of the doors don’t open) the game still feature good environments.
The visuals of Close Combat: First to Fight were that of an average Xbox game. With there being so many great looking squad-based shooters out there, it would be pretty hard for this game in the visual sense to compete.
The thing about Close Combat: First to Fight is that it is going on a console that is squad-based shooters "happy". There are so many great squad based shooters that I think it takes away something from this game and made it less enjoyable. With the AI problems and the multiplayer not being overly populated, I became frustrated with the game and only wished it had more to offer.
Being a huge fan of the Close Combat series I must say that although I was looking forward to this game, I was rather disappointed with its final results. The game is not a bad outing by any standards, but it also just doesn’t have the depth nor the sure fire power to hang with the other big boys that are already on the Xbox. It is worthwhile? Yes, but only if you are a fan of the series or in dire need of a decent squad-based shooter. Otherwise it makes for a solid rental.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.