Close Combat: First to Fight Xbox Review

May 31, 2010 by  
Filed under Retro Content, Retro Reviews, Xbox

The military shooter is a popular alternative to the run and gun FPS game, perhaps it’s the fact that people like realism in games or perhaps it’s just the more sedate pace and tension that draw people in. Whatever the case, the military shooter has seen some refinement in recent years, and spawned from the suppressing and flanking techniques of Full Spectrum Warrior and the FPS mechanics of Rainbow Six comes Close Combat: First to Fight.

Close Combat is apparently based on a Marine training tool; therefore the games realism is unquestionable. The Marines under your command move like real Marines, and genuinely act as they should and do as they are told at the most crucial of times. With the authentic realism part out of the way, the rest of the game manages to hold up pretty well, and has clearly been redesigned to fit into the gaming world, otherwise it probably wouldn’t have been as much fun to play.

Something that we have come to expect from the military shooter is a rather slow pace, which normally intensifies the tension. Close Combat similarly builds tension, but suffers from being perhaps a tad too slow for its own good. It’s probably all about the painstaking realism, but the overall movement is overly sluggish and a little awkward. Barring the obvious realism, we think the game would have benefited from a slight increase in speed.

Speed issues aside, Close Combat is a satisfying enough game that doesn’t suffer from being overly complex, this is always a major coup for any squad-based shooter. Whether you are issuing commands to an individual or all three of your men, squad control/commands are accessed with a might of ease via a Rainbow Six style radial menu. Commanding your marines to storm rooms, or even toss in grenades in an attempt to flush them out is a satisfying manner of dealing with the enemy. Pinning down your foes with suppressing fire also gives you the upper hand, giving you the opportunity to go for the kill.

You and your boys aren’t the only military might operating in many of the games missions, as additional support from sniper and mortar teams can easily turn the tide in your favour. It’s simply a case of targeting an area and then calling for support through the radial menus. A lovely little touch, it has to be said.

Multi-player options don’t offer any real surprises, but it runs smooth enough for most of the time, whether you are playing in split-screen or over Xbox Live. The game offers options for up to four players offline and eight players via Xbox Live and the inconveniency that is system link. There’s death matches and cooperative play for any budding Marines, and it’s certainly a nice alternative to Rainbow Six.

Graphically the game looks amazing, thanks to fantastic lighting and beautiful rag doll physics. We wouldn’t be pushed to call the visual quality on show here “photo realistic” and the rag doll physics are some of the best we’ve ever seen. It’s not visually flawless though; some of the squad animations are just downright embarrassing, as your guys shuffle their feet in a series of nasty animations, which unfortunately spoils the overall look and atmosphere.

Close Combat is all about realistic squad-based warfare, and on these counts the game is successful, without being overly harsh on the player. It may feel a little sluggish at times, but it’s certainly no run and gun FPS, so it’s not a major point to be argued. No serious flaws then, therefore it’s definitely up there with the cream of the crop of realistic FPS’s.

8/10

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