Army Men: Sarge’s War PS2 Review

Just about everyone knows of the Army Men games, although not necessarily for all the right reasons. There have been loads of games of the little plastic men; exploring various genres but each and every one still having one thing in common and that is scoring in the lower end of the numerical spectrum, needless to say the 3DO (who have incidentally folded) conceived series is not popular amongst the critics. Army Men: Sarge’s War is the newest game in the series and the first to be released by new owners, Take-two. Is it plastic fantastic or more akin to the results of burning a toy solider with a magnifying glass in the baking sun?

Sarge’s War is without doubt the grittiest Army Men game yet, limbs and heads can be blown clean off and the revenge driven story is much gloomier than previous incarnations. This is quite surprising when you consider that the games’ source material is that of those toy soldiers that we used to play about with when we were imaginative kids.

But childhood pleasures aside, initial impressions of Sarge’s War are of a solid but unspectacular shooting romp, which begins to wear a little thin after only a couple of stages, this is due to poor level design and gameplay that just isn’t very exciting. The missions themselves are also too samey and usually entail blowing something up or shooting someone, with rarely any boss encounters to speak of, which would have at least made the game a tad less monotonous. Furthermore, the lock on target tends to lock onto distant targets rather than the ones just about on top of you, which can be terribly frustrating if it results in death from no fault of your own.

There is a fairly serviceable multiplayer mode, which runs smoothly and can be played by up to four players. But even this suffers from a lack of maps and the usual dull levels.

The visuals are nothing more than functional with boring and ugly looking levels, but on the good side at least the frame-rate is relatively smooth (only being really troublesome after an explosion and such) and the plastic character detail is also impressive. After taking bullets, gaping holes even appear on Sarge’s plastic frame at times, which is a nice touch. But overall I expect exceptionally beautiful games other than just mildly acceptable, in this day of graphical wonders.

Army Men: Sarge’s war isn’t a terrible game by any means, but I’ve played much better in my time. The level design is uninteresting and often tedious, whilst the graphics are workable enough but still a bit too bland. This is one game that tends to get boring even after a somewhat short session. It’s certainly not as bad as I expected it to be, but this is still one half-baked toy solider.