Soldier of Fortune: Payback (PS3)

By Derek Pettinelli

Published on Saturday, May 24, 2008

Graphics: 6.50
Sound: 4.50
Gameplay: 5.00
Replays: 5.50
Gamelength: 5.00

The first two Soldier of Fortune games were pretty good games that were well worth a playthrough. Raven Software’s gore-dripping shooter series boasted the most realistic violence seen in games with each enemy having 26 dismemberment spots and 36 in the second game. Soldier of Fortune is back, but Raven isn’t at the helm anymore; instead the series has been handed over to Slovakian developers, Cauldron, who are also responsible for The History Channel: Civil War – A Nation Divided.

Payback lacks any real semblance of a story, with the series’ former protagonist John Mullins nowhere in sight. In this game, you play as some generic mercenary who is double crossed, which is really the extent of this game’s “narrative” experience. All you really need to know is that there are enemies you have to kill and lots of them. Guerilla soldiers and terrorists will bear the brunt of your assault, continually respawning just to be brutally slaughtered again and again. The meager attempt at a story does little to keep you interested and the dull gameplay doesn’t do the short campaign any favors either. Generic locations do little to compel you to play any more and the stupid AI helps contribute to the already mediocre game. Multiplayer supports up to twelve players, but it’s so basic, you probably won’t give it a second try.

The graphics aren’t terrible for being a budget game, but the “next-gen” effects aren’t comprised in a cohesive manner. Motion blur and bloom seem overdone at times, which can cause the framerate to drop occasionally. There is graphics pop-in, but overall the graphics weren’t all that impressive in the first place. Conversely, the audio in the game isn’t above average either, with only the guns sounding adequate. Voice acting ranges from mediocre to atrocious, further relegating the sound of this title to the subpar nature of the other elements.

In short, it’s about as good as you’d expect a game from Activision Value to be. Despite the over the top violence, the game is merely average in all respects. Even the gore effects, which is what the series has been known for barely matches the first Soldier of Fortune game, way back in 2000. For the price of this title, you could probably pick up the first two games for PC and have a much more enjoyable time. Plus, with Call of Duty 4 out, this game’s relevance rests somewhere between coaster and frisbee.

Overall Rating: 5.00

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