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World War II Combat: Iwo Jima Preview for Xbox
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World War II Combat: Iwo Jima 

Preview for Xbox

- William Usher, " Cyguration ", Senior Staff Writer
Sunday, May 28, 2006 

Review Preview

World War II Combat: Iwo Jima

First-Person Shooter
Value Soft
Direct Action Games
June 6, 2006

World War II Combat: Iwo Jima Screenshot Gallery

World War II Combat: Iwo Jima Screenshot Gallery

World War II Combat: Iwo Jima Screenshot Gallery

World War II: Road to Berlin was released, received, and rejected. While the game captured a unique take on an aspect of World War II that’s rarely covered, the execution of a well-designed game fell flat. The game, running on the Unreal 2.0 Engine, suffered from ill-responsive controls, lacking graphics, laggy multiplayer features, and unfinished gameplay concepts. The game actually had gamers questioning how it obtained the high-mark of $19.95. Overall, World War II: Road to Berlin was a game with big ideas, but executed in the outcome of a bad design.

Value Soft is now trying their hand at the sequel to last year’s massacre of a first-person shooting game. The designers are now taking World War II to Japan’s Iwo Jima. The story, while not entirely unconcealed, seems fairly intriguing. If there was a redeemable aspect about the original World War II: Road to Berlin, it would have to be in the concept of trying an alternate take on World War II. Road to Berlin followed the exploits of the Soviets, Allies and Germans all fighting to establish a grasp on the “Vengeance Weapons”. Stalin, the goal-seeker that he was, felt a need to establish an alliance with the Allies, only to defeat Hitler in the race to controlling the “Vengeance Weapons”. The Allies knew this was disaster either way, but allied with the Soviets--deemed as the “lesser evils”--only to prevent Germany from establishing themselves as a true super-power.

History lessons

In the original, Road to Berlin, players were tasked with stopping Germany and working with fellow allies to overthrow Hitler’s forces. Simultaneously, there was the impending dire of Stalin’s intentions to gain the “Vengeance Weapons”. So players were in a race, as well, against Russia to stop the deadly weapons from falling into the hands of the enemy, or the feigned allies. In World War II: Iwo Jima, players are tasked with doing battle with opposing forces in the historic encounter at Iwo Jima, between the United States and Japan.

While the story is still kept close under-wraps, we do know a thing or two about the settings. For one thing, the sequel to World War II RTB, has players stepping into the shoes, once again, of United States soldiers. Bearing arms as an Ally will be no easy feat, though, mainly because the road to Iwo Jima won’t be an easy one. Players will first have to take their U.S. Marines through the Pacific Campaign, which starts with landing on Betio Island in the Tawara Atoll. There are more encounters afterwards, by guiding Marines through missions that take place on the Marshall Islands, and in Saipan. After the deadly detours are done with, players will finally take on the irrevocable task of re-living the 1945 battle at Iwo Jima.

Flags atop Mount Suribachi

The importance of Iwo Jima ranged from a number of reasons. Before the battle at Iwo Jima, it was imperative that American forces capture the island’s airfields for aerial raids coming and going into Japan. While undisclosed, one can only imagine that capturing the airfields will probably be a pivotal point during the gameplay of World War II. The other focus for Iwo Jima, would probably be most noted for the mid-battle flag posting atop Mount Suribachi, by United States soldiers. Whether or not that aspect of the battle will be dynamically captured during gameplay is something we’ll have to wait and see on. Aside from this, not much else has been revealed about the actual dealings with Iwo Jima in Value Soft’s World War II.

More importantly, though, is how well the shooting mechanics have been adjusted in the sequel to one of worst received FPS games in history. Redeemable gameplay qualities for World War II: Iwo Jima will be its saving grace, even if other aspects of the game are not up to par. Even though graphics make up for very little of what can make a game fun, a promising take on something semi-realistic would do the game well. Sadly, the original game was noted for having faulty environment presentations and blocky model designs.

Given the amount of time to work on the sequel, hopefully the developers have scrapped the antiquated hand-drawn texture look, and have gone with something more normal mapping. This will play a crucial factor in how well players perceive and immerse themselves in the overall take on Imperial Japan. The addition (or lack thereof) of music will also play a huge role in the realism of the gameplay. Brothers In Arms did without in-game music for the authenticity effect. If the developers of World War II: Iwo Jima, happen to capture the intensity of the realism in battle, etc., then maybe the lack of music will work to the game’s advantage as well.

For the most part, if World War II: Iwo Jima is a focused-based shooter...centering in only on a specific aspect of gameplay, whether its focus is on suppression, or unique AI routines, possibly teamwork, or gun-play, the game could be okay. As a value-based shooter, Xbox owners need not be too worried, as sequels are normally enhancements on the originals. However, there was a lot to be desired from the original World War II. Value Soft will have their hands full in making this sequel a top-notch, value-based war game. You can look for this title to hit store shelves on June 6, 2006.

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