Beyond The Law: The Third Wave Review (PC)

Ruthless mobsters gather in New York City to orchestrate and initiate the first of three waves of crime and corruption designed to paralyze your nation. First they strike with bribery, blackmail and blood tinged corruption. Debts are recalled in the shadows of abandoned shipyards while unsuspecting citizens suddenly become victims of human trafficking. Using prostitution, money laundering and drug cartels the second wave is only a subtle prelude of what's to come. The most deadly of all, the Third Wave is the ultimate threat that could annihilate our Nation's capital. Our police force is under their control. Intervention beyond the law is the only way to fight back to save our country. As commander, you must choose from 50 members of an elite group of paramilitary specialists and lead them on a series of 20 missions. Deploy your squad and direct each of them independently. Utilizing sniper, ballistic, tactical, and technical experts, you will operate in total secrecy to stop the mob dead in its tracks.

The concept of the game sure does sound interesting...

...but the execution leaves at best a lukewarm feeling.

Well with quite the fast paced and exciting sounding description I tore into this game like a fat person into a snickers bar, but what I found was simply a half eaten, stale, baby ruth instead.

The basic gameplay is you are in charge of a group of specialists who have been hired to take out the mob before they try and take out our government. You control up to fifty different players in the game that consist of four different character types. There are 20 different missions to complete, which are made of 1 level with 4 different stages. Before each level there is a description of the objectives that must be completed before you can clear the level. The objectives can range from planting explosives on a boat to rescuing captured agents. You spend money to hire specialists for each level, with each costing a different amount. The cost of the specialists depends on their abilities and their weapons of choice. The better the weapon and ability, the higher the fee to hire them. There is a technician to disable security devices and place tracking gadgets, a tactical character who can move quickly even while crouched and is handy with a knife, a bodyguard type who's good to have in a straightforward gunfight, a sniper, well I guess he is obvious, and then the ever versatile All Around guy. Most specialistsí fees range anywhere from $10,000 to $16,000. The main goal of the game is to sneak around the mob and complete your missions. It is more like a giant game of hide-n-seek than a real strategy game.

The first level is pretty basic as you work your way through mob thugs and sneak a GPS tracker onto a crate, and then sneaking your team onto a cargo ship. I had to restart the game several times due to impossibly good and unrealistic accuracy of the mob gunmen. I had 3 specialists and they were killed with 3 fast shots, on the easy level nonetheless. I wasnít really prepared with my specialists, as I had no real indication of what the mission needed for manpower. I ended up using men with the most firepower and just shot my way through. I found a nice feature of the game was to show the mob guards field of vision, so you could get past them. Although later in the game it seemed as if they were cheating by seeing beyond that field. The same held true for electronic security devices like cameras and lasers. Just when I thought I had done the right move, the alarms would sound. This teamed with the guards' super aiming really forced the hack and slash style play throughout the game. When I first used a sniper I also found that he couldnít shoot at much of a range. In fact it seemed as if his exact range was just short of the guardís field of vision. So as you may have guessed, if he was in range to shoot, the guard could see him too!

The game functions are basic, along the lines of an RTS top down game. To move a unit you simply have to click him with the mouse and then click the location you want to walk to. If you want your whole squad to move to the same spot together then you simply drag and highlight them all then click where you want them. To attack you simply get the object into your cursor and right click. The game also has things to open, all are done with a highlight and right click. Keyboard keys also have functions such as crouching and putting weapons away.

Actual game options are limited, well to be honest there are NO game options. There is only 1 resolution of 800X600, not a good thing on a large monitor. In fact this was the first game I have reviewed that had no option for resolution change. Of course no options also mean no sound adjustments other than turning down your speakers.

The game AI is pathetic and somehow infuriating at the same time.

The environments aren't completely terrible, but the gameplay is.

Top game moment: Killing a handful of guards, covering their bodies with green tarps, and then watching their comrades walk past suspecting nothing.

This game, although a decent idea, falls short of being even a bargain basement buy. The graphics are dated, around 6-7 years dated. The sound quality is awful even by 7 year old tech standards. The AI is an absolute joke, with there general stupidity being compounded by 1 shot kills every time they shoot at your specialists. One of the most laughable features is the green tarp you magically place over dead bodies to make them unseen by anyone. Here is a large mass of dead corpse and suddenly guards can walk over without even a hint it is their buddy. The fact that you canít make your units attack together and ammo is not there for the taking makes for a boring attack sequence. I am sorry for all the gamers out there looking for a new fun game because it just seems there are none lately.

by Vlad
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