Cold War Review (PC)

Cold War is a stealth action game with international espionage and excellent game mechanics. This is more or less a replication of the Splinter Cell Series, which was wildly successful. Cold War has taken most of Splinter Cell Seriesí interface and play mechanics, along with the third person player perspective. It has a lot to live up to, but if Cold War turns out to be nearly as popular as the Splinter Cell Series, DreamCatchers (the games producer) will no doubt be very happy.

Stealth is the key

It has average graphics

The main character in Cold War is journalist, Matthew Carter. He is in the middle of a new breaking story that is a big one. Time and place: Mid 1980ís, at the end of the United States-Soviet Union conflict. Carter gets a lead and is off to Moscow for an undercover meeting between the head honcho of the KGB and the President of the United States. He finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy when his camera is accidentally replaced with a surveillance device. He is charged with trying to take the Soviet presidents life and in turn must fight for his own to get home alive.

The mechanics in this game are very similar to those of the Splinter Cell Series, so if you are familiar with the series at all, navigation in Cold War will not be a difficult at all. They have the exact same system for crawling through vents, opening up doors, and most all other action events. Other than these types of things, Matthew Carter cannot do much else besides crouch and run, making movement pretty easy to grasp. Crazy acrobatic moves are not really present; Carter is more of a cut and dry kind of player. He depends on basic standard punches to physically hurt and overcome enemies.

There are many weapons and gadgets for Carter to obtain, such as an x-ray camera with many powers like getting through high security areas, igniting flammable objects, and knocking out guards. Carter must overpower enemies in order to come across the special gadgets, but there is also a gadget creation system he can use. He is able to construct machines that will help his cause. He will come across the strangest array of objects by either searching the area or jacking them from a dead enemy. These objects range anywhere from an alarm clock to a tin can and can be arranged to make things like a slingshot, which can act like a silent weapon. While this is an interesting idea, it isnít that fundamentally sound. Basically, players can pick up trash and turn them into treasures; doesnít take much of a player for that...

You'll have to crouch on to your enemies

And execute them silently

Yet another way to earn new gadgets is by discovering blueprints hidden throughout the game. Carter earns tech points with these blueprints and uses the points to score new gadgets. This is a vital point to the game, is an excellent feature, and is very exciting to come across.

If a player pulls out a weapon, the view moves to over the shoulder for a better perspective and ranged view, making aiming much easier. While this is very functional and can be a huge asset, it also causes Carter to move jerkily. Not a huge problem, but more of an annoying detail.

The intelligence and stealth system in Cold War is measured by a meter that shows how likely the enemy is to find you in the shadows. There is also an enemy alert meter to let you know when the enemy is around. The stealth indicators are quite useful and pretty extensive. There is a meter showing what Carter is equipped with so players always know what devices are available for use. Russian agents depend on light and sound to find Carter, so hiding in the shadows is one of the best methods of protection. Remaining quite can also save your life; simply the snap of a finger or simply throwing an object will send the Russian agents running.

Sneaking around in the shadows doesnít exactly take much intelligence or require much thought, and Cold War takes this shadow system to an extreme. Dramatic lighting contrasts would be prime here, so that there are definite shadow areas, but instead the entire game has a dark, shadowy feel. The character models are average, but nothing to get excited about. The graphics arenít horrible, but they arenít the graphics you would expect in a highly functioning stealth game such as this.

While the enemy artificial intelligence is pretty intense, it does have its shortcomings. There are times when the enemy will walk right by the target; this shows the extreme lacking of the enemy AI. They are quick to spot and come after Carter, but often place themselves right in his line of fire. Basically, the enemy AI is extremely predictable and isnít that believable.

Average gameplay

Russian communism

While the game play is not bad overall, the thing that will really get to the player are the cut scenes. The story begins with animated still images that donít really draw players into the story. There is no tension or excitement generated from the start, making it difficult to get into the game.

Cold War is an interesting form of stealth action, but by basing the game on the Splinter Cell Series, the game is definitely lacking in comparison. Graphics are difficult and the enemy artificial intelligence isnít worth much, but the game does have decent stealth mechanics, has some interesting gadgets to play around with, and a story-line that occasionally throws in surprises to keep you on your toes. While the game offers interesting and fun play, it is just as frustrating as it is fun.

Top game moment: The absolute best thing about Cold War is the chance to make an exciting and yet irregular gadget or weapon from the strangest objects. Who would have though you could make a bow and arrow out of a telephone cord and a pencil? When you kill an enemy with a contraption like that, all you can do is laugh out loud.

by Paul
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