A really hard game to judge.
NOTE: Ok so i will state right off the bat that i bought this game online off STEAM for US$2.50. Keeping in mind that i only paid that much for it, im not going to be talking about the game in terms of good or bad value as i have no idea what price any readers are looking to pay for it. That being said, on with the review!
STORY: The game takes place in the near future in a world where Oil is running dangerously low and the world has divided into more or less two separate superpowers. American and Europe on one side and Russia and China on the other. The worlds remaining Oil fields are located by the Caspian Sea and thus, this area is seen as a potential flashpoint for any conflict over control over the remaining Oil. This fear proves to be well founded when Russia and China invade across the Allied nations' boarder in an attempt to take the Oil fields. This initial attack, and the following Alliance counter attacks result in a massive war over control of the region. Essentially World War 3. The player takes control of a mute American Soldier, fighting for the Alliance, who is part of a company calling themselves the Stray Dogs. The game follows the player from the initial attack that begins the war and through the following counter attacks. The story will not be winning any prizes but it does a good enough job of keeping the game moving and its "ripped from the headlines" approach makes it relevant enough to matter.
GAMEPLAY: The game is a FPS and on the whole it feels like one. It takes a page from Battlefield and allows the player to take command of vehicles such as Jeeps, Tanks, Helicopters etc. One thing that i did like about the gameplay is that the maps are fairly open and thus allow the player a greater degree of freedom as to how they approach their objectives. Also, the objectives can often be completed in any order and this gives the game a non linear feel. The weapons in the game are mixed. Some feel very good such as the rocket launcher which can lock onto an enemy vehicle behind cover and take it out, however some weapons just don't feel very powerful. For example the main Assault Rifle the player is given right from the start feels weak and inaccurate and the Shotgun has no spread what so ever. This really lets the feel of the game down. The games major problem is the AI of both your team mates and your enemies. Your fellow soldiers will generally do nothing. They will fire in the general direction of the enemy, not hit anything and never do any special actions. Example, an enemy tank rolls into the gunfight, your allies will ignore it completely despite some of them being armed with anti armour weapons. Your enemies suffer the age old frustration of being able to hit you from the other side of the map when your not in their line of site. For a game made after other games such as most of the Call of Duty series, there is really no excuse for these sort of problems.
GRAPHICS/SOUND: Due to the age of the game, its graphics are looking a little bit dated and washed out. However the do the job well enough and don't detract from the game as a whole. The sound is one of the games shining stars. The battlefield echoes with heavy gunfire and troops shouting to each other. Explosions are clearly louder and the sound of tanks approaching will make you run for your life if your on foot and out in the open.
OVERALL: All in all the game is by no means a bad game. The problem is that, although it has some unique features, it doesn't really do a whole lot to capitalize on them. The game is also let down by some poor gameplay mechanics such as horrible AI and some less than great weapons. Also, certain missions should not have been put in the game such as a sniper mission when your on your own with no back up for a majority of the time. This game has the ability to really shine at times and really fall flat at others.
RENT or BUY? Rent it if you can, or buy it if you can find it for a low price.