|System: PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Zipper||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Sony||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov 2006||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 - multi online||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|Review by Colin||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
By Colin Thames
Combined Assault has a good pedigree. The last three games in this series of action-based, tactical shooters were of high quality. While they were focused on the multi-player aspect of the gameplay, Combined Assault features an all new single-player campaign that is diverse, lengthy and also sports an online four-player, co-op mode. The online multi-player modes remain largely the same aside from some spit and polish. If it aint broke, dont fix it. But at the same time, is asking some players to fork over full price for a just a single-player mode justified? In this case yes. There are enough improvements and new features to make both the online and offline modes more fun and exciting. Those that are getting into this series for the first time are getting the cream of the crop as Combined Assault is the culmination of four years of continual refinement on what was originally a hell of good game.
In the single-player mode you will be taking on various enemies from a fictional country located in the middle of the nest of those other Stan countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kazakhstan (dont shoot Borat). The missions have a great variety and sense of freedom to them. Even though you eventually have to complete all of the main missions you can juggle the order in which you perform them which makes it feel as though youre not just blindly following orders from central command. As the leader of a four-person squad, you are the one issuing the orders to your AI-controlled comrades. The missions are standard military fare such as recon, securing areas, killing enemies, gathering intelligence, search and destroy and capturing enemy officials. Several side missions present themselves to keep things interesting and create a sense of realism and randomness.
The map is huge and there are several ways to approach these missions in terms of logistics. Before each mission you will have to decide which weapons and equipment will best suit your needs. If youre going to be doing some stealth and picking off enemies from a distance you are going to need a sniper rifle. If youre doing some running-and-gunning you might want to consider some automatic weaponry, grenades and some pistols. Night missions will require night-vision goggles. You will have a lot to inventory to choose from but you have to make sure you have the right tools for the job as you cant take it all with you.
Youre AI teammates do a fine job of holding their own but the programming is not perfect. Sometimes they fail to obey commands and in tight quarters such as hallways, they tend to bunch up and get stuck making it impossible to move. In situations like this it feels like Im leading the Three Stooges in some epic war comedy. You have the ability to issue commands from the menu but theres a much easier and more convenient way. Situations will arise in which commands can be made instantly and in real time because there are only a few possible choices. All you have to do is point and click like an adventure game. Pointing at an area such as a door will access the command to open it. Press the button and one of your squad members, will open it. This speeds things up considerably and maintains a consistent level of realistic continuity. Orders can also be issued with the USB headset if you want to go for more authenticity. This new system works great, even though its not exactly perfect.