|Publisher: Virtual Programming Genre: Adventure & RPG|
|Min OS X: Any Version CPU: G3 @ 350 MHz RAM: 128 MB|
Other variables that affect your character are your amour class and hit points. Your amour class reflects the enemies chance to hit you, and your hit points are akin to vitality - once you run out its lights out.
Now, on too perhaps the best gameplay element of AW, the weapons. You won't be casting Level 10 Fireballs here; instead, you'll be unloading with the likes of flesh-pummeling guns. The different classes of guns you can wield throughout the game include pistols such as a Walther PPK, machine guns like the MP 40, Rifles including the Mauser 98k, automatic rifles such as the MG42, and my favorite, heavy weapons such as the Panzerfaust 30 (German-accented war cry not included). You will also be able to use a flame-thrower, both German and American grenades, smoke grenades, and two kinds of mines.
Weapons are not the only thing you can pick up through the course of the game. There are first aid kits, tool kits, gun boxes, food, bottles of wine, and many unassuming items you can snatch up that may serve a higher purpose later on...Navigating the world of AW is at times both easy and nerve racking. The HUD of the game is very similar to Fallout. In the top left are your special skills such as Rage and Whirlspin. In the top right are your team members along with their health bars. The bottom section of the screen consists of a panel that holds your most important functions. From here you are displayed your active weapon along with its ammo count, and the weapons wear rating. A weapons wear rating is its durability. After prolonged usage your weapons will degrade and eventually break. To counter this, you are able to repair weapons if you have the skills or items. There is a quick-item select strip in which you can quickly access 7 items without having to open your inventory. Above that are your endurance meter, special skill charge meter, hit points, and EXP points. The bottom left holds a series of buttons that allow you to save your game, quit, load, options etc. You also have a weapon repair and a reload button on the bottom panel. The HUD works fairly well, and isn't a hindrance most of the time. However, I sometimes felt the HUD took up too much of the screen.
There is also your inventory screen. Here, there are 4 tabs each holding a different screen with information/items. Your inventory tab shows all the items you have on the particular character, and this is where you will equip them. Your Statistics tab shows your characters attributes such as health, class, and amour class. The Diary tab is where your first recruited teammate Johann keeps notes on quests, conversations, codes and other important information. The Maps tab holds a map of your current area, and there is also a larger map of Europe showing you the places you have visited.
Non-combat actions are handled with particular icons that override your mouse icon showing available actions. You can either walk or run in the game, but running will deplete your endurance meter (it regenerates). I found walking to be too slow and running to be too fast.
Combat in AW is both dull and poorly done. Upon confronting hostiles, the game freezes and allows you to give your men orders. The default combat mode is "lazy" mode. This basically translates to you simply having to click your cursor on an enemy and your character will attack relentlessly until either it or the enemy is dead. The other combat mode is "normal" in which you have to manually attack by control clicking on the target for it to execute. If you sissy up, a running option is available. Don't be surprised though if the Nazi's hunt you down and teach you not to be a "feigling."
The problem with combat itself is that when you are using melee weapons (more so when both you and your attacker have melee weapons) is that due to either poor path finding issues or just plain poor programming, your character will often times do a "circle of death dance" in which it spastically circles the enemy trying to get a hit in. It gets even worse when the enemy has a melee weapon, as both of you are locked in this "circling dance of death" until someone kicks the bucket. This is both jarring and awkward. Ranged combat doesn't have this problem for the most part, but it has its share of annoyances as well. Ranged combat lacks any sense of urgency, as both your character and the enemy just stand there taking potshots. Special skills help liven things up but it still can't save the combat from mediocrity. That goes for most of the game as well. Even the few instances of pleasant and unique gameplay mechanics can't compete with all the bad. The game's annoyances build up the more you play until you start asking yourself why you are even playing this game. And that's never a good sign.
Graphics: As Good As it Gets
Another War's graphics aim to satisfy, and for the most part they do. The modest system requirements and no graphical-tampering options make the playing field even for everyone, somewhat refreshing. Resolution is stuck at 800x600, but that is not a problem, thankfully. All of the environments are pre-rendered like Baldur's Gate, so fixed camera angles will have to suffice. The environments and items are all high-resolution, which is very pleasing to the eyes. From the townhouses to the forests to the dungeons, wood looks like wood, metal appears hard and cold. The only issue I have with the graphics are the character models. They appear plump and human like, but it appears as if they were blue-screened onto the environments. Interacting (such as running) through the locales just does not look right nor realistic. The character animation is also lacking. Running left/right and up/down look fine, but once you start doing odder angles of movement and changing directions on the fly, the game chokes and movements appear glitchy and stuttery. I tested Another War on both a G4 450 and an iBook 800 and the game was smooth as butter, except for the occasional movement stutter.
Audio: Bring me the Jazz Musician's Head
I wasn't quite sure what music I was expecting coming into this, but it sure wasn't Jazz. The game is loaded with it. From roaming the town to the graveyard, Jazz booms in the background. This is not the good kind of Jazz either. The first hour into the game its fine, almost makes you feel like your sneaking around and the such, but after that, its painful. I turned it off and never looked back 2 hours into the game.
Sound effects themselves are average, nothing that comes to mind as spectacular or horrible. You will hear your character run on cobblestone streets, and gunfire sounds like gunfire, if a little bit muted. Character voices are over the top, but not so out of place that it ruins the mood of the game. The Jazz took care of that. For the most part, AW sits itself right smack dab in the middle in terms of audio. Itís a shame too; some better music could have inspired me to actually want to kill Nazi's.
Itís not often that the Mac gets a full-fledged RPG, let alone one set in WWII. However, its with after enduring the very definition of mediocrity that I can tell you AW is not worth your money, and that your hard earned cash would be better spent on Baldur's Gate II. If you already have it and crave something else, go play BG II again. As I mentioned earlier, AW has some clever gameplay ideas, but the sheer amount of annoyances slowly crush the game, leaving you with something that would have been a fun diversion two years ago, but as it stands, stay away.