Advanced Battlegrounds Future Combat – NoGRP (Full ISO/2005)
PC | 2005 | Publisher: DreamCatcher Interactive | Developer:Techland |
Genre: Sci Fi First Person Shooter
Theres not much thats advanced about Advanced Battlegrounds: The Future of Combat. And when you get down to it, theres not much thats new about it, either. Despite the fancy name, Advanced Battlegrounds is simply a repackaging of the 2003 first person shooter Chrome. Theres nothing notable or new here that we could detect, aside from the fact that its now been patched to address some of the stability issues from the original release. Unfortunately, the passage of more than a year hasnt made the gameplay of Chrome any better.
In Advanced Battlegrounds, you assume the role of Bolt Logan, mercenary to the ruthless corporations that run outer space. After being double crossed by his old partner, Logan hooks up with a new one and takes jobs to protect the miners looking for chrome, the most valuable substance in the universe, though its still not quite clear what exactly chrome is or what it does. Anyway, its hard to like Logan, mainly because he comes off as a complete jerk. Hes not even a lovable jerk. Just listen to the way he constantly puts down his partner Carrie, and youll wonder why it is they even bother sticking together. Still, though poorly conveyed, the games plot does show some promise, especially in the way it branches near the end, allowing you to decide which faction to side with.
Ultimately, Advanced Battlegrounds comes down to Logan traveling to a planet and blasting his way through huge outdoor and indoor levels with a variety of weapons. However, its not all about shooting. One of the interesting aspects of the game is that you can loot bodies, RPG style. This means that instead of simply picking up any weapons and ammo that the enemy dropped, you can search him for equipment. It also means that its practically impossible to run out of ammunition, medkits, or even weapons, as you can always loot enemy bodies along the way. Logan also has access to different implants that can improve his abilities such as hardening his skin against damage or toggling heat vision to see through walls and these have their obvious uses in places
As with most first person shooters, the heart of the game is in the combat, and in this regard, Advanced Battlegrounds is a lackluster affair. Even though you can be armed with a variety of pistols, shotguns, submachine guns, and assault rifles, most of your weapons feel decidedly underpowered. However, this wont stop the enemy from being hurled into the air, as the rag doll physics are over the top in this regard. It doesnt help that the AI is a bit frustrating, alternating between complete ignorance of the fact that some of its buddies may have just been blown up a hundred feet away and knowing your exact position at all times. The latter can cause some headaches when youre going room to room in a building and the AI fires on you the split second a door opens. And in terms of tactics, the AI doesnt do much other than stand its ground, crouch, and shoot at you. It doesnt look for cover or fall back when wounded, so its fairly easy to take enemies down. Meanwhile, you dont have to worry so much about the damage enemies inflict upon you, as the tactic of loading up on medkits and activating them before a fight still works. Basically, even if you are at full health, you can activate several medkits, and theyll delay their healing effect until you start to sustain damage.
Logan does have access to some cool implants, such as heat vision, which allows him to see through walls.
There are also vehicles in the game to help you speed through some of the larger outdoor environments. These include a speeder bike, an armed transport, and a two legged walking tank. While some of these vehicles look good, theyre a mess to handle, as the driving controls and vehicle physics are awkward. Its far too easy to slam into objects by accident, whether theyre buildings, trees, or rocks. Meanwhile, the vehicle combat isnt that exciting. For example, theres one notable vehicular sequence in which an AI character is driving and youre manning the main gun as you move through an enemy base, and the entire affair feels like a low speed police chase with no energy, despite all the attempts by the music to rouse you.
Graphically, the game hasnt changed at all, which is both good and bad. There are portions of Advanced Battlegrounds that still look quite sharp, in particular the lush forests and jungle terrain. However, other parts of the game look downright crude in comparison especially the facial animations, which look like the artists just pasted some textures on a flat polygon. The sound effects are another issue, as most of the weapons sound weak and underpowered, and the music is completely forgettable. And to compound things, the voice overs sound like they were recorded by actors who just werent trying. You get the feeling that youre supposed to relate more to these characters, but that is completely undermined by the poor quality of the voice acting.
The multiplayer in Advanced Battlegrounds is still limited to the traditional gameplay modes of deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture the flag, and domination. Despite the fact that Chrome has been available for over a year, there are barely any servers online, and most of them are empty throughout large parts of the day. And theres still not a lot of content to chew through in terms of maps and such. Finally, despite the fact that Advanced Battlegrounds is the patched version of Chrome, there are still a few crash bugs, as well as some inordinately long load times, even on machines that far exceed the minimum recommended specs.
Though Chrome showed a lot of potential in 2003, its current incarnation feels dated. Chrome benefited from the fact that so many high profile shooters were delayed until 2004. But then 2004 arrived, and the genre made a huge leap forward with games such as Half Life 2 and Far Cry, which raised the bar for graphics, physics, animation, and AI. Prior to this evolution, the gameplay in Chrome displayed some promise. But its left in the dust of its competitors in 2005.
Minimum System Requirements
System: PIII 800MHz or equivalent
Video Memory:32 MB
Hard Drive Space: 1700 MB
Recommended System Requirements
System: P4 1.5 GHZ or equivalent
RAM: 512 MB
Video Memory: 64 MB
Other: DX 9 compatible sound card