At last year's E3 when the 360 was unveiled by Microsoft, THQ was one of the first to really hop onto the console and commit a number of games. One of these was The Outfit and between then and now there wasn't all that much information released about the game. We knew it would be yet another World War II game and have individual characters to play from but not much else. Now the game has shipped we obviously know a lot more and while The Outfit does suffer a little from being an early game for a new generation console, it does what it set out to do very well.
Obviously being set in World War II the primary game storyline revolves around the Allies vs Nazi Germany. The developers have focused on keeping the game style generic rather than repeating history as many other games do and it has allowed them a lot of creative freedom. The problem is that the story seems a little slapped together and cliche rather than something interesting. The characters and cut scenes do play out well and keep the game ticking along, but it could have been better.
As expected, the title is played from a third person perspective and you primarily have control of one character. However there is a lot more to this game than just running and shooting. One of the coolest features of the game is the Field Points, allocated to you as you defeat enemies which can then be spent on various items to help you complete missions such as extra soldiers or tanks. In most missions you have limited supplies available at first, but as you progress you gain the ability to ask for more options and weaponry.
Those who have played the Battlefield range of games will be right at home, because The Outfit really does feel like a fully fleshed out single player version of that game. You have various points which need to be captured by holding the points, which in turn gives you access to more vehicles and weaponry. The enemy can capture these back to make the mission harder so it's a very dynamic game. Also, when your character dies, you will start the game again at the last checkpoint, but without enemies coming back. It's almost impossible not to finish a mission in the outfit as despite the amount of times you die, eventually you will shoot all the enemies. This has pros and cons but does keep the game continuously flowing and interesting.
There are a few problems with the game however and many stem from the fact it is so like Battlefield, which is primarily a multiplayer game. The first is that all the missions really do feel the same. At the core, you move from point to point, capturing them and ending the mission. When you first start playing you will love this style of play, but progressing further and further into the game demonstrates just how lacking in variety the storyline is. However it does make it perfect for both head to head and co-operative play, both available with Xbox Live Gold membership.
The variety of missions also leaves a bit to be desired with most missions taking place in small German towns. However with that said, they are almost fully destructible and it somewhat adds to the authenticity. If you hide behind a wall, most likely it won't survive long and you will have to move on. The game also has a cartoon style to it with the graphics reflecting that of a television show rather than a hard war movie which other games try to reflect. The game is not supposed to be taken seriously as a war game and is more a brute game where you take one super charged character and take on the whole German army. Chances are everyone will play this game differently. It is a fairly open ended title in terms of how you take the enemy on, but in terms of options for traversing the terrain, it is extremely linear.
The Outfit does suffer from the fact it's one of the first games for the new console, but THQ have done a competent job in bringing a unique World War II game to the system and they have to be commended for at least not going down the path of first person shooter ala COD and Medal of Honor. It's action all the way with this one and it will provide at least a few hours of fun gameplay.