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It was with great surprise that I opened my mailbox and discovered Warpath was the next item in the review queue. Surprise not from the fact I held a spin-off from the b*****-child of gaming…

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10
PC Review

Warpath Review

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It was with great surprise that I opened my mailbox and discovered Warpath was the next item in the review queue. Surprise not from the fact I held a spin-off from the b*****-child of gaming that was Pariah in my hands, but from the fact that this game had been released over a year ago. So how does Warpath age? Like a fine wine? A mold-crusted brie? Well-aged whiskey? More like that moldy-jar of mayonnaise in the back of the fridge that no one wants to touch.The premise of Warpath involves three races: the Kovos, Ohm and Human Coalition. Apparently they’ve all touched down on the same planet, the Kaladi system, and are now set on “a deadly collision course.” That collision course involves the obvious system of combat that future generations will have to engage in: capture the flag, deathmatch and base a*ault. The point here is that while Warpath includes a storyline, it doesn’t really serve much purpose. The single-player “campaign” is just a grid-based, bare-bones strategy element barely worth mentioning.But at the same time, it has to be mentioned since the campaign is going to be just about the only way to play the game. With respect to multiplayer, the game works perfectly fine online but there’s just no one to play against. In a dozen attempts at finding someone, anyone online, the same servers were seen sitting empty in the vast-wastes of the Internet. Sure, bots will populate the server in the absence of human opponents but why waste the bandwidth when that could be used to download better, more worthwhile and more popular games?There are reasons, of course, of why Warpath has been forced down this lonely path. The main is that the game is, by and large, unremarkable in just about every aspect. The three game modes are standard shooter fodder and every element of the three modes is done better by at least a dozen other shooters on the market. If players force themselves to play the game they may find their concentration not on the objective at hand but instead wondering how much longer they’ll be forced to play this “thing.” The gameplay is tedious and presented as nothing more than a regurgitated cycle of itself. Especially in base a*ault, players will find that after easily destroying the enemy base once they are forced to go through the same exact motions two more times to finish the round.And typically that wouldn’t be a problem except the AI in Warpath makes even the most menial of tasks seem like a chore. In every difficulty except the hardest, the AI will travel in small fire teams around the map. They may shoot at you, they may not. It all depends on their mood. Remember the aforementioned control points? It’s not uncommon to see both friendly and hostile NPCs crouched at the point waiting to capture it with neither firing a shot. No attention is given to the fact that their supposed mortal enemies are only feet away. Ratcheting things up to the hardest difficulty makes them a bit more hostile but players will still be blankly stared at as they waste the bad guys.And that’s another thing. Warpath’s weapons, all six of them, just aren’t very satisfying. There’s no oomph behind them. Granted, this is due more to the sub-par sound effects but there’s just no cure for a rocket launcher that lacks decent splash damage. Weapons are upgradeable but in some cases the upgrades make them worse. In one instance, a rapid-firing energy gun is “upgraded” into one that takes several seconds to charge and fires a horribly-slow moving projectile. If players aren’t killed waiting for it to fire then they will most certainly be after their foe crawls out of the path of their projectiles. There’s also a melee attack option but chances are players won’t even need to get that close to an enemy to knock them out of the fight.In terms of maps, Warpath does have a healthy selection of battlefields but underneath the veil of color palettes and names there are few differences between them. The layout of the hallways, stairwells and elevators seems similar on every map. There are smaller, outdoor environments sprinkled throughout the levels but their inclusion seems secondary, serving only to be a place where vehicles will spawn. Vehicles are effective at creating outdoor chokepoints due to their firepower but in most cases players can simply avoid the hassle by using indoor corridors. This limits the effectiveness of the extra armament and ultimately players will find themselves skipping their use all-together.From a presentation standpoint, Warpath clearly shows its age. Using the Unreal Engine 2.5 has done wonders for other games but here the only redeeming quality is that the character models don’t look that bland. The framerate is consistently smooth, due to the relatively-low system requirements, so Warpath may be an option for the budget PC gamer that hasn’t been able to upgrade their PC. Sound effects are present but are instantly forgettable. Weapons fire, the screams and hollers of impending death and the background music are all very generic.Perhaps the biggest crime against the retail release of Warpath is the fact that a free version exists that can be played as a flash download on certain sites. Why a company would bother selling a disc-variant of a game that has no online following when there is a free version online is beyond comprehension. Especially when, as of the writing of this review, there were 59 players online playing the flash version.Warpath doesn’t really have a lot going for it. Players that haven’t experienced shooters and have relatively ancient hardware may find something here to waste a few hours with. But anyone else that’s a fan of the genre should stay away. This title didn’t have anything going for it during its initial release and that hasn’t changed a bit over the course of a year.

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