Boy, does this franchise need a fresh shot in the arm. Hopefully it will come about with the upcoming Black Hawk Down since Task Force Dagger just rehashes all of the previous Delta Force games and does a pretty poor job at that. I hate to point fingers but the development crew at Zombie took the helm this time around with the development of Task Force Dagger and unfortunately, the game ends up being no better than Zombie’s previous Spec Ops, which is not good thing.Task Force Dagger takes place in the terrorists’ own backyard of Afghanistan. You are given the choice of selecting a soldier from ten different Special Forces Units. Each type of unit has its own unique strengths and come with their own preferred weapons profile. One nice feature is the ability to customize the weapons package, which in some cases is required to successfully complete objectives in certain missions. For example, one mission requires the demolition of communications structures and the only way to accomplish is through the use of a certain type of explosives, which can be selected before starting a mission. The prep stage starts the game on a positive note but as soon as you fire up a mission, things get ugly like a blind date from h**. The most glaring problem is the enemy AI – it’s awful. Now I must admit that there are times when an enemy will be a crack shot and take you out with one bullet, which is commendable but what happened to all the other elements of quality AI? I lost count of the number of times I was able to walk right up, behind an enemy terrorist and plug him without the guy even flinching! And the few times they do notice you, they always seem to be a few seconds too slow in firing at you, which gives you plenty of time to send them to Allah. Turning the difficulty level up a notch seems to make the game slightly more challenging but it doesn’t completely solve the problem since you’ll still encounter situations where the AI is no where to be seen. If you are a diehard Delta Force gamer and must own this game, spare yourself the joke of playing the game on the normal enemy AI level and notch it up to hard, otherwise you’ll be constantly wondering if they can make the AI any worse than it is.Since I am ranting and raving, I might as well continue to … rant and rave. Level design – why so many empty buildings and so few enemies? And what’s with repetitive use of the same f**gin tunnel under every airfield? There are times when you think you’ve already played the new level just one mission before since the levels make repeated uses of virtually the same underground tunnels. I felt like a d** mouse going through the same maze over and over again. If I didn’t know any better, I could swear that Task Force Dagger was originally designed as a multiplayer game and then someone decided the game would sell better if they added a single player option. Now there are a few levels that are worthy such as Operation Harakat, where you’re inside a Black Hawk helicopter and you get to clear out hostiles scattered throughout a village. The is the only time when you feel like the game is worthwhile, but unfortunately this is a case of being too little, too late.The multiplayer gameplay is okay but most online games just end up being snipe fests, which can get really annoying after a while. Why? Because players camp at distant locations and end up zeroing in on respawning spots for some very easy pickings. The size of maps and the lower quality of the graphics also makes getting a visual on a faraway enemy a chore. Multiplayer games consist of Deathmatch (plus Team version), King of Hill (plus Team version), Capture the Flag, Search and Destroy, Attack and Defend, and Flagball (similar to CTF, except only one neutral flag). If you are a sniper fan in multiplayer, you might like this online experience but be warned since everyone else is also sniping.Delta Force Task Force Dagger does have a few positive things going for it. In addition to the wide selection of Special Forces Units, there is also a very comprehensive array of weapons to choose from. You’ll find yourself trying out each weapon in order to find the ones to your liking. It’s also fun to give each weapon a tryout just to check out the sounds of the guns being fired. The game also features some realistic weapon effects such as scope drift, crosshair spread, and recoil. The amount of drift is based on your position (standing is worse while a prone position produces virtually no drift), crosshair spread comes into play when aiming while running, and recoil is obviously based on the firepower kick of the weapon. All of these features can be toggled on or off, but I found that they added nice touch of realism to the gameplay.The overall sound in the game is also very good. Besides the weapons, the voices are of a decent quality from the radio chatter for your mission objectives to the vocals coming from the terrorists when they spot you. The graphics on the other hand are as basic as it gets. They are the same as the previous Delta Force Land Warrior game, which won’t excite anyone but no worries for the future since the next Delta Force title, Black Hawk Down uses a vastly improved graphics engine.Unfortunately, the positives with Task Force Dagger don’t add up enough to compensate for the atrocious enemy AI and the fact that this game feels like it has already been done before in the Delta Force series. Unless you’re a diehard Delta Force gamer and feel compelled to play every game in the series, I would give Task Force Dagger a pass and wait for the much improved Black Hawk Down, which should be coming out later this year. Otherwise, you’ll be playing a game that is in many ways like an old dagger – it’s just too dull to appreciate.

Paul Younger
Founder and Editor of PC Invasion. Founder of the world's first gaming cafe and Veteran PC gamer of over 22 years.

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