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Are you going to buy an Xbox One X This Holiday Season?

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Hope to Receive it as a Gift


Game Profile
FINAL SCORES
5.2
Visuals
3.0
Audio
5.5
Gameplay
4.0
Features
7.0
Replay
3.0
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
PlayStation 2
PUBLISHER:
3DO Company, The
DEVELOPER:
3DO Company, The
GENRE: Action
PLAYERS:   1-2
RELEASE DATE:
June 26, 2001
ESRB RATING:
Teen
 Written by Adam Woolcott  on July 17, 2001

Full Review: Come fly (and get blown up in) the (not so) friendly skies.


On the prior PlayStation system, one of the most crowded and stale genres was the ?vehicular combat? genre made famous by Twisted Metal. The saturation of mediocre ?blow stuff up? games put a damper on a once hot genre. By the end of the PSOne cycle and the beginning of the PS2's, the car/plane/whatever combat genre was dead. But here is 3DO, sneaking in a second World Destruction League game, WarJetz (note ?hip? spelling). The first WDL game, Thunder Tanks, was an average one-player game with an entertaining 4-player deathmatch that made up for it, but still didn't sell very well, perhaps due to the 3DO name. In-between the WDL releases came a little game called Twisted Metal Black, which didn't help matters much.

But anyway, back to WarJetz. Unlike Thunder Tanks, WarJetz uses planes instead, taking the emphasis off of ground combat and putting it in the air. And while the game is good for some mindless fun, there is nothing here that is going to bring the player any true replay value ? some missions are boring and repetitive, and in some cases the objectives are rather confusing to understand. Tack on barely average PS2 graphics, clunky control and poor sound effects and you get a game that isn't terrible, just mediocre. There are some neat and creative ideas here, just not enough to justify spending the money purchasing it. If you must get a game such as WarJetz, buy Twisted Metal Black instead.

The premise of WarJetz is sorta original ? in a post-apocalyptic world (no this isn't the original part), a World Destruction League is formed and rival gangs compete against one another. It's sort of like a futuristic sports game. There's even play-by-play, done by the almost prerequisite straight (wo)man and nigh-psychotic color commentator. The gangs fight for money, territory, and championships.

WarJetz has a handful of different play modes ? the main Campaign, a capture-the-flag contest, a ?most stuff you can blow up? game, a money collection hunt, and a mode where you're to blow up as many enemy planes as you can get. Unfortunately, none of the modes, except for Campaign maybe, are really spectacular, and can be tedious to complete. There's multiplayer also, but not what you'd expect - the 4 player deathmatches have gone by the wayside in favor of a 2-player version. Thus, the one truly great aspect of Thunder Tanks is not applicable here. All the modes, besides Campaign, can be played 2-player.

Interestingly, you don't have to use a memory card to save your progress - a password will do the trick. It might be strange in this era of memory cards and hard disk drives, but if you have no room for more saves, or have no memory card, this might come in handy. Though the game says you need 1 MB on the card ? it took less than 100 K for my save. Weird.

As mentioned, Campaign is the ?deepest? area of WarJetz. The premise is simple; pick your aircraft, choose one of a set number of locations. If you can complete the objectives given to you, you'll clear the area and join a rival gang. Each objective is different ? sometimes you'll need to capture a bunch of flags and return them to your base, other times you'll have to destroy or accomplish something specific to the area ? such as blowing up all the Zeppelins in one level.

There's 33 different arenas, spanning the globe; from NYC, to San Francisco, to Germany, Antarctica, and many more. There's definitely not a shortage of variety in levels ? just not a lot of variety in gameplay.

Of course, WarJetz has a load of weapons at your disposal ? there's no shortage of nukes and other assorted weapons of mass destruction. One nice feature is a ?plane switch? marker ? in mid air you can just collect the icon and just like that you're in another aircraft (that you choose before a level). This is pretty useful if you find yourself running low on health, or if the plane you chose isn't very good.

If your plane does run out of health and you die, the game will continue ? as long as you have enough Bux to buy another one. See, each plane has a particular ?Bux? value. And if you destroy your plane, you'll need to buy another one for the same price as you pay before the level starts. If you don't have enough Bux, then it's game over. You can collect extra Bux in your missions, thus you'll be able to get more money as you progress, creating a slightly larger margin for error. This is actually a pretty nice element 3DO included, something a little different than the usual ways of dealing with deaths and the end of games. If you can collect the Bux, you can play on. Still, it's too bad that it is so tedious..

Really, despite all the interesting things WarJetz has, it's still got some serious issues. For one thing, blowing up stuff can only go so far before you get bored of the thing; it doesn't help that the objectives tend to repeat themselves. After a while, capturing all the flags, bombing everything in sight, etc. can become annoying, as is dealing with the large amount of dumb deaths due to flaky control. 3DO claims a ?pick up and play? system, but for the most part it takes getting used to, and is not as precise as it could be. Trying to navigate through areas can be a hassle due to a low allowable altitude, which may result in an unnecessary crash. And since the planes are so difficult to turn as well, it makes lining up for either an attack or item collection somewhat of a chore. It's easy to look like you're right on something, but fly right past it or over it. That's more of a combination of the graphics and control, but on both counts it can get to be a pain. Maybe if the control was more accessible, the game might be a little more fun instead of tedious. The combination of frustrating controls and repetitive gameplay is the kiss of death for a game such as WarJetz.

The upside is that the other levels are 2-player, which adds some more playtime to it. Going head to head with a friend is a much more exciting experience. It definitely would have been better if it was 4-player, but that didn't happen. Too bad there isn't a 2-player campaign co-op mode. That would have definitely been a major plus in the replay department.

At the very worst, WarJetz, like the Bouncer, is good for some quick mindless action. Those moments when you just want to blow stuff up are perfect for a game such as this. Nothing that involves a lot of thinking, just that twitch gameplay that is good for 10 minutes of stress relieving. Its just there isn't enough long-term value here to supply you with enough gametime for your dollar. And with TMB laying around for the same price, you get a lot more action and entertainment for the money.

Unfortunately, WarJetz doesn't make up for a lack of depth with pretty graphics. What's there is rather rough and bland ? closer to a high-end PSOne game than even a 1st generation PS2 game. Everything is dark, with lots of browns and blacks, but those fit the tone of the game's atmosphere well. However, everything is murky and messy, with yucky textures. The explosions are nice and the effects of the weapons are so-so, but the planes are poorly detailed and bland. It's not horrible, but it's still disappointing. WarJetz is far from a good showing of the power of PS2. The intro looks nice though.

The pedestrian sound effects aren't much more satisfying; they're incredibly forgettable in fact. I suppose forgettable is better than being so bad you never forget them, but the explosions and crash sounds are nothing spectacular. The commentary has a strong point ? the color commentator Jimmy ?Hellcatz? Jackson is bizarrely funny and completely believable in that psychotic old pilot gimmick. Too bad the female play-by-play announcer isn't as good, but hey they made her look good. No wonder Jimmy always looks so happy, cross-eyed and everything.

Bottom Line
WarJetz is your typical ?blow s?t up? game in pretty much every way. It's not horrible, but it's incredibly forgettable and bland. It might appeal to those who love to use airplanes for destruction (in video games of course), and the hardest of the hardcore vehicular combat fans, but for most it's a decent rental title for a weekend with a friend, using the much more interesting multiplayer modes. There are a lot of creative ideas in place here, but they aren't important enough to save WarJetz from being mediocre. Patient players may enjoy the length and assorted objectives, and for others it might be good for quick mindless fun, but most will find that there isn't much life to this game beyond the first few plays. Maybe there should be a Thunder Tanks vs. WarJetz sequel and then 3DO can finally do it right?Maybe.


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