Xbox One | 360 | XBLA  PS4 | PS3 | PSN  Wii U | VC    3DS  PS Vita  iOS    PC    Retro    

  » news
  » reviews
  » previews
  » cheat codes
  » release dates
  » screenshots
  » videos

  » specials
  » interviews

  » facebook
  » twitter
  » contests

  » games list
  » franchises
  » companies
  » genres
  » staff

Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

Xbox One X
Nintendo Switch
PlayStation 4

Game Profile
Epic Games
GENRE: First Person Shooter
December 11, 2007

Unreal Tournament III

Unreal Tournament III

Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict

Unreal Championship

Unreal Tournament

Half-Life 2
Unreal Tournament III
Unreal Tournament III
24: The Game
 Written by John Scalzo  on May 25, 2006

Specials: Old Man's War? Is that like another WWII shooter?

I first came across John Scalzi's name in Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine. I nearly did a spit take when I was thumbing through the Spin section of the magazine and saw what I initially thought was my own name listed as the author of the DVD and music reviews. I did a little digging (who was this man who almost had my name after all?) and found his Whatever weblog and became a fan.

Fast forward a few years and I see Old Man's War sitting on the shelf at the library. It has been in my pile of books to read almost since it was released. But when my fiancee showed me that the sequel (The Ghost Brigades) had just come out, I figured it was time to get cracking on the original.

While I'll be the first to admit that the name thing was part of the reason why I first picked up Old Man's War, I also thought the premise of the book was different. You see in the future, humanity has colonized the stars. But colonies will always need soldiers to protect them from native people who may not want to be colonized and from other worlds that might want to challenge your claim to a specific piece of land. That's where the Colonial Defense Force (CDF) comes in. The CDF knows the value of an experienced soldier. So if you so choose, on your 75th birthday you can join up and the CDF will give you a new body and send you to the stars to fight for the colonies.

What follows is a fast paced and humorous sci-fi yarn through old age, new life, action, adventure, boot camp, bug hunting and just plain fun. But I don't want to oversell it. What I want to do is mention that in addition to thinking it's an amazing book, I also noticed that Old Man's War has the potential to be a huge video game. Now if you had plans to read the book, I suggest you hit the Back button on your browser right now because I'm going to be diving pretty deep into the plot here.

Still with me? Good, let's move on.

While sending senior citizens on an interstellar bug hunt might make for some high comedy, it would make a very short sci-fi adventure. So Scalzi needed a way to make the old folks young again and to do that he puts them in modified humanoid bodies that feature the full superhuman options package. And these options would make any Old Man's War video game a very fun place indeed.

Starting at the most basic level, all soldiers in the CDF have enhanced strength, speed, stamina and sex appeal. The modifications mean these recruits no longer have blood coursing through their veins; they have SmartBlood, a chemical compound that instantly clots wounds to keep up battlefield readiness and carries twice as much oxygen to the brain compared to a normal human for extended underwater tours of duty.

When on the battlefield, their weaponry is standard hero star soldier stuff along with one awesome gun. Each soldier is equipped with a nanobot-mesh suit that absorbs enemy fire so they can take a licking and keep on ticking. But while body armor is standard fare for most sci-fi, the MP-35, the standard issue rifle of the CDF, is in a class by itself.

Most gamers will tell you that the big problem with any first person shooter is that the main character can carry eight different guns and still move like he only had one. Even if you're blasting the denizens of hell or Covenant soldiers, that's just plain unrealistic. The MP-35 solves this problem by using an ?ammo block? of nanobots that can turn the MP-35 into a rifle, shotgun, grenade launcher, rocket launcher, flamethrower or a Microwave Laser on the fly. Scalzi even includes a conversion chart in the book to show how the ammo block can be distributed between the six weapons. But how do you control such a weapon? That's where the BrainPal comes in.

The BrainPal is an organic computer implanted into every soldier's brain that places a Heads-Up Display (HUD) in front of each soldier that includes an aiming reticule, highlighted targets, distance markers and mission information. It's mapped almost perfectly to every FPS HUD out there. It is also a mini-computer, a communications device between you and your squadmates and an alien translation device. It and the MP-35 are almost every gamemaker's dream for an explanation of why things work the way they do in a game.

But it's not all small details and similarities that make Old Man's War a great book for an adaptation. Like most military novels, the narrative moves forward in a video-game like way. First you have your Basic Training/wargames, then you have your early battles where you're just a cog in the machine and then comes the ultimate test of a soldier's resolve and training. These battles take place against a variety of slimy (and not so slimy) aliens that would make George Lucas proud.

There's the Consu, humanoid aliens with two arms, two legs and actual shoulder blades that extend out of their necks like a scropion's tail. The Salong look like humanized deer that fight against humanity because they think we taste good in hamburger form. The Rraey are birdlike aliens that also have a penchant for human meat. The Vindi are giant spiderlike creatures and the Gandalians have big guns, big wings and big fangs? for eating humans.

If all the human eating didn't clue you in, Old Man's War also has a pretty wicked sense of humor, one of the things that I think is greatly missing from video games. Perry himself is a pretty funny guy and he even named his BrainPal "Asshole". While it might take an M rating to get most of the humor into the game, it would be worth it.

So between all of the action, the aliens and the humor there's a base for a pretty good game here. I recently talked with John Scalzi about his thoughts on Old Man's War and how it might work as a game, among other topics.

< previous | page 1 of 2 | next >

User Comments

Nintendo Labo Revealed As DIY Kit Combined With Nintendo Switch Games

Yakuza 6 Mini-game Trailer Shows off Some New Additions to the Franchise

Nintendo Reveals Three New Titles Enter Nintendo Selects Library

New Nintendo 2DS XL Pikachu Edition, Detective Pikachu and Detective Pikachu Amiibo Revealed

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Arrives on PC via Steam Next Month

Strikers Edge Will Be Released Later this Month on PS4 and PC

Nintendo Switch eShop Adds More Than 10 Titles as Well as Demos

Assassin’s Creed Rogue Remastered Officially Unveiled by Ubisoft

Of Mice and Sand - Revised From Arc System Works is now Available on Nintendo Switch

Fe Arrives Next Month on Consoles and PC from Zoink Games

Home    •    About Us    •    Contact Us    •    Advertise    •    Jobs    •    Privacy Policy    •    Site Map
Copyright ©1999-2012 Matt Swider. All rights reserved. Site Programming copyright © 2004 Bill Nelepovitz - NeositeCMS