Remember the days of first-person shooters on PS2? When it didn’t matter that your player’s hand looked like a cardboard collage of tan polygrams because you’d imagine the grandeur of the action anyway? When the environments keeping in the bullets from your weapons were limited to the technology of Sony’s second iteration? Most of all, when the stupidity of the AI didn’t matter? Well, Raid: World War ll has let me peer back into the past, revealing just how far first-person shooters have come and how unplayable they were back then. You might be asking why I’m treating Lion Game Lion’s newest FPS like a PS2 classic, and that’s because the game’s awful design and implementation resemble just that: a PS2 first-person shooter created in 2017 by the request of absolutely no one.
I don’t want to discredit the devs, but this new addition to an otherwise good track record is puzzling at best. Players start by entering a fortress and defeating the few guards who are there, and this also serves as the game’s almost insulting tutorial. Lines like “You can pick up ammo sometimes,” just made me cringe at how backwards Raid: World War ll really is. Upon entering the poorly rendered building, a run through of basic operations in the game starts and we’re introduced to a multi-faceted copy of Payday. This isn’t bad, after all Payday is a great strategic shooter, but the fact that this formula was stuck inside a lazily made and even graphically impaired mess is tragic. From this small base we can upgrade our player (a choice of four diverse characters), choose our loadouts, accept missions, and embark on adventures aimed at destroying the German forces while also taking some money for ourselves. What surprised me about this set up is the overall cheesy nature of the acting in the game. A cutscene explaining why we are doing what we’re doing is pretty much a constant bash at Nazis. This isn’t something that made me uncomfortable but rather something that took away from the experience (then again, it wasn’t much of an experience anyway). It wasn’t language usually describing serious themes like the war but rather jokingly cheesy dialogue which did nothing but make me ignore the scenes altogether. Even more, this nature of storytelling ended there, the creators set up a semi-interesting story, only to leave it in the dust by abandoning it. Altogether, I can definitely say that this game shouldn’t be played for its story. At all. It also should not be played for its bland action missions either.
Upon learning everything your dingy space has to offer, the game sets you out in an open ended supply of missions. These range from straight up deconstruction jobs to more concentrated heists of artifacts. These short twenty to thirty-minute missions (with a pretty fast pace) were exactly modeled after Payday’s many one-off missions. You’d think developer Lion Game Lion would have a bit more pride and experience in crafting these short missions, but no. The intensity of the missions was certainly there. The ramped up music and groups of aggressive, albeit objectively stupid, AI acting as mirages to an otherwise awful mission design. Stages were often cramped, claustrophobic, and allowed little room for that modern run and gun gameplay we’re all used to in today’s shooters.
There were many times while playing Raid: World War II that I asked myself “Why am I doing this?”, then I remembered that a voice constantly talking to me in my ear was telling me exactly why. There was no feeling, no emotion, not even a tiny bit of storyline in any of the missions, and nothing else kept me going except the pure fact that I had an obligation to review the game. Upon starting in one of the many missions, players are introduced to a myriad of tasks which they must complete. These tasks are extremely remedial and range from attaching rail carts to blowing up walls. Some are more grand as well (like shooting down bombers from the sky to defend a moving train), but like I said before, the graphical capabilities of Raid: World War II cut these seemingly large-scale action setpieces into ugly clumps of terrible textures.
Even more than the ugly graphics, terribly designed AI and difficulty tuning meant missions were quick run throughs with easily defeated enemies. Even the special enemies like flame soldiers were no match for my overpowered starting weapons and were reduced to even less when I upgraded my weapons and gear. Whatever balance which once permeated through the game, if there was any, did not show up in the final version. The AI was also just poorly done. Groups of ten or fifteen soldiers would randomly pop up in front of my eyes sometimes, bringing the immersion to an all time low. These soldiers weren’t even trying to get rid of me until they knew for sure I was there, right in front of them. Add this with some attempted stealth sections and Raid: World War II is the oldest game for PS4, despite being a brand new release. Most stealth sequences in the game happened at the beginning of missions and lasted a few seconds. This wasn’t because the AI was smart and I would get spotted, but rather I’d just let alarms go off because I was bored with the immensely easy challenge laid out in front of me. Upon being spotted, I had at least a minute to return to cover. I could touch an enemy sometimes and still be okay. This kind of thrown together coding and physics is exactly the type of stuff that games have grown way past. It was mistakes like this that made Lion Game Lion’s project possibly the worst FPS I’ve personally played in years.
With all of that said, I don’t want anyone thinking I was fabricating or making things up. Thinking I used hyperbole to embolden my statements. I truthfully can say that I wouldn’t recommend Raid: World War ll to anyone who has any gaming platform. FPS fans in particular would be insulted by the sheer lack of effort put into the game as a whole, and this disappoints me. Even though Lion Game Lion didn’t fully develop Payday 2, they still had a pair of DLC packs that made Payday 2 a bit more enjoyable for me. They don’t have the best history of successful games, but they were on the right track with those DLCs. That track has been fully demolished by the giant bomb that is Raid: World War ll. A game defined by its backward game logic, its nonexistent story, and its ugliness. Do yourself a favor and completely ignore this game as no real fun can be had with it.
Developer: Lion Game Lion
Publisher: Starbreeze Studios, 505 Games
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: 10th October 2017