First to Fight

First to Fight

Written by Phillip Ellis on 5/2/2005 for Xbox  

Close Combat: First to Fight is a game I have been following for a long, long time. I’ve been reading about it ever since Full Spectrum Warrior was released in hopes of it possibly coming close to Full Spectrum Warrior in terms of a realistic, modern military experience. While Close Combat does retain a somewhat realistic and modern military experience you can easily tell the difference in the quality of the games. Whereas Full Spectrum Warrior was very innovative in style and game play, Close Combat fails to capitalize on the opportunity. But somehow that is okay, because we are left with a very playable first-person modern military shooter.

Close Combat boasts a storyline set in the near future in Beirut, and it is closely similar to the storyline in Iraq or any other rogue nation that the United States will enter in the future to protect democracies worldwide. You are the squad leader, and you go into the missions armed with your most basic M16/203, a .45 pistol and some grenades. If you play on the harder difficulties you’ll definitely face some tough to beat AI enemy soldiers, and if you’re not very careful about what you’re doing you’ll meet your fate pretty quickly, so strategy and planning does come into play, especially the first time through the game when you have no idea where anyone is or what triggers who.

Close Combat has a decent graphics system, while not the greatest I’ve seen the engine is able to get the job done, but appears to show signs of age. The game does have dynamic lighting, and that adds a little bit to the graphics, but other than that nothing fully seems there. The soldier models are decently done, but not the best I’ve seen in a game, and nowhere near the graphical level of Full Spectrum Warrior. Where Full Spectrum Warrior boasted amazing graphics, with super realistic surroundings, Close Combat pits you in small rooms, small sewer tunnels and tiny rendered areas. This just proves the graphics capability is nowhere near that of Full Spectrum Warrior. It falls short in this category, but it is something that can be overlooked for the combat you’ll occasionally face.

The sound of the guns and the actual war time battles is on par, although nothing like the other ultra-realistic first-person shooters out there. This is war, right? So why are my soldiers acting all fine and dandy when they are shot at and saying things like ‘Red’ and ‘Green’ to tell me they are reloading. The makers of Close Combat should have taken a page from the book of Full Spectrum Warrior. A realistic war game should not be rated teen. War is not fun, and it’s hardly glorious. Soldiers die in battles, soldiers cuss when fired upon…. Something easily missing from this game. So if you’re looking for a dumbed down version of a war game because you have a little brother or something then this will work well for you here. The sounds of the guns are not that bad, but the sound of a rocket is ridiculously off key. I can barely tell when one is flying at me due to the almost silent sound, let alone actually see it that clearly. The rocket appears to be a blob flying at me, and that’s something I did not like in the second mission.
The computer AI, while at times is decent enough to play with, basically remains useless the entire game. While the enemy AI at times can be very tough to fight, there are times where they have lapses in judgment and simply let you shoot at them without ever firing a shot back at you. At the same time your extremely smart Marine soldiers who are supposed to act and behave like actual Marines typically do not cover your back as they are supposed to, or find cover when you find cover. This means your teammates aimlessly wander out in the middle of a street, something no Marine would ever do, straight into oncoming enemy fire ultimately leading to your entire team’s death and a mission failure.

Probably the biggest bright spot for Close Combat: First to Fight is they at least included adversarial multiplayer, something Full Spectrum Warrior did not. While at times it can be frustrating, simply because people will respawn right beside you to send you to your death because you aren’t looking, or you’ll respawn right in the middle of a firefight and quickly watch your own death. It takes too long to get a game started, either because people do not have the game yet, or nobody is buying this, so sometimes online can be a frustrating thing. Most of all, since it’s rated teen you run into the 8 year olds online who are playing and have no clue at all about what they are doing and will mow down your entire team…. With no mercy. This gets frustrating to say the least, but if you can get into a game with good people Close Combat First to Fight plays a good multiplayer game that will test your first-person shooter skills, and it keeps it fairly realistic online, though I’d just stick to the new Rainbow Six coming out for this type of action.

So while Close Combat First to Fight is a decent first attempt title, it fails to turn into a great game. It has flown in under the radar, and now I see why. I was looking forward to this game for some time, closely watching development and looking at screenshots only to be letdown by the final product. I believe I was spoiled by the awesome first-person multiplayer action in Rainbow Six 3, along with the amazing war-time battles in Full Spectrum Warrior. If you’re looking for a great modern war game pick up Full Spectrum Warrior, if you want an all-around amazing war game get Brothers in Arms, but if you simply are looking for a better first-person shooter than this, then pick up Rainbow Six Lockdown when it’s available in June.

Not to say that Close Combat is bad. With a little work this can become an excellent series in the future. For something so young I believe the series will continue to grow, and the developers will focus on what has been said in reviews and from the customers about the problems in the game, and will continue to fix it until they are available to release a great product. But they better work hard on it…. Because Full Spectrum Warrior 2.0 is getting closer, and closer… and it’s got adversarial online.
Decent first attempt for Destineer at this modern military combat game, but just falls up short in too many categories to be highly acclaimed. Easily worth a rent just for the storyline and combat aspect of the game.

Rating: 7.6 Above Average

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.


About Author

I guess since I am the new guy here I will introduce myself. Name is Phillip, but you can call me Phil, and/or Philly. It makes no difference to me because the girls prefer Philly. I have never been a writer on a review site per say, yet I have reviewed games for various websites over time. I own every console except for Nintendo because I enjoy blowing my money off for no reason. I was perfectly content with my Playstation 2 until one day, I just felt the need for a larger green box. On top of the consoles, I buy a new computer way too often, and probably have way too many. I sometimes believe there is enough technology and stuff in here to launch a nuclear warhead, and I would not doubt it. I currently reside in North Carolina, near Charlotte, with no idea where I will end up in the future!

Currently I am playing NFL Fever (XBox), Full Spectrum Warrior (Xbox), Rainbow Six 3 (Xbox), Fight Night 2004 (Ps2), and Joint Operations Typhoon Rising (PC).
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