“Jimmy Carter? What in the world could Jimmy Carter have to do with this?” I asked myself incredulously as the introductory screen flashed in front of me. Certainly I had grown accustomed to famous, thought-provoking inspirational quotes from former Presidents and military leaders through time after having seen dozens of them in each of the Call of Duty games that I had played before, but seldom, if ever, had I seen one presented through the rose-colored glasses of the utterly pacifistic and inept Jimmy Carter. The quote, “We cannot be both the world’s leading champion of peace and the world’s leading supplier of the weapons of war,” was my first inkling of the disaster that was yet to come.
I’m getting ahead of myself, though. The game in question, “Shadow Harvest: Phantom Ops” from Black Lion Studios bills itself as offering a “refreshingly different approach to the Stealth-Action genre.” That seemed compelling enough at first glance, but as I dug deeper into the story, I started to wonder. “Let’s see,” I thought to myself, “I’m a lone assassin dropped into a war-torn country being devastated by an evil arms dealer. Yep, that’s sure a Far Cry from any story I’ve ever heard before. Oh, and it’s a mix of action and stealth? Wow, that will really Splinter the Cell of the genre!” Another warning bell was chiming....
But, as anyone who knows me well can tell you, I’m “refreshingly” open minded and possess nearly infinite patience when confronted with ineptitude, incompetence, and irritating inadequacy.
Which is to say, if I’m being honest, that I am anything but.
I pressed on anyway. It started well enough as I was presented with a nicely rendered scene of a helicopter chugging along over water, presumably delivering me to whatever backwater dictatorship that was in need of overthrowing. Such eventually proved the case and I soon found myself riding in a jeep, listening to some of the worst voice acting since William Shatner read A Tale of Two Cities - the Braille Version. Note: Shatner doesn’t actually know Braille - he was actually reading dots from the pages. Thank goodness for the subtitles! Without them, I would have had to rely on the utter ubiquity of the premise to figure out what was going on.
In the end, it wouldn’t have mattered.
That’s a little literary device that I used there. It’s called foreshadowing, and you could be forgiven for just stopping right here now that you know how this is going to turn out. Stick with me, though. I had to endure this thing so you won’t have to, so the least you can do is hear me out.
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