Midway is usually a solid publisher and has developed and released a number games over the past few years that I have personally loved, from Psi-Ops to the last two Mortal Kombat games. They also have a lot of promising titles in the works like Stranglehold, BlackSite: Area 51 and of course Unreal Tournament 3 from developer Epic Games. However, their latest release, the WWII shooter Hour of Victory from developer nFusion Interactive, is an example of a game that was either rushed out to be released before it was done or a concept that should have been canceled beforehand.
Hour of Victory already joins a crowded list of previous WWII shooters; two more (Medal of Honor: Airborne from EA and Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway from UbiSoft) are due for release later this year. Even an alternate history WWII shooter (Turning Point: Fall of Victory from Codemasters) is due for release this year. However, I think it's pretty safe to say that Hour of Victory is one of the worst games in this genre to be released this year or any year.
The concept of Hour of Victory's single player campaign is that a three man team, each with a specialty, take on the Germans in a variety of missions and locations, from North Africa desert to a snowy European castle to a bombed out urban area. The idea is that each of your three special ops members can do something a little different that just shoot the Nazis. You have a strong commando, a sneaky covert ops member and a sniper to get up high. nFusion and Midway decided to simply design the game so that you play the same missions and the same levels just ever so slightly differently. You can still complete the game with any of the three members and never switch between them and there's little replay value to be had by playing the same game again with another one of the three members (new Xbox achievement points not withstanding).
This wouldn't be so bad if the game itself was entertaining but Hour of Victory is your standard shooter in every single aspect. The story feels like it comes out of a Sgt Rock comic, the settings are ugly and almost painful to look at to the eye and worst of all the AI of your enemy is completely broken. A lot of the time Nazi foes will run right past you, turn around and then fire one round before ducking. What? There was no attempt to give any of the enemies in this game any kind of thoughts whatsoever. It's clear that the AI is unscripted but the problem is that your foes don't seem to know where you are or where anything else in the map is.
Multiplayer is an afterthought in Hour of Victory, you have Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and a bomb mode called Devastation (teams try to control a bomb to take out the other team's targets on the map) We tried to find a multiplayer match online but were unsuccessful and we think you will be as well. The game is supposed to use Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3 but at times it looks like it uses the first generation of Epic's graphics tech. Character models are OK but lighting, textures and level design are sub-par, proving that even if you have Epic's high end technology it's only as good as the developer who uses it.