Summary: Rage offers a team-based first person shooter that relies heavily on vehicle usage. Sounds familiar to a lot of other titles that have come out or are about to come out. Does Mobile Forces stand up to the competition? Read our review and find out!
Mobile Forces official home page: http://www.mobileforces.com/
Mod's the wordThe idea of modifying a game has been around for as long as games have. Take playing cards for example. You take a standard deck or cards (the engine) and you create rules around them (the mod) and you can have more games than you know what to do with (Poker, Blackjack, Hearts, Gin, etc.). Even games with a rulebook get changed. How many times have you started up a game of Monopoly only to lose because of an obscure house rule?
This type of modding has been a staple of electronic gaming too. Is there much difference between Pac Man and Ms. Pac Man? In modern PC games modding became popular with Quake 1, when id released tools that made map making and coding relatively easy. Anyone with a good idea and some spare time could make their own mod and be a game developer in their own right.
Modding launched many careers in gaming. For example, Team Fortress Software, creators of Team Fortress for Quake 1, merged with Valve Software to work on Team Fortress Classic for Half-Life and Team Fortress 2 (slated for an early 2010 release). Companies like Raven Software don't create games from scratch, but instead make very good games based on id Software's engines.
What's all this then?Mobile Forces falls into the category of Raven Software games. Using Epic's Unreal engine Rage Software converted Unreal Tournament from a multiplayer-only First-Person Shooter to… a multiplayer only First Person Shooter. Mobile Forces is different because it has guns! Capture the Flag! Red and Blue Teams! Ok, so they're not so different. Mobile Forces does have one major difference however - vehicles that players can drive and destroy. Is this enough to gain a recommendation from Firingsquad? Let's find out.
450 MHz CPU
128MB of RAM
32MB Video card
1 GHz+ CPU
512MB of RAM
GeForce2 or better
Cable/DSL for online play
Old and BustedMobile Forces uses the "latest Unreal-engine technology." Similar to id's Quake 3 engine, Epic's Unreal engine is licensed out to companies to use in their own games. Unreal isn't as prolific as Quake 3, but you can see it in games like America's Army. Licensed engine games tend to fall into two categories - great games that you don't realize are based on a game you've played before, and games that aren't much better than a mod. Which is Mobile Forces? Unfortunately, it's the latter.
Much of a game's graphical quality lies in its textures. Good textures can hide low polygon models, while bland textures can make the best models look dull. In Mobile Forces the vast majority of textures are lifeless. The characters are completely forgettable - the Quakeguy has more interesting textures. The same goes for the vehicles and buildings. There are a few good textures in Mobile Forces, namely the posters that decorate the maps. They feature some nice artwork, ranging from old western posters to warning signs.
On top of bland textures, the models are too big and blocky. The best examples are the vehicles. We can accept the fact that the wheels aren't round, but the rest of the vehicle doesn't need to resemble a Playmobil toy. The Humvee-like vehicle in Mobile Forces isn't nearly as good as its counterpart in Soldier of Fortune II (although you can't drive the SOF2 version). The player models and buildings/maps feel uninspired since they're worse than the original UT models.
False AdvertisingRage touts Mobile Forces' "superb vehicle physics," but I have to disagree. If you've ever played Halo on Xbox, you know what good vehicle physics are in an FPS games (you can't compare physics in a driving game, obviously). Vehicles in this game flip too easily, especially the faster ones. Run into a wall and you're likely to do a couple of flips (the vehicles will always right themselves without hurting passengers). Whenever you're in a collision the winner and loser seems to be picked at random - if you run a tiny dune buggy into a large truck you'd expect the winner to be the truck, but there have been plenty of times when I've seen the dune buggy win. Also, the vehicles like to slide a lot, with no relation to the surface they're driving on or how fast they're going.
Mobile Forces' sound effects are pretty weak. The gunfire, explosions, etc. sound more like an 8-bit Nintendo game rather than a modern FPS. Most of the sounds are hollow, and lack low and high frequencies to round them out. Imagine playing a game through AM radio. Not even the rocket launcher or vehicle crashes have good sound effects. The voices are OK since they serve a functional purpose, but the rest of the sound is amateur.
a = b
a2 = ab
a2 - b2 = ab-b2
(a-b)(a+b) = b(a-b)
a+b = b
b+b = b
2b = b
2 = 1
Answer on next page
The weapons in Mobile forces have serious balance issues. In general, they're all too strong. If every weapon in the game can kill a fully armored opponent in a few shots, there's something wrong. The basic weapon, the machine gun, is a lot like the Quake 1 lightning gun with more ammo and a much longer range. Since it's so easy to kill people with the machine gun all the other weapons are practically useless, with the exception of the rocket launcher to take out vehicles. This imbalance kills the forced classes (you can only carry a couple of weapons), since you don't need anything but the machine gun.
Vehicles in Mobile Forces aren't used as well as they could be. I think a vehicle should allow you to access features that aren't available if you're just walking around. They should change the nature of moving around and interacting with the map/players, so that it's necessary to use them. In this game the vehicles only allow you to move faster and run people over. Yes, you can move several people at a time quickly, but there's nothing offered by driving a vehicle that you can't do on foot. You can't fly, deform terrain, provide cover for other players, or use vehicle-only weapons, so why use them at all? It's even easier to kill someone when they're driving a vehicle since they're such a big target. Vehicles add nothing to Mobile Force's gameplay.
The maps are average. There's nothing memorable in any of them, and there's nothing we haven't seen before. They do tend to have long distances in them to accommodate for the vehicles, but there are plenty of shorter paths available only on foot. There's also a wide variety of settings, ranging from outdoor wooded areas to crumbling cities to airports. I know it's hard to make completely original maps, especially when the gameplay types are the same as they've been for years, but these maps feel more like the maps back in the Quake 1 days when everyone and their mother thought they could be a map maker. There's not much inspiration, and no hook to draw you in. As a whole, the maps aren't the problem with Mobile Forces, but they don't help either.
The one gametype that works well in Mobile Forces is the "Trailer" game. In this two teams try to drive a bomb-hitched jeep to the other team's base. The jeep and bomb are invincible (from what I've tried, I haven't been able to destroy one yet), so the only way to stop a jeep is to jump into the passenger seat and shoot the driver - you have to car-jack the opposing team. This works well because it uses Mobile Force's only strongpoint, the ability to drive vehicles.
The rest of the gametypes include the standard CTF, Deathmatch, Capture and Hold, etc. They all tend to break down to "drive to the objective, get out and try to score". There's not much more depth than that, especially when the weapon balance creates short life-spans. There's always the added bonus of teamplay, but every multiplayer game has teamplay now so it's nothing special.
a2 = ab
a2 - b2 = ab-b2
(a-b)(a+b) = b(a-b) ***
a+b = b
b+b = b
2b = b
2 = 1
You can't do the step between line 4 and 5. Since a = b, a - b = 0, and you can't divide by 0.
As seen in Tribes 2, and Battlefield 1942, Mobile Forces features vehicles that allow teammates to share driving and gunning duties.
There are many mods out there better than Mobile Forces, and they're all free.
No single player:
Vehicles aren't so hot:
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