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The Outfit - XBox 360 Hands On

by Nick Haywood on 25 August 2005, 00:00

Tags: THQs The Outfit on Xbox 360, THQ (NASDAQ:THQI), FPS

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The Outfit – XBox 360 Hands On

The Outfit – XBox 360 Hands On

Hands up who remembers that classic war film, Kelly’s Heroes? You know, the one with Clint Eastwood and Telly Savalas after a load of German bullion and Donald Sutherland as the trippy hippy tank commander? Well this is what The Outfit is like, without Clint, Telly and Donald… or German gold, but it’s still like it.. a bit.

When I sat down with David Takwei Cheong from Relic Entertainment, he explained in a bit more detail where the game was coming from. The Outfit is a blend of third person arcade action and strategy, with a heavy leaning on action and just a touch of strategy. In his words, “It’s more ‘Kelly’s Heroes’ than ‘Saving Private Ryan’” and David’s not wrong there as The Outfit has a serious leaning to all out blasting fun, with a touch of squad based action thrown for good measure.

You can play the game as one of three main characters, each with special unique abilities that demand different playing styles. JD Tyler, Deuce Williams or Tommy Mac with Deuce being Voiced by Ron Perlman of Hellboy fame. The idea is to lead your two squads through the missions, capturing specific points in a CTF style, or destroying specific objectives.

Doing this earns you resource points which you can then spend on calling up reinforcements in the form of artillery barrages, air strikes, machine gun nests or even player controllable tanks to hop into. Of course, this being an action game first and foremost, tanks and the like are parachuted straight into the action… not necessarily all that realistic, but then who’d want to slow down the action by waiting for them to roll up behind you.

Squad control is kept simple too, with basic orders such as advancing, holding, defending etc. as well as being able to order them to attack certain points, objectives or enemies. The squad AI is such that f they’re attacked they’ll take cover, find defensive positions and return fire, but you’ll still have a key role in getting the squads to your objective and completing the mission.

The use of two squads in the game allows for a decent bit of strategy, even for an action title like this one. So you can split the squads and perform flanking manoeuvres or separate the two squads entirely and have one of them operating on one part of the map while you concentrate on another. And speaking of maps, the play area is impressively large, and very nicely rendered with streets strewn with rubble, debris and roadblocks all giving a feeling of being right in the action.

Of course, if you come across a street that’s looking too tidy for your liking, why not change how it looks? The Outfit features a full damage model allowing to blow up just about everything on the screen, provided you have the fire power. Just have a look at these screen shots to see the effect a Sherman has on a building. This adds an openness to the gameplay as rather than stroll down the street, round a corner and run into a squad of Germans, how about blowing the corner away and checking out what’s behind the house you just blew down?

With a convincing physics model, houses will collapse in a realistic manner, causing damage to the surrounding area. So if there’s an unreachable machine gun nest settled in the base of that café, how about using your tank to bring the building down on them? But be careful, the enemy AI is just as wily as you are and as well as taking cover, using defensive and offensive tactics, they’ll take advantage of the environment too. This was all too apparent when David called in a tank, got pinned down by enemy fire as he made his way to it to then find the enemy had leaped in and were using it to obliterate his own troops… crafty.

The Outfit is set for a Christmas 2005 release on XBox 360 and makes use of the XBox 360’s 16:9, 720p HD and Dolby 5.1 capabilities.