If you weren’t already sick to death of World War II first-person-shooters, Midway’s Hour of Victory will be the game to finally break you. Not a single aspect of the game manages to be more than mediocre, and most things instead end up on the terrible end of the scale. This is a bad game, period.
- Title: Hour of Victory
- Platform:Xbox 360
- Publisher: Midway Games
- Developer: nFusion
- ESRB Rating: “T” for Teen
- Genre: World War II FPS
- Pros: Very short levels; choose from three characters
- Cons: Bland graphics, bad AI, bad level design, glitches and bugs everywhere; bland and repetitive gameplay
Features and Modes Hour of Victory’s single-player mode is made up of short, fairly linear levels where your main objective is to shoot as many Nazis as possible. There are usually some loftier goals than just shooting everyone in each level, but accomplishing them is done with pure brute force, so it doesn’t really matter. One somewhat interesting gimmick that Hour of Victory implements is that you have a choice of three characters before each mission. A commando, a stealthy assassin, or a sniper. Each one has the ability to open up new paths through a level by picking a lock, climbing a rope, or pushing heavy objects out of the way. Unfortunately, going off of the beaten path is rarely worth the effort, and instead you can just take the main path and finish levels much easier and faster. The levels are very, very short, and the entire campaign can be beaten just less than five hours.
There is also a multiplayer mode, but it is pretty horrible. It just isn’t all that fun, and is plagued by lag, bad design, and just strange quirks that put it squarely behind pretty much every other shooter out there. Of course, you probably won’t be able to find anyone to play against anyway, so it really is a moot point.
The gameplay in Hour of Victory is pretty much exactly like every other shooter, WWII or otherwise, you have played in the last ten years. The core controls aren’t bad, and the shooting is actually pretty solid. It uses the Halo-style of health where you can sit back away from battle for a little while and recharge your health. Where Hour of Victory falls apart is in the AI and level design. As I mentioned above, you have your choice of three characters, but they all play basically the same and despite their unique abilities to reach new areas, you don’t really need to venture off of the beaten path all that often. Another problem is that you actually don’t even have to kill all of the enemies. You can just run past them to your next objective without ever firing a shot. This is possible because the AI is absolutely horrible. Enemy soldiers won’t even notice you most of the time, and even when you are spotted, they’ll fire off a couple of rounds and then just stand there until you kill them. The whole game is just way too short, way too easy, and ultimately pointless because you are never presented with either a challenge or a satisfying motive for continuing to play. With Call of Duty 2 and 3 on the Xbox 360, there is really no reason to bother with Hour of Victory.
Graphics and Sound
The presentation really seals the deal on Hour of Victory’s inevitable descent into bargain bin obscurity. I don’t want to say they are horrible, but they seem to be about a generation behind. It would have looked sweet on the Xbox three years ago, but on the Xbox 360 it is just bland and chunky looking compared to pretty much everything else on the system. The sound is just as uninspired. The music, sound effects, and voice acting could have come from any other war game ever.
Overall, Hour of Victory is a bland, repetitive, poorly put together, mess of a World War II game that simply isn’t worth your time. Why you would bother to even release a WWII game at this point when both interest and the quality of games in the genre seem to have peaked is beyond me. And to release a game that is this bad when most other entries in the genre are so much better is also a puzzler. If you are a gamerscore junkie, there are some easy points to get here thanks to the short, easy single-player campaign, but it might not be worth the embarrassment of someone seeing the game on your gamerscard. I certainly can’t recommend a game that is clearly so unfinished for a purchase, and even a rental is questionable. Play Call of Duty 2 or 3 instead.