Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Joint Operations

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of the Delta Force games, so once I got broadband, it wasn't really in any doubt that I'd get the online dedicated Delta Force-esque game Joint Operations: Typhoon Rising. (Silly videogame subtitles - just say "No" kids!)

I ordered this from the dangerously cheap Play last week, and it dropped through my letterbox on Monday. I played the training missions offline on Monday, and initial impressions were promising. The enhanced Delta Force: Black Hawk Down engine looks spangly enough and the vehicles all handle well, particularly the helicopters, though that should come as no surprise since the graphics engine is itself an upgrade from the one used for Comanche 4. The weapons are suitably punchy, and as you'd expect from a Delta Force game, there's a good variety of sniper rifles, all of which are particularly deadly. Novalogic have sensibly removed the rangefinder from the sniper scopes, meaning that people have to use their binoculars to adjust the range deflection properly, so that the game doesn't turn into a complete turkey shoot for the guys with the best scopes and video resolutions.

I went online last night on an Advance And Secure server with only 40 people (which is nothing compared to the theoretical maximum of 150) and things weren't quite as good as I hoped they'd be. Even though I'd dropped the resolution from the recommended 1024x768 to 800x600, things rapidly became unplayable when I got into multiple player scraps of more than a dozen people, and this was on a server with a ping around 20ms. I'm not sure if it was just a dodgy server or not, or whether my PC just can't cut it anymore. Probably the latter.

I wasn't doing very well in the two games I played - averaging 2 deaths per kill, and only killing 5 people in a half hour match, which isn't too great, though not quite scraping the bottom of the barrel on the server, thankfully. I still managed a couple of nice moments, though - I was holed up in a road block turret, sniping with an SR-25 as a rebel tried to run the roadblock in an APC. I rattled him so much he actually lost control and careered off the road, off a short pier and into the drink (the game is set in Indonesia, so the maps are all island based) I rushed out of my hidey-hole, as he struggled to get the APC back onto dry land, and was ready waiting for him when he decided that the APC wasn't going anywhere and bailed out. BANG! He just had time to see me there as I blew him off the top of the vehicle with a 7.62mm round to the chest.

This game will definitely be one to keep playing, if I can find a way of upping the performance, as doing things like strafing enemy positions from a Blackhawk with a minigun or rocketing APCs from Little Birds is pretty epic, as people are pelting Stinger missiles at you. I may need to get a new PC to get the best out of it, though. If only I could scrape up the money for an Athlon FX...

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