A series of mysterious disappearances of high profile personalities from the worlds of science, industry, and entertainment reveal a horrific global terrorist threat. Who you gonna call? The Elite Forces of course: a special team made up of the best in the world at what they do. With your DS, you control this highly skilled team as they shoot guys and blow stuff up.
The game is played from an overhead view on the touch screen with the stylus firing weapons, and a map over on the top screen giving you directions. You control a four-man squad, including the sniper, explosives expert, hacker, and guy that shoots bazookas who possess unique weapons and skills. Each character has a separate health meter and special weapon ammo, which can be replenished by findings power ups or in breakable crates. They can travel as a group, or be separated and controlled individually. However, there can be no casualties in this war. If a member of the squad dies, it’s game over.
This game ends up relatively challenging because of its pesky control method. Tapping near (but not on) an enemy makes the characters dash right next to the enemy, rather than capping them. Spotty AI can make a grenade impossibly lethal, with squad members unable to hit the deck on their own, the characters can only flee a grenade by playing “follow the leader”, which they aren’t particularly good at. Like many mediocre games, Elite Forces is plagued by camera issues, with enemies able to attack from off-screen. Driving vehicles is another area of frustration. Each member has to be loaded into a vehicle one-by-one, because only one member of the team able to drive. While this sounds like a simple feat, the constant hail of enemies exacerbates what should be child’s play. Most vehicles can be destroyed by enemy gunfire, which chips away at your squad and can put them in the middle of the crossfire. Even the driving itself is tricky and attempting to turn around is virtually impossible. Driving in reverse is probably easier.
The game’s plot is typical at best, but that’s not a problem. The problem is that the gameplay doesn’t get more advanced or interesting as you progress. The levels increase in difficulty due to the amount of enemies per square inch and land mines and other annoying obstacles. If the stylus could be used for more than pointing and shooting perhaps the game could be a little more entertaining. For example, to disarm bombs or operate machinery you would have to do certain motions or patterns, or some first-person sequences for sniping or driving. But no.
The graphics are largely 3D sprites, with cartoony cutscenes chopping up the action. The colors and style are well done and with some more interactive elements during levels, these cut scenes could inject some excitement and break up the lengthy map exploration and shootouts. The sound is standard fare of explosions and gunfire. The music is subdued for most of the levels, but have a mood that would invoke a stealthy field, while the game is relentless battles. Even when you are under fire from all directions, the music doesn’t amp up too much, and fails to reflect the action.
While I am a fan of tactical and shooter games of all kinds, I found it hard to enjoy this game. If Elite Forces could capitalize on the abilities of the DS, it would greatly enrich the game and it something resembling an enjoyable experience. Even the ability to use the D-pad and buttons rather than drag the stylus around the screen would be a valid option.