If you enjoy mindless and bloody shooters, then this game is for you.
When the original Soldier of Fortune was released many years ago, it quickly obtained a strong cult following, mostly due to the violent nature of the game. While there have been a couple sequels, Payback simply does not stack up in the entertainment value as the recently released Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4. In all honesty, I think it is rather foolish that Activision released this game at the same time they released Call of Duty 4. If Soldier of Fortune Payback was released as a 360 launch title, they the game would have been passable. In today’s FPS next gen world, there really is a wonder why Payback was created at all.
This title does not offer any type of intelligent gameplay in the least bit. In order to succeed in Payback, the player only needs to know two things: where the trigger button is, and where to shoot. In fact, the only real reason to play this game is to enjoy the intense violent nature–the series’ staple. Gameplay involves nothing more than simple run and gun gameplay and weapons that are so powerful that they can literally send opponents through the air and chop off limbs like a hot knife through butter.
There are so many negative aspects of this title. Enemy A.I. is shoddy – they will either pick you off at a great distance or will mindlessly shoot their gun. In terms of presentation, the game does have some type of story placed somewhere in the single player campaign mode, but I have yet to really find it. Many times the player will run into slowdown/choppy framerate and it seem like the physics engine is way over used. The game does feature online multiplayer Vs modes, but they are glitchy and laggy at best.
In terms of graphics, environments are detailed, especially in the jungle stages. Although the weapon design and reloading animations look nice, character models just look a little…off. It is hard to determine whether or not the character models or their animations just look a little strange, but this is probably due to the gory limb-tearing off engine that was implemented into this game. Arms, legs, and heads can literally be blown off enemies, leaving them to scream in pain and unleash gallons of blood. Like all the other Soldier of Fortune games, the high blood volume is the main gameplay incentive.
I am glad Soldier of Fortune made the jump to next gen, but it made the jump a little too late. With all the great First Person Shooters released in the last year, it only takes a minute of gameplay to see why Payback is lacking. If you are a die hard fan of the series, you might find a few hours of entertainment value. But with the full price of a retail game ($60), your money is most definitely better spent on other titles.