Hammer & Sickle review: HAMMERTIME!


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#1 Slaughter

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 02:08 PM

Hammer & Sickle was released in Europe this week, and a game built on the Silent Storm engine with stronger RPG elements should intrigue most fans of the genre. Tacticular Cancer had a chance to play through the game, and seems very pleased with the result. Join the HAMMERTIME over at Tacticular Cancer!

_hs_21.jpeg _hs_22.jpeg _hs_23.jpeg _hs_24.jpeg


Did you enjoy Hammer & Sickle? Thanks for the heads up Jason!


#2 baby arm

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 06:38 PM

Thanks for the post, Olav. Posted Image
Too bad NL had to choose such an embarrassing title (shudder)

Unfortunately, I'm a loser and haven't actually played the game yet. I bought it last week (only $20!) and plan to dig into it next week. It should be a great way to suck up all my free time. These turn-based murder simulations are right up my alley.
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#3 Naked_Lunch

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 06:47 PM

What's wrong with the name, Baby Arm? I like it, and I think it pretty much sums up how awesome we are (very).

Oh, you mean the article name, not the site name :cool:

Someone else said it on the Codex forums and I thought it was pretty funny so I just stole it from them (It was Hyperboy, I think)

#4 Sophocles

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Posted 26 February 2006 - 09:15 AM

I have been playing the game since Dec.

I liked

1. The title       (this one is for "Baby Arm" ;-) ).
2. The setting/theme.
3. The ss graphics and physics engine which is greatly enhanced in Hammer and Sickle. In particular the uniforms and models of the Americans are amazing.
4. The almost one-shot one-kill gamepley.
5. The action point cost which in my opinion is the most well ballance of the three games (SS, SS2, H&S).
6. No Panzerclinees whatsthename :-))). I should note that at first i didn't mind those but when revisiting the game i found that they spoilt the whole experience.

I didn't like

1. The way the story is excecuted. It is very confusing at the least. Goals are blery and often you are left doing things without knowing why. In adition dialogues lack character.

Suggestions

(to the developers if they ever read the post)
PLEASE create a historical setting game (WWII, Korean war, Vietnam, african conflicts etc).

It is my opinion that the engine's potential has not been fully exploited and while there is great potential in creating superb/classic games, untill now no such games have been produced.

Maybe a more historically accurate setting and better global strategy and economy management will help.

#5 Slaughter

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Posted 26 February 2006 - 12:38 PM

View PostSophocles, on 26th February 2006, 10:15am, said:

(to the developers if they ever read the post)
PLEASE create a historical setting game (WWII, Korean war, Vietnam, african conflicts etc).

It is my opinion that the engine's potential has not been fully exploited and while there is great potential in creating superb/classic games, untill now no such games have been produced.

Maybe a more historically accurate setting and better global strategy and economy management will help.
Another Silent Stormish game with stronger strategic elements would be excellent! Personally I'd prefer sci-fi settings to the historical ones however. I'm tired of WWII and the other wars, and would much rather see a new X-COM or Fallout like game built on the Silent Storm engine.

As for the developers reading this, I don't know. Novik (lead at H&S) sometimes visit us, but I don't know about anyone from Nival.

@baby arm: I haven't played it yet either. My copy is in the mail, so I should have it next week. Let us know what you think when you get around to trying it.


#6 Novik

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Posted 26 February 2006 - 02:30 PM

View PostSophocles, on 26th February 2006, 12:15pm, said:

PLEASE create a historical setting game (WWII, Korean war, Vietnam, african conflicts etc).
This is very hard for many reasons.
1) War - is not a game. More "accurate and historical and realisting" realisation will be boring, IMHO.
2) Idealogic question. For example, are you ready to play Korean war on communist's side? And to shoot to US "freedom fighters"?

#7 Sophocles

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Posted 26 February 2006 - 03:21 PM

View PostNovik, on 26th February 2006, 2:30pm, said:

This is very hard for many reasons.
1) War - is not a game. More "accurate and historical and realisting" realisation will be boring, IMHO.
2) Idealogic question. For example, are you ready to play Korean war on communist's side? And to shoot to US "freedom fighters"?


1. Then what are we doing bying these games if not wargaming???
2. Yes I would go even further and play the IRAKI against the so called US and Brits freedom forces

#8 Novik

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Posted 26 February 2006 - 03:57 PM

View PostSophocles, on 26th February 2006, 6:21pm, said:

1. Then what are we doing bying these games if not wargaming???
May be, because these games are NOT realistic and are NOT historical? :cool:

View PostSophocles, on 26th February 2006, 6:21pm, said:

2. Yes I would go even further and play the IRAKI against the so called US and Brits freedom forces
Strange position. But whom how (i don't know anithing about your nationality etc.)
But i think games of this type will hasn't good sales in USA/Europe.

#9 Slaughter

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Posted 26 February 2006 - 04:29 PM

View PostNovik, on 26th February 2006, 3:30pm, said:

1) War - is not a game. More "accurate and historical and realisting" realisation will be boring, IMHO.
Well, replaying the Normandy scenario in Medal of Honour is one of the grater game experiences I ever had. I know it's a different genre, but the point is that replaying historical events could be great if done right. And if there were several paths, so that one would let you replay history while others let you change history, all the better!

View PostNovik, on 26th February 2006, 3:30pm, said:

2) Idealogic question. For example, are you ready to play Korean war on communist's side? And to shoot to US "freedom fighters"?
No offence meant to the respective countries, but I'd be more than happy to shoot some frogeaters or cowboys (not to mention the tea sippers!!!) :cool:. Seriously though, I don't think most gamers would have a problem playing the "other side". Why do we always have to play the allies? There's enough propaganda already, if we aren't to play the "heroes" (read slavetraders, conquistadors and Vikings) in every game. Europe and the US is full of assholes that made the life of others sour throughout history...


#10 baby arm

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Posted 26 February 2006 - 05:23 PM

"1) War - is not a game. More "accurate and historical and realisting" realisation will be boring, IMHO.
2) Idealogic question. For example, are you ready to play Korean war on communist's side? And to shoot to US "freedom fighters"?"


1) The SS games were not very accurate and historical and they seemed to do quite well. I have no problem with using historic settings and tweaking them to make them more "gamelike" (for lack of a better term).

2) Speaking from an American POV, I think you're probably right. There are some here who may have no problem playing the North Korean side, but they are definitely in the minority and your sales would most likely suffer. The NKs are still considered an actively hostile force to a lot of the western world, unlike the Russians or Germans, for example. But what about a game based on the South Koreans? Imagine a fictional ROK unit carrying out sabateur missions behind NK lines, or even beyond the Yalu if you don't mind stretching reality a little. Or use a present day Korean setting with the South Korean KCIA (are they still around?) taking on black missions in North Korea to prevent a certain NK general from taking power or against nuclear facilities. Vietnam is a little played out, but I would be interested in a game based on MACV/SOG operations or Operation Phoenix (the shady CIA assassination op). Or what about Soviet Spetsnaz missions in Afghanistan in the 1980s? That has a lot of potential, but I don't know if that would be too recent for Russians to feel comfortable with. Or maybe the Falklands War?
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#11 BlunterII

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Posted 26 February 2006 - 07:58 PM

View PostSlaughter, on 26th February 2006, 8:29am, said:

Well, replaying the Normandy scenario in Medal of Honour is one of the grater game experiences I ever had. I know it's a different genre, but the point is that replaying historical events could be great if done right. And if there were several paths, so that one would let you replay history while others let you change history, all the better!
No offence meant to the respective countries, but I'd be more than happy to shoot some frogeaters or cowboys (not to mention the tea sippers!!!) :(. Seriously though, I don't think most gamers would have a problem playing the "other side". Why do we always have to play the allies? There's enough propaganda already, if we aren't to play the "heroes" (read slavetraders, conquistadors and Vikings) in every game. Europe and the US is full of assholes that made the life of others sour throughout history...

Yeah, good points, Slaughter :( .

I would like to add that history being boring might not be the issue here. It is the point of being able to relate to the events happening in the game... Lack of historical education and rabid propaganda, especially here in the U.S. contributed to the average person's ignorance and apathy. Sad really...
At Rite Aid (a huge drug store)in the children toys section or at TOYS'R'US, for instance, one can find a huge "WWII" plastic soldier set. It is decorated with flags of the respective world powers participated in the conflict ... a really neat set... Four countries are represented there:
the "bad" guys -Germany, Japan,
the "good" guys - United States,
and ...(you guessed it).... Great Britain...

That's right! No Russians  :) , whatsoever ;) ! And that is 2006, my friends. The Cold War is behind us...or so it seems...

In school history books, ww2 related sites, etc., it is "The United States and its allies" who won the war.
The war that is called The Great Patriotic War in Russia for a reason.  

So unless one is digging for more accurate information about ww2 the country that carried most of the ww2 burden on her shoulders is absent from the political arena of that time, or even possibly mistakenly paired with the nazis... What kind of nonsense is that  :) ?!

I think making games based on history is a great idea. The more - the better.
Creating an engaging, making sense story is a different issue all together, that has nothing to do with whether it is historical or not.

The "good" and the "bad" are relative terms, in case of world conflicts it ussually is based on "Might makes right" kind of approach. Just imagine if Germany and the Soviet Union allied , what would the world be like? Who would win that conflict? I don't think we'd be speaking English right now... :)
Of course, there is always the "all around" bad guy like Thor's Hammer, a safe target, so to speak, but does it have any substanse behind it? Aside from the politically correct "license to kill" granted to the player and feel no remorse afterwards  :) ?

:cool: Besides, exploring the real reasons behind wars ($$, economy hint, hint :) ) is something that could help many realize how ultimately pointless the bloodshed people have been engaging into since the dawn of man is; and that through elimination of the key "sponsors" (several military indusrialists, oil magnates, for example) of the conflict could easily change the face of the world. Which has nothing to do with the proposed to us ideological justifications. Just think about it... :)

Blunter II

- BlunterMod v 2.4 ready for testing (MediaFire, rar) (5 versions of Splittermuster 45 uniform, unique versions of existing weapons, multiple game play changes, all default REs are scripted now, new lighting, several new scripted REs, HE rounds are temporarily gone - converted to 'surplus' ammo instead, 3 new enemy classes ("Grunt", "Zombie", "PK Operator"), all PKs have been overhauled (stronger, better, faster, auto-destruct) and a Soviet Intel subplot featuring Lt. Colonel Mikhalev from H&S ~ 7 missions) + v 2.3 full (without HE rounds)

- BlunterMod v2.3 ready for testing (MediaFire, rar) ---4 more uniforms, 1 new ammo type and a new weapon added, "Castle Linden" random crash fixed, a new area "The Bank" added to the Sentinel base, and various other changes + v 2.2 full (see ReadMe file for more info)

- BlunterMod v 2.2 ready for testing (MediaFire, rar) --- 20 new ammo types added (AP, HE, API, JHP), 7 unique weapons added, New RPG money items created, German Soldier Class characterss don't wear goggles + v 2.1 (full but without game-breaking bugs, hopefully)

- All Uniforms v 2.1 DO NOT USE (bugged) --- A Wave Defense "Castle" encounter, ammo and weapon name fixes, cheaper surplus uniforms, binoculars fix + v 2.0 (full)

- All Uniforms v 2.0 ready for testing (MediaFire, rar) --- 108 more uniforms + binoculars + v1.0 uniforms and changes (ReadMe for v 2.0)

- All Uniforms v 1.0 ready for testing (MediaFire, rar) --- 78 new uniforms (available from the base seller, prices vary) + various gameplay changes

- Silent Storm on Steam Greenlight has been approved 08/28/13!

- Available for purchase on Steam - "Silent Storm" + "Sentinels" page

_______________________________________________________
My Blogs: H&S blog and just funny book titles I created for my kids( unrelated to Silent Storm).

~Blunter~


#12 Novik

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Posted 26 February 2006 - 09:41 PM

View PostSlaughter, on 26th February 2006, 7:29pm, said:

Well, replaying the Normandy scenario in Medal of Honour is one of the grater game experiences I ever had. I know it's a different genre, but the point is that replaying historical events could be great if done right.
1) I told about RPG with tactical elements or tactical with strong RPG elements. Based on modern historical period (1900+) and without any sci-fi (true history, true reality etc). Not about some sort of RTS, where exists 'units' (not personages) only.
2) Such type of games *must* have ideological context. This is RPG, yes? If you playing on fascist side, you *must* play role of fascist. (This is a maxima, of course, but i hope you understand, what i wish to say)

#13 BlunterII

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Posted 27 February 2006 - 01:59 AM

Hi, Novik, I hope you guys don't mind me jumping in   :) .


Quote

1) I told about RPG with tactical elements or tactical with strong RPG elements. Based on modern historical period (1900+) and without any sci-fi (true history, true reality etc). Not about some sort of RTS, where exists 'units' (not personages) only.
2) Such type of games *must* have ideological context.

They sure do. But do the narrators have to take sides and promote Communism, National- Socialism or Capitalism (Imperialism)?  I don't think they do. Why not let the player decide what is right or what is wrong based on the player's knowledge and moral code by just providing them with facts (from documents, for example) or both sides of the story? That would be role-playing, wouldn't you agree? Fictional elements - sure (to make the story more appealing and flexible)! Ideological context - absolutely (there is no way to reconstruct that era without the appropriate ideological background)! Political and Ideological propaganda and indoctrination, one sided narrative - nope (no need for that, imo)!

Quote

This is RPG, yes? If you playing on fascist side, you *must* play role of fascist. (This is a maxima, of course, but i hope you understand, what i wish to say).

What do you mean by a "role of a fascist"? How about a German side and "role of a German" :) ? I know it requires much more effort then just the black and white approach, but there it is...
Or are you saying we'd be obligated to play a "role of a commie :) " (a ruthless commissar or a brainwashed NKVD officer) if we are to choose Communists (Russians), or a "role of a Yankee/imperialist :cool: " (in case of Americans or CIA)?

How about breaking those stereotypes? It reminds me of the M.C.'s (main character) and Sanders' verbal exchange upon revisiting the "Convoy" location, about the samovar, cowboys, etc :( . It did just that, attempted to counter that prejudiced outlook that so many people, unfortunately, share(d), did it not? Did the main character "have to be a commie" at any point in H&S? Nope, I don't recall any of that.
Or Sigfried and his service in Wiking Waffen SS division (that's in the game), that had an unblemished by the War Crime tribunal reputation as well as many others. Wasn't he just a soldier? Did he have to play a "role of a Nazi"? ;)  No, he did not, and that was the whole point, wasn't it? And what of Admiral Karl Donitz who wasn't even a NSDAP (Nazi) party member but nevertheless was sentenced to many years of prison for utilizing the same naval battle tactics the allies did, he even presented the documents confirming that at his trial. Or Field Marshal Fritz Erich von Manstein who wasn't a Nazi either but was sentenced to several years on some dubious, unconvincing grounds. Strange! To say the least. And I am not propagating anything here (no need for torches and pitchforks :) ), I have been reading different documents, like Manstein's court trial records, CIA archives (declassified in 2003), and many others and the once clear picture of who is who and what is what became blurred, sometimes so blurred that it is hard to accept certain recognized and "established" positions. Especially when so many ex-Nazis were somehow released without trial, provided with all kinds of help and financial assistance and basically were put on American payroll, for many years...until they formed BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst, West German Intelligence Agency) in 1956 with Major General Reinhard Gehlen leading it (the same Gehlen whom Hitler appointed to be the chief of Eastern front intelligence during the ww2).  

Well, it seems that RPG, as a genre (where one or more players adopt a role and act it out in a virtual reality) does not force one into a rigid role. And if it does so, when there are no other options available, wouldn't that indicate a poor plot concept?

Or are you referring to certain "pressure" from some third party?  

Blunter II

- BlunterMod v 2.4 ready for testing (MediaFire, rar) (5 versions of Splittermuster 45 uniform, unique versions of existing weapons, multiple game play changes, all default REs are scripted now, new lighting, several new scripted REs, HE rounds are temporarily gone - converted to 'surplus' ammo instead, 3 new enemy classes ("Grunt", "Zombie", "PK Operator"), all PKs have been overhauled (stronger, better, faster, auto-destruct) and a Soviet Intel subplot featuring Lt. Colonel Mikhalev from H&S ~ 7 missions) + v 2.3 full (without HE rounds)

- BlunterMod v2.3 ready for testing (MediaFire, rar) ---4 more uniforms, 1 new ammo type and a new weapon added, "Castle Linden" random crash fixed, a new area "The Bank" added to the Sentinel base, and various other changes + v 2.2 full (see ReadMe file for more info)

- BlunterMod v 2.2 ready for testing (MediaFire, rar) --- 20 new ammo types added (AP, HE, API, JHP), 7 unique weapons added, New RPG money items created, German Soldier Class characterss don't wear goggles + v 2.1 (full but without game-breaking bugs, hopefully)

- All Uniforms v 2.1 DO NOT USE (bugged) --- A Wave Defense "Castle" encounter, ammo and weapon name fixes, cheaper surplus uniforms, binoculars fix + v 2.0 (full)

- All Uniforms v 2.0 ready for testing (MediaFire, rar) --- 108 more uniforms + binoculars + v1.0 uniforms and changes (ReadMe for v 2.0)

- All Uniforms v 1.0 ready for testing (MediaFire, rar) --- 78 new uniforms (available from the base seller, prices vary) + various gameplay changes

- Silent Storm on Steam Greenlight has been approved 08/28/13!

- Available for purchase on Steam - "Silent Storm" + "Sentinels" page

_______________________________________________________
My Blogs: H&S blog and just funny book titles I created for my kids( unrelated to Silent Storm).

~Blunter~


#14 Novik

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Posted 27 February 2006 - 11:10 AM

I tried to write answer... and failed. Err, i have too small bagage of english words, excuse me.

#15 KoMik

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Posted 27 February 2006 - 09:33 PM

Turn-based 'war-RPG' games where you can choose between
armys and free enterprises is a fine goal for games in future.

This Hammer & Sickle's spy theme is very clever for a RPG-game. It's a interesting alternative game ego.
H&S sure could commandeer add-ons (more cold war phobias) and sequels (new place/time).

Mostly I'm still waiting a some kind of huge optioned turn-based multiplayer game.
RPG games are great challenge but sometimes I just want to spend some Action Points.


Spy hard! :D

#16 baby arm

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 06:55 PM

"Mostly I'm still waiting a some kind of huge optioned turn-based multiplayer game."

Check out Tactica Online. But keep in mind that MMOs are Satan's work.
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#17 Slaughter

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 11:43 PM

Two more reviews at The Armchair Empire and Gameplay Monthly.


#18 Slaughter

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 09:12 PM

Another one at Eurogamer (Spotted at Tacticular Cancer).


#19 Crazy Gringo

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 11:10 PM

*Spoilers might be included*
I guess that reviewer is one of those 'Are you shooting at ME! *BLAM* How you like those apples?' types.
I got out of Wenzburg without a scratch by *looks around for something that is not there* doing the 'intelligent' thing and hightailing out of there like a bat out of hell. It was a lose/lose situation so I avoided it completely. "How you do win a battle you can't win? You avoid it"
But are some points to be made in that review (I will let the reader sort them out).
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#20 WangChangZhang

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Posted 21 March 2006 - 11:00 AM

View PostCrazy Gringo, on 21st March 2006, 12:10am, said:

*Spoilers might be included*
I guess that reviewer is one of those 'Are you shooting at ME! *BLAM* How you like those apples?' types.
I got out of Wenzburg without a scratch by *looks around for something that is not there* doing the 'intelligent' thing and hightailing out of there like a bat out of hell. It was a lose/lose situation so I avoided it completely. "How you do win a battle you can't win? You avoid it"
But are some points to be made in that review (I will that the reader sort them out).

Summing up those reviews, it seems as if Hammer & Sickle can only be hated or loved. I guess S2 and Sentinel fans tend to embrace it more than the typical tactics/strategy gamer who hadn't played the Silent Storm series. I know my game mag of choice has the policy to not put the prequels of a game into the calculation, but that's exactly what Sentinel players do: marvel at the evolution of the series.
There are some issues a lot reviews agree on being bad, like the habit of leaving the gamer clueless about what to do, the missing true rpg elements and some mission design. Well, I guess those "flaws" aren't too surprising because H&S started as a mod and was made mainly by a mod team, which is still a big difference to a professional game studio creating an entire game anew.
I want to check it out myself, but I just wish the publisher would sell it for 5$ less - 30$ is exactly the prize where I start to expect really good stuff for my money *stabs CDV*  ;)
In case you are wondering: I didn't even buy S2 or S3, I got them as bonus games with my game mag. So now I have them completely legal on harddisk without any starforce trouble.  ;)

Was this review http://www.gamespot....kle/review.html already posted?
Gamespy is such a joke... it's obvious that the reviewer did not really play Silent Storm or Sentinels (which he calls just great and the game H&S is measured upon) because he is criticising things about H&S that already appeared in S2... moron.

PS: I was looking for a torrent file for the H&S demo because I couldn't dl it directly from CDV - but all I found were torrent files for full H&S. Needless to say I didn't download them.  :D




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