Bet on Soldier: Blood Sport Review

First person shooters are not easy games to make. The genre has been around for a while and it seems like the chances of a developer coming out with a new smash hit grow smaller every year. The balance between gameplay and graphics is one reason for this problem. There are FPS games with beautiful graphics, but suffering from average to substandard gameplay. At the opposite end of the spectrum, there are FPS games with great gameplay but lackluster graphics. To really hit it big, the developer has to put both together. Bet on Soldier: Bloodsport tries to make this happen, but sadly falls short of greatness because of small annoyances and basic problems.

The graphics in BoS: Bloodsport end up looking pretty choice on the optimal settings. This is a bonus for the developer Kylotonn because you, as a typical gamer, should be able to run the game at its optimal settings because it only calls for a Geforce 6 and an Intel 3.0GHz or AMD equivalent. For some gamers this distinction may be important, especially considering other FPS games like Quake 4 can take far more than a Geforce 6 to run at optimal settings. The environmental detail in BoS is on par with the best games out there. During combat the fire, light bloom, hallucination, and dizziness are all pretty smooth. Overall the game plays pretty smooth with the occasional hang or stutter upon encountering a BoS competitor. The character detail is average, the players seem to glow from sweat constantly, and they look a little like plastic action figures at times. The maps themselves are pretty expansive but still very linear. Additionally the objects around the map are plentiful and done well, but your level of interaction is next to zero. This basic problem of object interactivity is a good example of how BoS falls short of the mark from a small annoyance and basic problem. Forget picking up a box, you can hit the use key repeatedly in a weak attempt to nudge the box, but even this basic object interaction is missing.

The story behind the game is pretty simple and it sounds similar to both The Running Man and Bloodsport. In BoS: Bloodsport you play as Nolan Daneworth, a mercenary fighting in the Bet on Soldier televised competitions. You live in a world controlled by two multinational corporations that specialize in nothing but defense equipment and weaponry. Everyone in this world works for the war machine somehow. BoS is a creation of the corporations to appease the people similar to the movie The Running Man. Since you enter into competition with other soldiers, each with a various skillset in the hopes of becoming champion, the game also parallels the Jean Claude Van Damme classic, Bloodsport. Somewhere in there is a quest to uncover the mystery of your wife’s death at the hands of BoS competitors. Don’t bother yourself with these minor details though…  As you progress through the game various cutscenes move the story along. At the conclusion of the cutscene you are brought to a world map where you can choose your next mission. After choosing your mission you choose your BoS opponents, weapons, and fellow mercenaries. The actual Bet on Soldier action comes during the missions at various points along the way. The game will stop and introduce your opponent, countdown from 10, and then competition will begin.

This storyline and features feed directly into the gameplay discussion. BoS is a typical first person shooter with some fairly common weapons. Each weapon though, and all its ammo cost money, so you better be at your best when taking on the BoS competitors. Win more money, and you buy the best of the weapons and plenty of ammo. Movement and control is simple, almost too simple. Compared to the movement in Quake 4 or Half Life 2, BoS looks pretty clunky. Again bringing up the simple problems, movement up and down a ladder or on stairs is a problem. The character seems to move OK, but the movement is clunky, often awkward and it doesn’t seem to have the same smoothness as the other FPS games currently on the market.