Soldier of Fortune: Payback - first look

Oct 22, 2007

Shooting - or knifing, or just trusty old punching in the balls - someone that you’ve already killed has been a gaming guilty pleasure since Castle Wolfenstein, but never before has it been a reason to buy a game. Yet so much work has gone into the enemy damage system in the upcoming FPS Soldier of Fortune: Payback that you may find yourself spending more time devising creative ways to maim prone enemies than playing the actual game.  

This is hardly an exaggeration: developer Cauldron has done dismemberment due diligence. In the build we saw, limbs detach themselves at the slightest provocation - as if they’re waiting to jump ship and your bullets are a good enough excuse. The long-distance amputations are so abundant that it occasionally seems like Cauldron has invented joints - thighbows and choulders - for the sole purpose of coming apart and producing unreasonable amounts of bright-red liquid. Anxious to show off how white they are, the fibula and vertebrae also make startlingly frequent appearances.

To Cauldron’s credit, this dismemberment fiesta surpasses mere gimmickry and is cleverly integrated into gameplay. De-legged or de-armed enemies bleed out, but have a limited amount of time before they die to shoot or… crawl aggressively towards you. Fighting to the death a guy whose leg you took off is awesome, not least because it kind of makes you feel like Moby Dick.


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