We like to think that somewhere atop Game Design HQ there’s a big tumble-drum left over from a ’70s game show, and when they need a title for the latest copy-and-paste World War II shooty bang-bang game, they give it a spin and pull random wartime-inspired words out of the box.
Wup-wup-wup-wup, round it goes, and the first word is… ‘HEROES!’ Wup-wup-wup, spin the box… ooh, it’s… ‘COURAGE!’ And there you have it - the challenge to the development team is then to head off into darkened rooms and make something vaguely interesting out of the title ‘Heroes of Courage’. Or maybe ‘Courage of Heroes’ if they’re feeling particularly out there.
Hour of Victory is, presumably, the by-product of just such a contraption, the same demonic device that gave us Medal of Honor and Call of Duty. The simple tragedy here is that unlike those fine games, Hour of Victory is every bit as uninspired as the drab title suggests. Game Design HQ also presumably contains some sort of checklist that all World War II shooters are obliged to conform to. Shooting down planes from a gun emplacement? Check! Driving a tank for a bit? Check! A bit where you go up in a cable car to a Nazi castle? Check! Helmets that ping off improbably when struck by a bullet? Check!
Hour of Victory has one not-at-all unique twist, in that you have the opportunity to select which of three bland stereotypes you’d like to play for each mission. There’s the Scottish commando who likes shooting, the sniper who also likes shooting, but from a distance, and the sneaky stealth guy, who prefers to sneak around a bit, before giving up when he realizes the game engine’s not built for stealth gameplay and actually the war would probably be over an awful lot quicker if he joined in and did a little bit of shooting too.