Xbox 360 Review: The Outfit

Trying to blend two genres that will hardly blend together at all, The Outfit offers frantic and superb multi-player for a few people. More than a handful of players and the battlefields are filled with too many targets and little organization. The less said about the single player the better.

The gimmick in this third person action title is its strategy. While the basic mechanics of a bland third person shooter are in place, it's the quick pop-up menu that lets you purchase vehicles, gun emplacements, air strikes, and various other items to plop onto the battlefield that attempts to make The Outfit stand out. It's a great idea, sorely lacking in execution.

Online, this system does partially work. Fighting against a handful of friends, you'll need to capture objectives and kill the opposition to earn money. That leads to the purchase of bigger guns, and some small strategy as you try to block opponents from stealing your proudly owned buildings. However, with more than four people involved, the experience is a cluttered mess, with impossible to track players (every one is accompanied by four AI controlled bots), difficult to discern friendly purchased weapons, and clunky vehicles controls that make the player crash more than drive properly.

Set in World War II, this also means one side is stuck being the Nazis. This is set by the host, and is hardly a popular choice. It may be over the top and tongue in cheek, but having your character slapped with a swastika may be a bit much for some people.

Single player showcases every one of the games flaws, and it's hard to imagine if any planning went into it. The difficulty level here is zero since it follows the online portions respawn feature. Dying has little consequence, and in some cases (like when the Nazis reclaim an objective), it can be beneficial. Battles may be active, but they're dull experiences that take away every ounce of strategy when enemies have the ability to respawn as needed.

Levels are as linear as humanly possible, and the main objectives are almost always the same. You'll need to clear a group of Nazis, secure a specific building (usually the motorcade is first), and move on. Secondary objectives offer the opportunity for Achievement Points, but this is a game not worth playing to earn them all.

There's also some oddball balancing going on. For instance, one of the lead characters shoulders a bazooka and a pistol. The latter will do twice the damage in a shorter amount of time to a human foe. The same goes for a tank, which is useless against some enemies. Online, it's almost a necessity so players who gain control of a powerful vehicle first are not dominating, yet in single player, it only makes objectives take longer than they should.

The Outfit gets stuck in the disappointing spot of being utterly forgettable unless you have a few people who will always be available for online play. The single player is the title's most awful aspect, and it only gets worse as the game goes on. There are far too many other superb Xbox 360 titles to be playing this right now, or ever for that matter.

(** out of *****)

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