So here I am with another offering from 1C Company in the form of 7.62 High Calibre, essentially the sequel to Brigade E5; a tactical strategy game akin to titles such as Jagged Alliance and the X-Com series. The setting is a small Latin American country which has recently undergone a coup d'etat, which provides a most opportune place of sanctuary for those who do not wish to be found.
This is where you are brought into the game as one of several selectable mercenaries, each with their own levels of attributes, hired to find a Russian businessman who has run off with a large sum of money into the aforementioned country. So you begin your journey in a small tourist town asking questions about the Russian and running side missions for the locals in an almost RPG-esque manner.
While playing through this game you will encounter other mercenaries which you may hire into your party for variable fees which I would highly recommend as you will encounter random ambushes whilst travelling between settlements. You may have up to 6 mercenaries in your party at anyone time, but be sure you have a substantial income of revenue before recruiting these war torn dogs as they will seriously bleed your funds dry if you're not careful.
Everything is rendered in 3D with a camera system you would expect to see in such a title. You can view what your mercenaries are up to in every conceivable angle, or even go first person on each merc if you so wish. You may run about the towns in real time or use the live pause system to click positions for your controllable characters then un-pause the action to view your planned movements. While in theory this seems to be a solid system, in practice I found the controls to be clunky and unintuitive especially during combat.
Due to the level of control and detail the game has regarding weaponry, a task of throwing a grenade is not as simple as pressing one key as in FPS games. In High Calibre you must open the inventory, drag your grenade to your hand, close the inventory, arm the grenade, aim where you wish to throw then click to complete the action and then switch out of paused mode to finally see the fruits of your labour.
If there is a long winded way for performing an action then this game will probably have it, I'll use an example of buying ammunition for your weapons. One would think that it would be a simple case of finding the appropriate vendor then hand over your cash for the goods, well guess again. In High Calibre you have to find a local vendor, purchase empty magazines for your weapon, then purchase the appropriate ammunition then load the bullets into the magazine before you have something usable in your guns. The by-product of this method allows you to load a magazine with different types of ammunition of the same calibre, such as full metal jacket rounds mixed with hollow points.
Every weapon you come across seems to have a large amount of data associated with it, along with a vast array of upgrades and additional components available for them. This level of detail kind of scares me as I know there are gamers out there who love this kind of anorak level of tinkering, feverishly exploring every viable avenue of upgrades to find that extra 0.002% of accuracy on a Tokarev pistol.
Sadly though the game did not grasp me enough to warrant further play, this is not necessarily a bad game it's just not a genre I would normally play. It has the potential to be good for fans of similar titles and appears on the surface to have a lot of depth to the game but definitely requires further polish in certain areas.