Six Days in Fallujah Preview
It’s guaranteed to be a sensitive topic – heck, it already is amongst peace groups and the like – but we have to remember that real-life American troops are behind Atomic’s Six Days in Fallujah. We believe it’s their wish to honor the lives of those lost in that deadly battle by giving gamers the chance to view true hell; the chance to see what they went through; the opportunity to experience the chaos and fear of war. For this reason, we’re giving Atomic Games the benefit of the doubt, as 42 U.S. Marines have offered information and details in the form of memories, photos and even videos so as to produce a game that’s as authentic-feeling as humanly possible. On top of which, you needn’t concern yourselves with moral or political messages sitting at the core of the game; it’s not about assigning blame or ragging on Bush or whatever. It’s simply about what our troops faced in a situation most of us can’t comprehend or identify with, and that alone is intriguing. There have been many WWII shooters in the past, but this one hits a whole lot closer to home as it’s not only recent, but almost current.
Atomic and Konami have provided the media with a brief glimpse of Six Days in Fallujah, and although it was short, we can give you a basic idea of the gameplay. This isn’t a first-person shooter as some may have expected; it’s a third-person action title that reminds us a little of Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter or Rainbow Six. A few standard elements of the genre will be in effect: you can take cover behind walls and other obstacles that will sufficiently hide your body from enemy fire, and if you’re getting nailed, you can use this cover to regenerate lost health. But there’s a twist to the cover concept: no matter how sturdy you may perceive it to be, a well-aimed blast can eliminate your safe cover in a matter of seconds. This may be the most appealing aspect of the game: the environmental destruction. When you see footage of towns that have suffered battles in any war in history, few structures remain intact. This is the atmosphere Atomic Games wants to recreate for the player, which means that most anything in the landscape may face its imminent demise.
They’re using a custom-built engine that will let this happen, and it reminds us of the early days of GeoMod technology first displayed in Red Faction way back in 2001 on the PS2. We’ve come a long way in nearly 8 years and in Six Days in Fallujah, you can even blow away obstructions to create new paths for the troops, which indicates the existence of limitless possibilities. Say, for example, the enemy is hunkered down somewhere and they’re fairly well entrenched; a direct assault with the infantry would lead to many casualties. Well, remember that scene in “Saving Private Ryan” where the Germans took out our talented sniper in the bell tower with a massive shell fired from a tank? These are the kinds of solutions both sides may consider in this game, which is why we imagine there should be a healthy amount of strategy and tactics involved. In other words, you’ll need more than just a steady hand and fast reflexes to survive Fallujah; you’ll also need to examine your surroundings at all times. Run ‘n gun may not be the best idea at all times, you know?
You can also expect to see some of those video interviews with the soldiers who experienced the battle first-hand, as they will be included at certain points in the game. Very likely, you’ll see a few of the Marines talking about a particular event during the six days in question, and you will play it either before or after they discuss it on screen. This should add another sense of realism and even reverence to the subject matter, as the player will better understand the reality of the situation. Of course, we’ll still need to have a solid gameplay mechanic or the entire production falls to its knees, and we’d like to think the third-person shooter foundation has been solidified over the past few years. We’ve already seen fantastic examples of how a developer should approach this concept in the past, and really, Atomic only needs to emulate the successful examples of the past few years. There’s enough in the way of freshness and originality due to the premise itself; we wouldn’t mind in the slightest if they basically just used a mechanic we’ve all seen before. This is likely to happen, anyway; from what we can tell, the core gameplay won’t be anything we haven’t seen before.
But again, given the content included, there’s more than enough here to make Six Days in Fallujah stand out in a crowd. The game won’t release until some time next year, but we’re hoping for a solid performance from Atomic Games, and something that will sufficiently pay homage and respect to the Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror.
4/18/2009 Ben Dutka