It's a great time for first person shooters at the moment. Games such as The Orange Box, Resistance: Fall of Man, Call of Duty 4 and Turok are bringing the genre back to the forefront of gaming and the advent of PlayStation Network means that epic online battles with your friends are now no longer confined to the PC.
The latest game to strut into the FPS arena is Activision's Soldier of Fortune Payback, a bloody tale of counter-terrorism and espionage on a global scale that sees you take on the role of Thomas Mason, a freelancer for a mercenary group called The Shop. When a routine escort mission goes horribly wrong, Mason finds himself deeply entrenched in an underworld struggle he can only begin to understand as he starts to uncover an extremist plot aimed at throwing the world into global chaos. For the sake of the free world, failure is not an option.
One of the main draws of the Soldier of Fortune games has always been the realistic damage modelling, and Solider of Fortune Payback is no exception. Enemies not only react to the specific area in which they've been hit, but also to the power of the weapon they've been hit with, making for extremely realistic and visceral combat situations. Make no mistake, this is not a game for the faint-hearted.
Master at arms
Any good mercenary needs an impressive arsenal of weaponry, and Soldier of Fortune Payback certainly doesn't disappoint in this regard, with over 30 weapons including sub-machine guns, assault rifles, sniper rifles, projectile explosives, weapon attachments and other cutting edge tactical weapons. Your enemies are similarly armed however, so you'll need all your wits about you if you're to survive. They'll also flank you, use cover and work in teams to try and take you down as you battle your way through authentic mercenary situations in real world hotspots around the globe.
The graphics are impressive, bringing the game world to life through the use of environmental effects and real-world physics, and the character models are incredibly detailed and varied. The soundtrack too, helps create an intense atmosphere with pounding drums and music that's designed to get the adrenaline flowing.
In addition to the single player campaign there's also a robust multiplayer element for individual and team based online modes including: Death Match, Team Death Match, Elimination, Team Elimination, Capture the Flag and Demolition. There's also long-term stat tracking which keeps count of your progress online, perfect for bragging rights over your friends.
Packed with action, excitement and over-the-top violence, Soldier of Fortune Payback is a Hollywood blockbuster action movie in videogame form, perfect for those that like their action brutal, uncompromising and fun.