THQ’s first assault on the Xbox360 line-up comes in the form of the original title; The Outfit: Destruction On Demand. Developed at Relic Entertainment as their first console production, Relic’s experience revolves around Real-Time Strategy titles such as Homeworld and Warhammer 40,000: Dawn Of War and little else. As a console production, The Outfit: Destruction On Demand sets itself apart with a different set of boundaries to that of your typical PC Real-Time Strategy and a more immediate approach to gameplay. While this may be a production challenge in itself for Relic, the challenge for THQ is to prove there’s room for what is a droll-take on WWII Shooters alongside Call Of Duty 2, Medal Of Honor: Airborne and their peers.
The Outfit: Destruction On Demand is a Third-Person Action title with a reliance on heavy weaponry. The Campaign Mode sees you playing through a story traversing across several Maps, with the Objectives in each being to capture each Strategic Objective along the way to your destination. Capturing Strategic Objectives is performed by simply standing near and fending-off enemy hordes until your Flag has been raised, and each will then act as a Respawn Point. Motor Pool, Radio Tower and Armoury Strategic Objectives allow you to call-in more powerful reconnaissance to play, through a Menu on the Y Button. The Destruction On Demand Menu is a wheel through which you can select your type of unit – from Infantry Reinforcements to Tanks, Artillery and Air Strikes – simply by positioning the Left Analogue Stick on the correct category and selecting your choice with the corresponding button to the required type of unit. Until the designated Strategic Objectives have been captured, your unit options will be incredibly limited and unable to cause any kind of serious devastation.
The opening stages of the Campaign are enticing, but lack any blissful longevity soon become little more than a stroll through from point-to-point. The Achievement structure is very rewarding; offering two mid-Level Medal Opportunities on each Level rather than the usual award simply for completing the Map. Some of the Medal Opportunity’s aren’t particularly clear while offers will be handed to you as only a slight diversion from the main Objective.
There are three characters playable – both for Allied and Axis forces – each with different weaponry and special attributes. The abilities of your character are very much a factor in your decision when choosing how to play the title as none of your AI will act in any major way without your say-so; manning artillery and charging the enemy are their bread-and-butter, but they’re never going to advance upon the next Strategic Objective without you.
The title also features Multi-Player in the forms of Split-Screen, System Link and XboxLIVE! – both Co-Op and Deathmatch variations – and offers a few more enticing reasons to play. As well as offering the similar set-up to the Campaign Mode – capturing Strategic Objectives as a Points-Timer ticks away, with reaching zero loses the match – there’s also a handful of variations to cut your teeth on. The XboxLIVE! functionality of the title is almost flawless. Head-To-Head, Two-On-Two and Three-On-Three player-schemes are available and infrequent occurrences of Lag and Server Disconnection put previous attempts such as Dead Or Alive 4 and Perfect Dark Zero to great shame. Teaming-up with players either online or offline adds a great deal to the experience of The Outfit: Destruction on Demand, clearly proving that the title has been built around the ideal of immediate, outrageous Multi-Player fun. Simple and addictive, yet under-the-surface a steaming pile of strategy and under-handed gameplay.
The Outfit: Destruction On Demand seems to have shot directly for the new mark of average presentation. As is the usual upon the arrival of the next-generation machines, every developer tries to out-do every other developer by stating that their game is the best looking game on the new system. However, this isn’t The Outfit: Destruction On Demand’s boast. Its presentation is pleasant and minimally presenting bugs, the draw distance is appropriate, if occasionally slow and reminiscent of the PlayStation2’s last-great-hope, Shadow Of The Colossus. The Outfit: Destruction On Demand is simply pleasing, but never excelling at any particular visual or aural credence.
A breath of fresh air on the Xbox360 is clearly The Outfit: Destruction On Demand ethos and it survives the ridicule well for it. Proving that, while it may still be a bit all-gung-ho, there’s still room for more guns as long as they have an individuality or spark to them. Those involved with the WWII gaming fascination already will finding an intriguing break-away here, while those hoping to relive the instant-nature of nineties gaming need look no further. The Outfit: Destruction On Demand is a classic title that deserved to be looked upon with fresh eyes, and not pushed to the wayside by the heavy guns like original pieces Eternal Darkness, Saint Seiya: The Lost Sanctuary and GUN have before it.