Game Review: Reload
Release: November 9, 2010
Genre: Action / FPS
Available Platforms: Wii (PC & iPhone “Winter 2010”)
Players: 1 – 4
MSRP: $19.99 US
ESRB Rating: T (Teen) for Mild Violence
Reload (also titled Reload: Target Down at some online retailers) is a virtual trip to shooting ranges, training facilities and family farms to shoot targets for fun. Every little kid at some point wants a BB gun to wander their yard and terrorize soda cans, milk jugs, or home-made paper targets. Reload appeals to that same inner child and presents a variety of scenarios, weapons and targets ranging from fruit setup on an old rusted car to law enforcement and military training exercises.
The structure of the game is very straight forward. Following a “Career” of increasingly difficult ranges, the player(s) earn their way to the next level by achieving a passing score. Once completed, any level can be revisited to try for improved scores and earn medals awarded for speed and accuracy. Reload’s Multi-player supports up to four players in two ways. Hot Seat allows up to four players to take turns using the same controller while Versus allows each player with their own controller to compete at the same time.
This is the least violent shooter I have ever played. Being hailed by Mastiff as the World’s first non-violent first person shooter, there are no living targets in the game – human or animal. Even targets that “shoot back” do so with paint ball guns or paint bombs. Shooting scenarios include hostage rescue, sniping, VIP protection and more all done with plywood professional style targets – some friendly and some hostile. Going through these, splintering the bad guy targets and avoiding the good guys is addicting and fun; a lot of fun. The rounds are short – keeping the game casual in nature – but challenging enough to keep you coming back for more. With more than 35 scenarios and over 25 weapons, there are many skills to master. The targeting is accurate and predictable which also makes this game a joy to play.
While game-play options are mostly limited to brightness and volume controls, there are settings that allow the game to be played with or without a nun-chuck or with a Wii zapper – so the game accommodates you instead of the other way around.
Part of the strategy in Reload, as its name implies, is when to reload the weapon. Very quickly I realized that the reload sequence takes the same amount of time no matter how many shells you might be adding to the shotgun, so there is no advantage to reloading after only a couple shots if there is a break in the targets or clay pigeons. Granted, changing a clip is changing a clip – no matter how many bullets are left, but dropping two shells into a Remington shotgun does not take the same amount of time as loading eight.
Where the game really falls apart is in the simple features one would assume to be in any Wii game. In career mode – only one player can follow the career path at a time – meaning there is one “save” for the entire game and if any other player wants to start a career – it deletes the previous player’s career – including any unlocked bonus levels. Why this game doesn’t track careers by player is beyond me. Another oversight is the lack of information on goals and advancement scores. Before starting a level and while blasting through a level there are really no indications of what the point level is to advance to the next level. At the end of the level your score is reviewed and you find out how short you were or that you have advanced. This info wound be a welcome addition to the HUD.
Keeping in mind that this is a budget title at only twenty bucks, or less, and it has some major flaws, this is a very fun game to play. If you don’t have several players wanting to follow career paths in the game, you would probably be able to overlook the flaws of this game and have a blast turning targets into splinters. This game has all the makings of a great game – online worldwide leader boards, controller configuration selection, accurate targeting; Mastiff just needs to get the expected basic features covered so it doesn’t hold this game back. That said, anyone who has ever spent a box of ammo shooting cans for the sheer pleasure of shooting will love this game.
- Realistic & Fun Shooting Ranges
- Non-Violent / No Live Targets
- Accurate Targeting
- No Support For Multiple Player Careers
- Advancement Info Needs To Be More Clear
Final Score: 6 out of 10