NOTE: This is a parody review of a (parody) game and should not be taken seriously.
In today's gaming market, you don't have to look hard to find a military-themed First-Person Shooter, such as the long-running Call of Duty series by Activision. Sometimes however, you need something different in order to prevent monotony, which is where the downloadable title Duty Calls: The Calm Before the Storm (aka Duty Calls), released in early 2011, comes in. This military shooter does things that separate it from the crowd, perhaps making it one of the best shooters in this generation.
Normally, a military shooter puts you in the place of an American soldier, and your job is to lead your squad to victory against a foreign army. This formula, however, is not present in Duty Calls, instead taking a bold new direction. In this game, you are an American soldier, and your job is to lead your squad to victory against a foreign army while trying to retrieve a deadly nuclear missile bomb from the hands of the enemy leader boss before he can use it for evil purposes.
The story in this game is very rich and deep, even for a military shooter. Your character goes through a lot of emotional depth, making you connect with him as if you were actually in his place. A particularly dramatic and memorable moment is a cutscene where someone dies while delivering important information. Over the course of the game I had grown so attached to these characters that I felt really sad when this happened. Awe-inspiring setpiece moments help to capitalize on your emotions, bringing the appropriate one to mind when faced with certain obstacles.
The graphics of this game are very realistic, helping to set the tone of the story. The music further helps to set this up, giving a truly epic soundtrack that perfectly matches any given situation. The voice acting is, for lack of a better term, simply amazing, allowing you to become more attached to the characters and get to know who they are.
While the controls may be simple and easy to pick up, there is plenty of variety to be found in the combat. You start out with a standard assault rifle, but as you progress you can pick up other useful items such as sticks and notebook paper, which can help you get out of nasty situations, such as when you are facing off against a persistent paratrooper near the end. There is also a bit of challenge in this game, since it is easy for you to see a bloody screen as soldiers attack with a barrage of bullets. With a little perseverance though, and an awesome moment of slowdown, you can get by them just fine.
There is a ranking system in this game, like in plenty of military shooters, and man do you have to work hard in order to rank up. Even on easier difficulties, it can take a while, but once you get the next rank, you can breathe a sigh of relief before having to rank up again. With enough time and investment though, you too can be a Sergeant of the Master Sergeants Most Important Person of Extreme Sergeants to the Max!
Duty Calls: The Calm Before the Storm is quite a step forward in the way of FPS', especially when it comes to the military genre. It attempts to stand out with some unique ideas and they really work. If you are a fan of military shooters, Duty Calls is a game you should definitely check out.
NOTE: thedutycalls.com, the site from which this game could be downloaded originally, is (as of this writing) a dead link.