Prisoner of War
Game Info
Platform(s)
Xbox
Publisher
Codemasters
Developer
Wide Games Limited
Genre
Stealth/Action
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Violence
 
Grade
The Good

• Stealth gameplay is solid
• Voiceovers are pretty good

The Bad

• Graphic engine doesn't take advantage of the Xbox
• Camera can cause trouble

 
Grade
B-

In Prisoner of War, you play as Captain Lewis Stone, an American pilot during World War 2. Flying over Germany on a mission, he gets shot down and finds himself in a prisoner camp. As the headstrong Captain, you must use stealth to find a way to get out the camp. But, things aren't so simple as just sneaking out - you need to speak to the other prisoners to get information, acquire items like a crowbar or bootblack, and come up with a plan to get out.

Unlike other stealth titles, like Metal Gear Solid 2 and Tenchu, you have to work during limited time periods as the camps are set up on a schedule. If you need to sneak into a building during the afternoon break or after Lights Out, you'll need to be sure to keep one eye on the clock. In the lower left hand corner is a radar that allows you to see guards field of vision, which can help in avoiding being caught. Often, when you need to perform a task, you'll need to talk to the other prisoners for tips and suggestions, or even to get them to run interference for you. Some will do it for free, but most will reacquire money. But money is actually just contraband found around the camp. Not all missions involve you escaping - some require doing even the smallest of things, like sneaking into an office to play a tape over the public address system. And, if you get caught or shot by the guards, expect any items on you to get taken away. Luckily, there's always someone around who'll get the items back or sell you new ones.

When sneaking around, the player can perform a variety of actions with the A and X buttons, depending on the situation, including sneaking under buildings are using items you have on hand. You can scale fences, or hide up against walls and use stones to distract guards. The Y button is used to crouch, which is useful in certain areas as some walls are lower and certain entrances require walking while crouched to get in.

I won't kid you - the game's graphics engine isn't that impressive. While functional, the graphics for the camps and soldiers are blocky and weakly animated. When people talk, they look like puppets, but that may be partially due to the fact that everyone is designed with an almost cartoony look to them. Everyone, ranging from the guards to the prisoners, seem to look more like caricatures than actual representations of World War 2 era soldiers. The camps are large and have decent detail, but I wish that there was just a little more done. More detail and depth. Just a little more polish and maybe some better utilization of the Xbox's power would have been nice.

The voice acting is top notch, even if it feels campy, propaganda-laden and a caricature of most World War 2 films and even Hogan's Heroes. There's a lot of spoken parts here and they all are done well. Sound effects and audio clues are executed well and the music is really good.

For the most part, everything about the gameplay is executed well, but I will say that the in-game camera can make sneaking about a lot harder. From time to time, the camera seems to locate itself in a place that forces you to address it. Hopefully, you won't have a guard or spotlight nearby when it happens. Also, you'll find the guards unrealistically nice, as no matter how many times your caught or shot at, you're allowed to roam freely. I would have liked there to be some serious repercussions to getting caught one too many times.

Prisoner of War is one of those games that fans of stealth and World War 2 era games will want to look into. While it may not look as shiny and polished as other games (Buffy or Enclave), it does provide solid gameplay to keep players going back for more. Rent if you're interested but not sure.

- - Vane

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