7.62 High Calibre
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Mercs get ready for battle

A retired Mercenary gets an offer they can't refuse and its time to get back into the game. Initial introduction into the High Calibre world wastes no time in letting you know that the production values are low and this is going to be rough around the edges. An opening cut-scene is so cringe worthy that it goes straight past embarrassing and into amusing territory thanks to a disjointed voice-over that we can safely assume was performed by someone who has a limited grasp of English.

With the help from other hired guns of your choosing, you lead a mission in Algeria. Instead of the classic turn-based strategy format, combat in 7.62 High Calibre uses a real-time engine, movement points and a constantly interrupting auto-pause function. This fails to retain the excitement one might experience with a real time strategy game and thanks to the incredibly unclear nature of movement points systems fails to encourage the in-depth tactical elements of turn-based strategy.

Other than combat there is a significant amount of role-playing to be had as you must make investigations into your targets and interact with a number of utterly lifeless NPCs in order to progress. Making inquiries to the local law enforcement and criminals will give you info on where to search for your targets and also unveil a number of side-quests to earn extra cash. Unfortunately the role playing elements become tiresome as your character plods around asking the same “Have you seen this man?” questions to the wooden inhabitants of the blandly textured Algerian towns. Other parallels to RPGs include leveling up and gaining cash to buy weapons to keep in your inventory, the tradition of looting bodies, however is not allowed in High Calibre, presumably for difficulty balancing reasons. Humph.

The camera view can be manipulated, zoomed and rotated when exploring towns and when in combat, all of which happens within the same 3D engine. The option to switch to first-person perspective in a pop-out window is a nice touch that allows you to see line-of-sight accurately. Unfortunately rarely are these views much to look at and the closer you get to the limited number of animations the more primitive they seem. As a consequence 7.62 High Calibre system requirements are relatively modest, so it isn't going to fry your PC.

A separate map screen allows you to travel between towns: essentially presenting you with an open world structure, allowing you to peruse side-missions if you wish and get confused if you mis-understand the text briefing. Random and plot-linked encounters can happen when traveling between locations which is represented by an simple arrow crossing the country. Unusual fare for a tactical shooter, and coupled with some of the afore mentioned role playing elements probably the games most interesting feature.

Rough edges and bugs make themselves known regularly but in all fairness don't encroach too much on the enjoyment: just ensures it is never a smooth operation. Spelling mistakes in text boxes are forgivable, the default way of addressing someone in Algeria appears to be shouting through a wall – big deal. Path finding is the sticky issue most likely to frustrate gamers, too often do mercenaries get stuck walking into NPCs and at times, each other.

While it certainly isn't worth actual currency; 7.62 High Calibre may be worth some of your time if you are a real niche strategy shooter fan. A full-3D engine applied to the kind of game still often stuck to hexagons or static views may sound appealing but a frustrating inaccessibility and too many flaws let this title down. There may be diamonds in the rough but they do not make themselves known easily.

Towns can feel a bit lifeless