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Note: ZERO HOUR is currently in early access so it will have issues that the devs are working very hard on. I’ll review it again after the formal release to see if any issues have been resolved. Zero hour is being developed and published by M7 production and Attrito
WHAT IS ZERO HOUR?
“Zero Hour is a tactical FPS with online team-based game play that takes place in a variety of fictional locations interpreted in Bangladesh with Real-life scale & resource management.” – via Steam
Now to quickly sum-up the entire premise of the game, it’s a serious but slow paced tactical (PvP) Player versus Player (FPS) First Person Shooter. It is not a run and gun game, if you want to run around head shooting enemies with your AK47, you won’t get it here. In this game team coordination and proper planning is required. Everything in the game, from your weapon choice to how you choose to open a door, affects the gameplay. There are currently 3 modes: Quick match , Co-Op and Training.
Training basically gives you access to practice your aim with all present weapons in the game along with a training course like the one Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare had to check your speed . Co-Op mode is not ready yet because the AI which are you supposed to defeat is very raw at its current stage and needs a lot of work. Quick Match is a 5v5 TDM with objectives such as bomb and hostage rescue. Speaking of hostage, if you are a terrorist (defender) and you are away from the hostage, (fighting the attacking team) the hostage will try to extract itself and escape which is a really cool feature. This can be used as a tactical advantage by attacking team. There are several more things in this game which make the game tactical for example: a planning table, breakable circuits, shields, how you choose to open a door and many other things. To learn how to coordinate, the devs have made a 101 trailer to guide new players here. With that out of the way let’s start reviewing the game!
ARTWORK – 9/10
Zero Hour looks beautiful with an excellent bangladeshi aesthetic to it. The game looks dark but not too dark. Matching the color theory of it, its balanced. The volumetrics are also look very soothing and play a vital role in improving your tactical decisions. The 3D models are very detailed and charming. The UI , if you have enabled the hud, is very clean and looks very professional. Some art work and object found around in the game work very well in creating the atmosphere.
AUDIO DESIGN – 7/10
The OST in the game is very catchy and vibing to hear. As soon as you get in the main menu, the soundtrack already tells you that it’s gonna be serious. Coming to voice acting, I think it’s good. The main problem is the weapon audio. Since the recent update 4 (not the 4th update but the devs call every major update as “update [X]”), they improved the animation of weapons but the audio is still… eh. Its acceptable, but still needs improvement. The lethals on the other hand, are garbage. The whole game looks so realistic and then you throw a grenade and it sounds like a Doom 1993 barrel explosion. It’s one of the things I hope will be improved before the formal release. On the other side, other sounds like police sirens, barking dog , walking , crouching etc are very crisp.
Breakdown of Audio score: OST- 8.5/10 Weapons – 6/10 Voice acting + any other audio – 8/10
GAMEPLAY – 9.5/10
Zero Hour is a serious tactical shooter that has no operators like those in R6 Siege, instead you can make your own loadout with custom weapons and utilities, which is a really likeable feature and gives the player freedom of strategic selection. Zero Hour is not filled with weapons but those which are present are well balanced and the devs will be adding more in future updates as per their road map. There is also a shield if you wanna play defensive. Each weapon is free to test in training mode, which I recommend you doing.
The amount of stealth opportunity in this game is limited only by your imagination (welp almost). For example, while in loadout selection, ask your teammates to grab some night goggles. Then when the game starts, and you reach the nearest circuit breaker and break it, it makes the whole place dark. Since all your teammates had night goggles, you will have a sight advantage against the defenders. And this is only one example. Already this game has set itself apart from siege, heck it’s even more tactical than siege.
Resource management is also a very important feature of the game. You can actually see how many magazines you have left for the weapon and how many bullets the magazines have. There is also 2 types of reloads. Tactical Reload where you save the mag with bullets to save them, and Ballistic Reload (I don’t remember the name) which is way faster but you lose the mag if it had any bullets. You can also peek left and right for extra stealth.
You can shoot down cameras defenders might be using to spy on you, you can slightly open the door to preview enemy’s moves and the planning table. Did I tell you about the planning table? My bad, it’s like nothing I have seen before! The planning table is not just a drawing board, its used for discussing serious tactical planning with your teammates.
The devs are adding a whole new map along with other updates on February 9th. The maps are amazing, with proper props setup along the whole map. These maps are really huge, filled with opportunities for both attackers and defenders when utilized properly.
About the AI
The AI in this game is lacking. You shoot around them and they surrender. This really breaks the immersion of raiding as an attacker in Co-Op. Some things which AI do, like shooting you through open windows or taking a hostage captive when they hear you coming, is smart but other things like randomly standing on a bed like its xmas morning… is dumb. Also their walking and running animation is clunky. PvP mode is fun.
Once you get in a match, it is very fun to creep out of corners and search for where the defenders have hidden hostages and placing C4 at a place where you predict defenders will come out of. Or say, finding out where the attacking team is hiding and using hostages as a shield to peek through windows to find some attackers below. It makes up for the gameplay M7 has promised and shows a lot of potential for the full game release!
I like this game’s tactical approach more than Rainbow 6 Siege, by a lot. And all when the game is still in early access!
DEV SUPPORT AND COMMUNITY – 10/10
Dev support is required in an indie early-access game and the devs fulfill that in spades. They are active on their discord server and other social media. If you complain about something about the game, your request won’t be ignored. It will be considered and there are very high chances you will get a response from the devs. They are working very hard on the game and I would love to see them succeed! Once the game leaves early access and the devs start marketing the game on a large scale, I would love to see the community grow. As of right now, the game is not flourishing because it needs more players to provide game matches. The best way to get a match is either get some friends or ask randoms on discord. Speaking of the current community, they are very sweet and very friendly towards new players. If you are ready dive into this awesome alpha access game, they’ll be happy to teach you the basics.
With well thought out and balanced tactical gameplay which works as promised, one of the best slow-paced gameplay I have ever experienced and with some eye candy graphic work this game is enjoyable. Even with some negatives like the dumb AI, some bad weapon sounds and with some bugs, I think that this game has a lot of potential to rock the tactical shooter market.
If you have spare 10$ and want to support devs who actually know what they are doing, then this is the project you need to follow.