This is a new record for the most racist and xenophobic you can be without saying a single slur. Let's go through the checklist: Russian stealing a superweapon? Yup. Sells it to a Middle Eastern warlord? Yup. Enemies running around yelling Arabic phrases at you? Yup.
Let's discuss what this game is. It's a third person shooter, in the same lines as Gears of War or Spec Ops: The Line. While those games implemented story tremendously, and had some intriguing and intense moments; this falls short. There's something a little weird about running through Libya shooting people while you play as "Pope." The sheer American-ness of it all was a little disappointing because it was done seriously. It wasn't tongue in cheek like Team America. It was done with a sense of legitimacy which detracted from the entire experience. The writing for the plot was as xenophobic as you'd expect (come on guys, the cold war has been over for 30 years. You don't need the obligatory Russian arms dealer); the dialogue feels like it was written by that girl out of the movie Paul (remember when she swears for the first time then just can't stop? Yeah, that's our protagonist in a nutshell) and there are more than a few moments where I found myself going "people have to be warned."
I found myself yelling at an Apache helicopter and all I could think was two simple things. Firstly, how did the pilot hear me through the canopy, over the arctic winds and the sound of the helicopter engine. Secondly, well done writers for not making it a Hind; you've at least showed you can avoid SOME stereotypes. Then I just found myself using a rocket launcher where the smoke obscures your view so you can't tell if you hit or missed. It was far too obtrusive and frankly made the section alot more difficult than it needed to be.
Then we can top that off with so many sections where you do the standard run from cover to cover to avoid a heavy machine guns dreadful maw. Except, the cover mechanics are broken and uninteresting. There was no rush or desire to push forward. I had to FORCE myself to go past it, especially because after getting close to the end of a minute long cover dash; it instant killed me with no warning because tank cannons; why not? Then I had to go all the way back to the start.
Now lets think about a very important aspect of third person games: animations. Quite simply, there's a bit of a lack of decent animations or bump mapping. You can punch or hit with your rifle butt to kill enemies instantly. They can also pretty much do the same to you. You can die in two punches but it takes nearly a full magazine to kill you on the hardest difficulty. Speaking of magazines, you'd think reloading would require you to remove the magazine from your gun and replace it with a loaded one? Nope. The magazine NEVER leaves the weapon. It remains there while you wave your hands in a reloading fashion.
From a game where you kill half a thousand or more indigenous peoples; you'd think there'd be a variation in guns. Nope. There's an M16, M249, AK47, SVD, M136-AT LAW (which they call an "RPG"), M1014 and a UMP. That's a total of 7 guns, between over 500 enemies. Not exactly varied. And they don't handle or sound good. The crosshairs don't change size, they just jolt when you fire. Then top that off with their lack of accuracy and inconsistent damage and you have for a shooter that lacks the fun of shooting.
All in all, this game is a colossal disappointment which I genuinely only completed in order to have all the achievements in a game. The story of Pope killing Arabic men to protect the freedom of America is one which I realised halfway through being told did not even need to exist. It's arguably the most disappointing third person shooter I've seen and actually proved something to me. I thought all Modern Military Shooters nowadays were just the same tired rehash about terrorists, Russians and "America! F**K YEAH!" but I was wrong. Somehow, there's something about the Call of Dutys and the Medal of Honors and the Battlefields that makes them at least decent, if not fun. This was a formulaic attempt to recreate those games and hope to do just as well. But it turns out, it's much like a home-made chilli or a savoury mince. You can't just look up the recipe online and everything's fine. If you take 50g of America, 2 tablespoons of Freedom, a pinch of Xenophobia and fry that with 400g of Questionable Views of Foreign Nations (add water and stolen superweapons to thin the sauce) it doesn't necessarily make a good game. This is what happens when you follow a formula to the letter. It lacks originality and character; which is pretty much essential for a good game.