7.62 High Calibre is a Strategy Game developed by Apeiron and is the sequel to the game Brigade E5. It almost feels like a spirtual successor to the old Jagged Alliance games, which have influenced many games in their time. This game does not fail to impress, and emulate all the key elements of Jagged Alliance which made it such a good series, while bringing new features to the table.
Based in the fictional nation of Algeira, a country just north of Brigade E5's previous warzone, you are a mercenary who has been hired to hunt down a Russian man who screwed over a bank and was never apprehended. He has fled to Algeira to avoid prosecution, and you'll have to hunt him down by any means necessary, and bring him back dead or alive. Of course, you'll start the game with rather ♥♥♥♥♥♥ equipment which means you have to spend some time doing jobs on the side, but that's one of the big advantages of the game in a way, as it is a strategy game, yet you get to carve out your own destiny and plan prior to getting stuck in and finishing the main quest before you've even done the cool parts. If you go try to go ahead with the main plot and speedrun it, you'll most likely get curb-stomped unless you know what you're doing, but you're always free to roam the jungle and cities of Algeira, finding quests and new mercs to hire on your way, up to a 6-man squad.
A big plus in my opinion is the HUGE variety of weapons you can get. Literally tons, from Glock 22's and P220's to Remington 870 Magnums and AKS-74U's, all the way up to FN Minimi's and M14 SOCOM rifles. You'll never go more than an hour without finding at least a few new weapons to play with, and they all come in many flavours of calibre, allowing you to mix and match your ammo with Armour Piercing Rounds, FMJ Rounds, and many more variants. Many weapons can also be custom rigged with scopes and lasers to allow you to get the most out of them in a firefight too. Even better is that the game can be installed with the Blue Sun Mod which adds a massive amount of content & weapons to a game which already has plenty to play with. I will mention how to install this mod at the end!
The game's key feature is Real-Time Pausing, which allows for a mix between turn-based and real-time gameplay, allowing you to experience the best of both worlds. The game can be paused at any time to allow you to command your merry band of mercenaries, and then unpaused to let them carry out their actions. Alternatively you don't need to pause the game once (The game does it automatically VERY often but it can easily be disabled), and instead command your team on the fly, allowing for fast-paced combat and tactical planning to overcome the enemy.
Sound Effects - 7.62 has a lot of good sound effects, mostly for the weapons you can get your hands on. Turn bass up on your computer and expect to hear some ear-shattering explosions and gunshots loud enough to kill a blue whale.
Graphics - The game is a little dated now, and the graphics aren't really up to competition with the likes of XCOM - Enemy Unknown, but it's still a beautiful game. Watching the sun set over Algeira as you mow down squads of bandits with unending bullets is truly a wonderous sight. Some of the textures of the game aren't the greatest, but again, it's not a new game.
AI - The AI is what makes the game so challenging. They're bloody smart, and will routinely change tactics just to get the drop on you. Snipers on your squad can be expected to be flanked while they shoot at other bad guys, and you'll have grenades thrown at you purely to force you to retreat, giving the enemy more ground to corner you into. They'll even retreat themselves if they know they're in trouble, and will regroup with their buddies so they can have another pop at you. If it seems too difficult however, you do have an option to dumb down the AI so they aren't performing counter-attacks that would see Delta Force hang their heads in shame.
Playability - The game is very playable and enjoyable, albeit being a bit confusing at first. Tossed into some Latin country with nothing but a TT-33 and ammo can obviously be a little uninformative, so you'll have to do most of the snooping around yourself. The controls are relatively simple, but do get a little getting used to. One of the good (or bad, depending how you know guns) things about the game is that guns must be cleaned, have their magazines filled individually, and then loaded into the firearm that uses them, as it obviously doesn't help trying to fire empty mags at someone trying to take your head off. So bear in mind to use a firearm effectively -
1. Make sure you have the right mags for the gun.
2. Make sure you have the right calibre of ammunition for the gun.
3. Make sure you have the gun loaded with a mag of ammo.
It may seem a little condescending, but it's painfully easy to run into battle and forget that you never loaded your mags up, leaving you one full magazine to fight many enemies, unless you want to waste ages loading up each mag as you get shot at.
~The game also gives you a lot of leeway too, you aren't in a rush to complete the main quest, and you never really have to. If you just want to shoot cops in a 3rd World Dictatorship then the game won't stop you. But the Army might. On the other hand, if you want to hire your own private army and run a revolution of your own, then you can quite easily do that.
~The developers of the game are very supportive and helpful to their community, who you can find on the discussions of this game frequently assisting players with technical issues and other options. They are very polite and can definitely be relied on, which is always a good thing.
The bad things worth mentioning
~ The game does have a tendency to crash. Make sure you save often and keep more than one save. The game auto-saves quite often, but even losing one save can set you back a little.
~Sometimes enemies will get stuck on ladders for whatever reason, so if you've killed all the enemies you see but are still technically in 'combat mode', check the ladders.
~Whether this is good or bad depends on how you like your game, (I like this but not everyone might) but the game is ridiculously difficult. You can add as many modifiers to make the game as easy as possible as you wish, but even then, enemies are very accurate and can shoot you in the head, (Near blinding you) shooting you in the chest (Crippling you), leg shots and even arm shots which will send your current weapon flying on the floor, stunning you in the process. Sometimes you'll end up in shock if you encounter many enemies at once, get shot at, or whatever else. It can be frustrating, but the enemy is also prone to all of this, so make your shots count. (The game is rather punishing but very satisfying to play)
~The game is rather cheesy and I wouldn't blame you for forgetting you aren't fighting in the Congo in the 80's, especially with some of the silly dialogue options. The only thing that convinced me otherwise was the fact you can find things like Kriss Super V's and XM8's if you're lucky.
~Like most RPG's, you can screw some missions up, and not even realise until you get to them. What I mean is that last guy you blasted in that town? Oh yeah, he's part of a quest later. So try not to be too trigger happy, even if it is just so you can kill them and take their weapons.
[All in all however, this game is definitely worth buying. It's a steal too, for only $5, or £4. The Blue Sun Mod is recommended, as it adds a lot to this great game, as well as having patches. You can install it by right clicking on the game, going to propeties, beta (I think it's the last tab) and clicking the community patch.] One of my personal favourites, and I hope it'll be one of yours too. 9/10.