Developer(s) – Infogrames Studios & Sheffield House
Publisher(s) – Infogrames Europe & Sony
Set in the First World War Era, and featuring armies of anthropomorphic pigs, Hogs of War was a different take on the genre of games perpetuated by the hit title Worms, which had players fighting across 3D environments as opposed to 2D ones. I spent a lot of time playing this game when I was a kid, and it still holds up to this day as an enjoyable experience.
Graphics – 7/10
The visuals of the game were fairly well handled for the time. The various different environments presented players with a range of different atmospheres, but I think in those environments when the weather is much murkier are when the theme of the game is portrayed better; such as the last stage, The Isle of Swill. The biggest visible issue with how the graphics are rendered is that there is a great deal of disproportion between the size of both the stages and the characters.
Gameplay – 7/10
Playing out almost identically to worms, the objective is to kill all the pigs on the opposing team before they kill all the player’s pigs. It’s pretty enjoyable, with a fair few weapons to use and strategic techniques to take advantage of. The best thing about it is that unlike in Worms, there is no wind resistance factor to effect the direction in which a bazooka missile might land, thus aiming is a lot easier. It’s biggest downfall, however, is that there isn’t anywhere near as much variety as there is in Worms, since player’s choice of weapons is considerably more limited
Controls – 9/10
In terms of its control scheme, though it relies on a structure similar to how 3D platformers play out, and it inevitable came with the same issues that many other early 3D platformers on the original PlayStation came with, it isn’t anywhere near as much of a hindrance as it was in the like of Croc: Legend of the Gobbos or Bubsy 3D. It could be a reason why the stages are disproportionate to the character, so that less movement was required. In any case, it can be seen as a possible turning point for the quality of the genre on the system before the analogue stick was added to the PlayStation controller.
Lifespan – 6/10
Though the main campaign mode will take about 4 to 5 hours to complete, the player will then unlock another, yet harder, campaign mode, which has them, fighting on the opposite side to before. So in all, the main story will take about 10 to 15 hours to finish completely. Not only that, but like in Worms, players can also have exhibition matches, as well as 2-player matches.
Storyline – 7/10
The story of the game revolves round armies of pigs warring upon the island of Saustralasia, seeking control over it’s most valuable asset; the isle of Swill. According to the lore of the game whoever controls this island controls the rest of the world. Though the basic premise of the plot is quite straightforward, it does have a small element of comedic value to it, as the late Rik Mayall lent his voice talents to the game. Also, when the player completes both story campaigns, another cutscene takes place, portraying the events of the game more closely to how WWI itself would have actually been like, which gives the game much more substance than a player may have first thought.
Originality – 8/10
Though the game may obviously be a modification of an already existing idea, it can also be a lesson learnt to many PlayStation developers on how to create a decent 3D platformer, or at least a possible starting point. A sequel had been in development, but it is now presumed cancelled after Infogrames was absorbed into Atari, SA, though no formal announcement has since been made. It’s a shame, because I believe there could have been ways in which the formula could have been modified for the better.
Overall, Hogs of War is nowadays a fairly obscure game, which isn’t deservedly so, since it’s definitely one of the most memorable gaming experiences on the original PlayStation in my opinion. It is available on the PlayStation Store, and I would recommend it to any fan of the strategy genre.