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Home > Review Archive > Video Games > Results: Boiling Point: The Road To Hell

Boiling Point: The Road To Hell
by Michael Anderson
July 29, 2005

Deus Ex meets Morrowind and Far Cry in a vast, buggy, computer-intensive, and immersive experience.

Reviewed for PC.

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Scroll down for our Kid Factor.

GamerDad Seal Of Approval - Adult.  Click to learn more about our review seal. One of my favorite things in a game is exploration. I enjoy wandering around the game world, meeting characters, gathering quests and becoming part of a rich and living world. This is why I tend to prefer role-playing games and more open-ended first-person shooters. It's also why games that try to combine the two—like Gothic 2 and Deus Ex—are among my favorites. Boiling Point is a highly ambitious attempt at this genre-bridging game type.

Unfortunately, as a whole this is only a fair game. It's plagued by bugs that cause occasional crashes, what seem like memory leaks, some scripting and AI issues, obvious script translation artifacts, and some more serious problems with quests and non-player characters. In addition, the computer requirements are gargantuan. Even on a high-end system the game sometimes has issues.

For all of the problems though, there is an enjoyable and lengthy game to play if you can make it through. You are a former professional soldier who has come to the fictional South American country of Realia in search of your photojournalist daughter who has gone missing. Realia is a living and breathing world with many factions and opposing elements struggling for control and survival—government, guerillas, bandits, mafia, Indians, and innocent civilians. The country of Realia consists of more than 240 square miles that you can explore on foot or using various land, sea and air vehicles as you carry out quests and missions for the various factions.

This game is a resource hog of epic proportions. You can manage it on a 2GHz system with 512MB RAM and a video card with 128MB of RAM, but be prepared to make some sacrifices in terms of image quality and stability of gameplay. I recommend a computer with a CPU greater than 3GHz, greater than 1GB of RAM, gobs of free hard disk space and a 256MB mid to high-end graphics card.

The controls are standard shooter fare, teamed with more-or-less standard role-playing game keys for inventory and map access. The game displays a helpful information dialog when doing something new, such as trying a new vehicle type. Even so, the controls for driving are not very good. Plan to save and reload very often as you find civilians near your car who die even as you move away from them, thereby turning the entire town against you, including grenade-hurling grannies! On the road you will occasionally spin out for no apparent reason. The shooter controls work well enough, with obvious hit detection making good use of aiming and headshots. The faction identification system is spotty, occasionally taking too long to correctly identify non-player characters, which causes trouble with friendly factions. The game uses a skill system similar to Morrowind where the more you do something, the better you become at it to the detriment of other skills. For example, becoming an expert sniper makes you relatively less proficient with handguns.

I really enjoyed playing Boiling Point for the many hours (>100) I put into completing quests. It is a hard, intense and immersive game that is unfortunately also a buggy mess with the highest hardware requirements I've ever seen. If you loved Deus Ex and Morrowind and the thought of a role-playing game combined with the popular open sandbox gameplay-style thrills you, Boiling Point might be worth buying. Just make sure you have enough computer to run it.

Click to learn more about GamerDad's Kid Factor review section. Boiling Point is a not a game for kids. I was dismayed at the number of twelve to sixteen year-old kids responding to a ‘How old are you?' thread on the official game forums. This is an M-rated game for some very serious reasons, so be wary if your child tells you that it is just a shooter and that there is no nudity and only light language, so they should be able to play. There are troubling realistic things going on. This isn't like playing the Dark Side in Knights of the Old Republic and making a few cruel dialogue choices. Here's one disturbing quest example. You have done some quests for a kindly Indian chief who then sends you with a peace offering for his rival. After successfully delivering the peace pipe, you are tasked by the rival chief to further help the Indians. This chief is not kindly. He plainly states a hatred for white people. He will no longer tolerate the desecration of the Indian burial grounds, which are currently part of a countrywide bus tour. He tasks you to intercept the bus tour at the burial grounds, destroy the bus and kill all of the tourists and guides. You can see the damage tourism does to the native treasures, but killing innocents? This is the type of moral dilemma you are faced with frequently in Boiling Point.

It's a deceptively mature game. It is easy to look at games like Soldier of Fortune 2 or Postal 2 and see how they are not for kids. But Boiling Point has sociopolitical undercurrents involving crime, racism and random violence that makes it more bothersome than those other games. While I think that many M-rated games are fine for kids in their mid-teens, I strongly urge caution with this one.

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