Iron Storm is a 2002 first-person shooter video game released for Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 2. It was developed by 4X Studios (now doing business as Kylotonn) and published by Wanadoo in Europe, and DreamCatcher Interactive in North America. The PlayStation 2 version was developed by Rebellion Developments. Iron Storm was re-released in 2004 for the PlayStation 2, and in 2005 for Microsoft Windows under the name World War Zero: Iron Storm, which was fully developed by Rebellion.
The game takes place inside an alternate history where the First World War never ended. In 1921, Baron Nikolai Alexsandrovich von Ugenberg (a real person) conquered Mongolia during the Russian Revolution and defeated the bolsheviks, later conquering the German Empire and then China with the help of the Japanese. His plan is to create a Russo-Mongolian Empire stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic. Most nations of the Western Europe, assisted by the parts of Germany and Austro-Hungary, have formed an economic alliance with the United States of America and Great Britain at the forefront in order to combat the evil baron and his zany schemes. The year is 1964 and you play as a man with no personality: Lieutenant James Anderson. His task is breaching the enemy defenses and stopping the bad guys from developing a deadly weapon.
- Despite being interesting and creative, the plot is way too quirky. It wouldn't have been a problem if the game didn't try to take itself too seriously at times.
- The setting is poorly constructed. While some places can be atmospheric, things like gigantic, steel plate-covered trenches or computer terminals within wooden trenches, not to mention military tactics which have not changed in half a century, take the player right out of the experience. They can be good for riffing on, however.
- The war's finances are brought up often. In all TV broadcasts you encounter in enemy terminals throughout the game, stock market prices are shown on a bar scrolling at the bottom. This was done as a part of showing how bad the wars are, but it feels kinda cartoony and forced, which also doesn't tie-in well with the serious tone the game is trying to go with.
- The shooting is bog-standard at best.
- The game often suffers from unforgiving difficulty due to how unbalanced and cheap the methods of increasing it are. Examples include (but are not limited to): ultra-fast tanks, snipers in well-concealed positions, overpowered rocket enemies in tight, coverless corridors, turrets that deal a lot of damage and bomber-dogs (which were attempted in real life, but did not work for obvious reasons). The player can feel at times that they are being injured by ghost bullets.
- For the most part, the level design is unimaginative, unmemorable, and generally poor. Areas tend to be excessively large, linear or maze-like which, while appropriate, are not fun to navigate through.
- The controls are floaty and imprecise. The third-person camera is virtually useless due to it's slipperiness. Jumping into a window requires crouch-jumping for some ungodly reason, as the collision is very poor.
- The weapons look bland and like primitive guns covered in chunks of iron. The saber is nice, though useless.
- You are barely given instructions on what to do. Just faffing about the place will usually be enough to stumble unto progress. Nothing is properly sign-posted. The game can be beaten in less than an hour if you know where to go in advance.
- Awful stealth segments.
- Numerous bugs and glitches.
- Some levels of the game, like the ones where it is snowing, are quite atmospheric.
- The shooting, while average through the level design, is suitably punchy and satisfying.
- There are some moments and places that are unsettling and kinda creepy, which fit the anti-war theme.
- As said above, as odd as it is, it's still an interesting and creative attempt in creating an alternate version of World War I.
The game received mixed reception from critics and players alike.
Super Bunnyhop, in his video about WW1 video games, described Iron Storm as a "bad Half-Life clone" and a "bog-standard early 00's quick-save 'em up".