Forgotten Gems of Gaming: Hogs of War

This tactical third-person war sim was a charming game with outstanding gameplay, but perhaps failed to achieve the popularity and success it deserves.

If you remember making turn-based bacon with war torn pigs in the Playstation€™s twilight years, then you probably enjoyed Hogs of War. This tactical third-person war sim was a charming game with outstanding gameplay, but perhaps failed to achieve the popularity and success it deserves.

Hogs of War was released for the original Playstation and the PC in mid-2000, after the Playstation 2 had been released but before most people had upgraded to Sony€™s newest machine, the cash-money needed was just too much. I first encountered Hogs€™ on a demo disc for the Official Playstation Magazine, and it struck me as something special from the first time I played it, mainly because I love bacon and shooting stuff. I later bought the full game with its stand out cover art featuring a helmet with the words €œBorn to Grill€--one of the many pig references throughout the game. This one provided me with hours and hours of single and multiplayer fun.
The gameplay was essentially a copy of the popular Worms format but reimagined in 3D, three years before Team17 took their series down that path with Worms 3D. Developers at Infogames knowingly decided to try and cash in on Worms€™ tried and tested gameplay, but they also added a lot, not only successfully applying the format to a 3D environment but also adding their own humor and depth that meant the game didn€™t just rest on it€™s spiritual older brother. Hogs or War had great charm and humour, everything from the voiceover work to the retro-style cut scenes. Set in a World War I style world in which anthropomorphised pigs battle it out for control of €œSwill€ on pig shaped islands known as Saustralasia in the South Pigcific Ocean (yes there are lots and lots of pig based puns). The game does a good job commenting on the absurdities of war, all with the aid of British comedy master Rik Mayall, who provides the voiceover and many of the games pig voices. Created in Sheffield, the game has a very British feel and isn€™t afraid of using British humour, something modern games appear to be afraid of, even though many, many of todays most popular titles are produced in the UK. The 3D environments work well with decent draw distance for the time, often bright and with a weather effect to suit each stage, new maps brought new challengers, terrains and joys. The maps where well thought through and pig placement worked well, but despite this, the environments were bare by todays standards and usually quite bland. The single player provided a lot of fun with a satisfying level-up system based upon medals and classes for your pigs. It was hard not to become attached to your porky pals as you narrowly made it through each battle. Losing one of your comrades could be hard, but they were only completely dead if you let more than two perish.
Multiplayer is where the game shined, you could play with up to four friends, taking turns to blast the enemy swine. The turn based element added to the tense battles, in which a few good moves meant disaster for you or your opponent. The game was nearly revived in 2008, when Infogames announced Hogs of War 2 to be released for the Nintendo DS, Wii, Playstation 2 and PC. This idea ended in heartbreak for fans as the game was cancelled, mainly due to financial issues from Infogames seeing the company eventually absorbed into Atari. So there is little hope for those who want to see pigs fight to the death again, but maybe someone could start an internet petition or something, as that's how things get done nowadays.
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