18 Apr, 2006

UberSoldier Review

PC Review | It's uber. Apparently.
Just what the world needs – the 4,242,285th World War II first-person shooter. You would have think that most developers would have taken one look at the brilliant Call of Duty 2 and thrown any plans for a Second World War FPS in the bin, no? Apparently not. Small eastern-European developers Burut have taken up the challenge with a budget title UberSoldier. No, don’t run away – just because it has a budget price point doesn’t mean it’s terrible! Surprisingly, it’s actually decent, with a few somewhat innovative features – even if they are hardly going to take the genre by storm. Unfortunately for this soldier, the FPS genre is the most crowded on the PC, and if a game is going to stand out, it has to be a lot better than just decent.

UberSoldier doesn’t get off to a great start – it has a woeful storyline, to be blunt. It’s 1944. Some typically evil Nazi scientists have discovered a way to resurrect dead soldiers. Not only can they come back from the dead, they also bring some rather fancy super-powers with them. Hence the uber, obviously. The catch is that they will only listen to the orders of the first person to talk to them after they wake up from their resurrection. You play the role of Nazi soldier, Karl Stolz. Things don’t get off to a good star for Karl, as he dies in the first scene of the game. And you know what that means – time to become a super-soldier! Unfortunately for the Nazis, some woman from the French resistance just happens to be in the room as Karl wakes up (why? It’s hard to say, really). Naturally, Karl rebels against the Nazis, and it’s your job to help put a stop to the UberSoldier project. No, that is not a joke. The story isn’t helped by some highly questionable English translations all over the brief story text screens (psychopathic hospital, anyone?), which makes the story even more laughable. Although, in UberSoldier’s defense, the story is better constructed than your average episode of According to Jim.

It's raining fire! It's the apocalypse! Nowish!

It's raining fire! It's the apocalypse! Nowish!
Start the game, and everything feels extremely familiar. It’s your nuts and bolts first-person shooter. Press a numeric key for a weapon, left control to crouch, space to jump, use the mouse to aim (although aiming does feel a little bit weird to start with) – all standard stuff. There are a few unique options at your disposal, though. Pressing the left shift key at any point will make Karl lash out with a knife, which is extremely useful for those troublesome times when you hear the click of an empty magazine cartridge. On top of that, if you manage to get three knife kills in quick succession, you will add a few points to your maximum health, making you stronger. Handy.

The only real sort innovation displayed by UberSoldier is the bullet shield. Hit Q, and a rather spectacular sphere will engulf our hero, ensuring bullets fired from outside the sphere can’t touch him. Instead, bullets collect in the shield. Karl can then run at his enemies at kill them with his own bullets – brilliant. There is a limit to its usage though, so you’d best save it for when you really need it. But, similar to overall health, this limit can be increased by getting three headshots in quick succession. It’s a fun little addition, and is about the only thing that makes Karl uber.

A vortex suddenly appears to send the Nazi to hell.

A vortex suddenly appears to send the Nazi to hell.
Unfortunately, this bullet shield is also the only unique feature in the entire game. Everything else you’ve already done seen done and better in previous games. There’s your standard computer controlled allies (who usually don’t last against a single wave of Nazi troops – but then again, they are French). There aren’t any sorts of puzzles – just run to the point indicated on the map in the top right corner of the screen, kill everything, then repeat ‘til sleep. Thankfully your enemies are somewhat smart, knowing when to dive from a grenade, when to hide, and so on. There’s the occasional glitch (like when they try and throw a grenade at you when you’re in kissing distance), but no major hassles. The gameplay is, while decent fun at times, just completely and utterly unremarkable.

Somewhat surprisingly for a budget title, the game is solid graphically, with the explosions and their blast waves looking quite spectacular. There’s even rag-doll physics, too. Unfortunately, it’s still behind some of the more impressive titles. Most textures look pretty rather pixilated, which is something you don’t see to often these days. Then there’s the bright neon green crosshair – clash much? Oh, and the cut-scene direction – it’s horrendously disjointed, with lip-sync that is equally bad. Of course, this is not a patch on the actual dialogue. It’s so damn terrible it’s hilarious. It’s wooden, it’s horribly disjointed, and the accents are atrocious. It’s worth hearing just to laugh at, really. Your character tends to make the most inappropriate grunts too, sounding rather girly when shot for a supposed super soldier. Music occasionally makes an appearance, but is usually always inappropriate for the situation. Finally, there are the guns, which make this PC’s sound card sound like it was pulled out of the SNES. They’re distorted like they’ve just been through a cheap walkie talkie, and just don’t really sound right.

What is it with all the explosion pictures!?

What is it with all the explosion pictures!?
Then there’s a big killer – no multiplayer. This is undoubtedly thanks to the game’s budget price point and short development time, but really, it’s difficult to forgive any FPS game without a trace of multiplayer. Especially when the single player is so short – any half experienced player will probably blow through this game in half a dozen hours. Not only is it short, it’s not what you would call especially hard. There’s basically nothing in terms of extras to keep you hanging around, either. You get what you pay for, really.

So, in the end, UberSoldier is just a by-the-numbers first-person shooter. It has a somewhat unique charm, thanks to its ridiculous storyline, voice acting and nifty bullet shield. But, it also suffers from a low budget – the cut-scenes are laughable, the English used in the game is highly questionable, and there’s no multiplayer. So, while UberSoldier is worth some slight consideration thanks to its budget price point and decent blasting gameplay, there are also about a million better FPS games available on the PC. If you’ve played all those, then maybe this is worth consideration. But you haven’t, which makes this game fairly redundant.
The Score
For a budget title, UberSoldier isn’t bad for a slice of mindless action. It’s just it is really hard to justify buying it when there are so many other vastly better first-person shooters out there. 5
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related UberSoldier Content

UberSoldier Preview
02 Mar, 2006 We playtest the Nazi's evil experiment.
Perfect Dark Zero Review
21 Mar, 2006 Far from perfect.
We Love Katamari Review
03 Feb, 2006 Naaaa, na, na, na, na, na, na, Katamari Damacy!
8 years ago
Very interesting review as always.
8 years ago
Tune in next week when we see if Brendan can write an entire article without referencing Joss Whedon icon_wink.gif

Just what I expected score wise - oh how I despise War related games.
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