World War II based shooters haven't exactly been in short supply these days, in fact one could go as far to say there might be too many on offer, but as long as quality keeps coming out of game developers, there will always be a buyer. With that said, the reasonably low budget title 'UberSolider' takes on a variant of WWII gameplay, the FPS, that has seen GOTY quality titles in recent times, and while it was an admirable effort by Burut and CDV, ultimately UberSolider leaves much to be desired.
UberSoldier tells the story of a German officer named Karl Stolz during the World War II era. Karl died in a road side ambush attack by rebels, but unlike the other deaths in the incident, Karl's relatively clean death offered a great test subject for Nazi scientists to experiment their "back from the dead" technologies, dubbed the "UberSolider" project. Luck was on their side, as the experiment was successful. However, during the process of regaining life, it was discovered that test subjects, including Karl, gained super natural abilities. On top of this, all UberSoldiers are programmed to only obey commands from the first person that orders them. In Karl's case, a member of the rebel forces intruding on the experiment facility issues his first command, and he becomes a warrior for the rebel cause. It is here that you take control of Karl, and unleash hell on Nazi butt.
Seeing as UberSolider does have a single player storyline to get across, cut scenes have a regular presence in the game but unfortunately they fall well short of quality. Besides the numerous instances of terrible lip syncing, the voice acting is bland at best, and the cut scene content itself often seems rushed and poorly played out. It isn't a huge knock on the game, as the cut scenes never really hold any significant information that you absolutely must know for the next mission, but their lackluster quality certainly doesn't give a good impression on the rest of the game, particularly when the very first moments of the game are, naturally, cut scenes.
It doesn't take long for UberSoldier to launch into its combat gameplay, as your first task is to break out of the facility which turned you into an UberSolider. It's a good thing you get a gun pretty early on, as the best gameplay in UberSoldier is certainly had when using a gun or explosive device such as a grenade. You have a reasonably good range of authentic WWII weapons available throughout the game (12) and the amount of combat on offer is plentiful. On the other hand, though, you will experience hand to hand combat throughout the game and this aspect of UberSolder is drab at best. Hand to hand combat basically consists of holding down Left Shift and running into baddies, mashing your way through. There are no advanced blocking techniques or any real sense of timing involved. Seeing as hand to hand combat is a relatively large part of the game, it would have been great to see a little more effort put into the area.
However, while guns represent the strongest area of the game's combat, it doesn't take long until its appeal wares off. Running around, shooting baddies and pressing "E" (action key) when told to do so is gameplay that doesn't stay fresh for very long, and this is very evident with UberSoldier. While arguably most if not all FPS titles are repetitive to some degree, the basic and simple nature of UberSolider exposes this reality of FPS gaming more than you'd like. Rather than pin point every area of the game that is categorically basic and simple, I'll save some time and just point out a few - the enemy AI is basic and relies on numbers more than wits, the teamwork elements to the game are nothing more than a few NPC units following you around that you have no control or command over, and the level design is extremely linear and straight forward. All in all, UberSolider is a very basic and hence repetitive FPS. Some gamers can stand if not prefer these types of games, while the rest, and probably the most, typically tend to look for a little more in their FPS gameplay these days.
The game does try to offer some unique twists to the genre however, and these can be found in the "Time Shield" ability your character has. As it would happen, due to your aforementioned supernatural powers, you can put a shield around yourself which makes you invincible to bullets for a set period of time, although there is a catch - you can't shoot enemies either, you can only use melee attacks when the Time Shield is active. This set period of time is displayed via a bar down the bottom left, which increases every time you do three heat shots in a row quickly. On top of this, three melee kills in a row quickly will increase your health limit.
These are nice attempts to add some flavour to the gameplay but they really don't make much of an impact - the Time Shield concept seems like it could offer a nice strategy element, but there are times in the game where it seems absolutely necessary to use it due to the enemy count, which kinda takes away its edge - what's really the difference between no Time Shield and less enemies, and more enemies with the Time Shield ability present? The only real difference is, the latter forces more room for the game's primitive melee attack system to be used, which isn't a good idea when the shooting combat is so much better.
Visually, UberSoldier is about mid range - not bad, but not spectacular. The environments tend to vary in quality when it comes to texturing and detail, but overall they are reasonably well done, although as mentioned the level designs are pretty basic. The special effects are probably the highpoint, which basically just covers the explosions. Unfortunately, I had issues running UberSolider at 1280x1024, the native resolution of the PC used, as it would crash back to the desktop whenever this option was set. This could be the fault of my X1900XTX videocard and/or its drivers, but seeing as no other game has this issue, and that I experienced numerous other crashes in UberSolder, I'd warrant a bet it is the fault of the game's. The game does feature an auto update function but no patches were available at the time of writing - which is about 2 months since it was released.
UberSolider is a decent FPS, but it is a very basic one that lacks attention to detail. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it takes a certain type of gamer to really enjoy this type of mindless, systematic FPS gameplay. A few unique abilities and features are thrown into the mix, but these don't add up to make a whole lot of difference. If you simply can't get enough first person shooting action, UberSolider is a fine game, but if you prefer to reserve your gaming to more advanced, detailed shooters, you could safely give it a miss. Given it is priced reasonably low however (AU$49.95), you could definitely do a lot worse for the money.