Did somebody order up a dozen Nazi zombies with a side of telekinetic super-soldiers? Must be, because that’s what you get with UberSoldier, the latest title in the long list of FPS shooters that have been produced in the past couple of years. While most shooters go the route of being serious endeavors, UberSoldier does its best to be a campy romp through an alternate WWII, and while it succeeds on the action front, some serious hardware bugs, dodgy A.I. issues and absolutely the worst voice acting ever team up to form an opponent that not even the UberSoldier can save himself from.
UberSoldier follows a pretty basic FPS storyline – the bad guys (Nazis) need to be killed. Why? Because they have been dabbling in the occult, and one of their experiments in the resurrection of dead soldiers has come to fruition. Thankfully for the good guys, Karl, the recently Lazerus-ized soldier has turned on the Germans and joined a resistance movement. You guessed it, you play as Karl as he tears his way through waves of Nazis, zombies and other UberSoldiers. You can pretty much ignore the story in this game, as it doesn’t really affect gameplay, since it’s a very linear title. Go this way, climb into this air duct, find this tunnel, etc.. Oh yeah, and use your new superpowers to kill anything you come in contact with.
Super powers you say? Why yes Virginia, the UberSoldier’s recent removal from the ranks of the dead has imbued him with two blood-lusty powers. The first, rage, is simple enough – score three knife kills in a set amount of time (a little meter counts down once your score the first knife kill) and you’ll earn Karl a boost to his max health. The second power, which is much more fun in practice, is the temporal shield. which works like Neo’s shield in The Martix – stopping bullets dead in their tracks. But wait, there’s more, as the bullets don’t just stop and fall, they stick to the shield, which you can then ram into the opposition. Saves you bullets while making you feel devilishly evil as you use the enemy’s bullets against him.
Outside of the super powers, the game’s pretty straightforward, you just run and gun. There are 16 historically inspired guns which for the most part have a nice punch to them and feel semi-realistic in use. Sure there’s a gun here and there that’s a bit much when it comes to effect, but you’ve got to have some fun with the weaponry, right? Along with the handheld artillery, there are some missions that’ll have you firing torpedoes from subs and using ship deck guns to take down aircraft, but these moments pass too quickly to make their mark on the overall gameplay.
Now for the bad part – the game’s production values. Let me preface this all by saying we have spoken with CDV and they are working on a patch to fix some bugs, so hope is not completely lost, but there are some things even a patch can’t fix – especially the voice-acting. The voice work is quite possibly some of the worst I’ve ever heard in a PC title, and I’ve played a lot of PC games. Since when do Nazi’s sound like they came from the Midwest? Nazi scientists with thick Brooklyn accents? Did CDV/Buka just pay their friends to do the voice acting? It’s so noxious, you’ll be quick to turn off the volume, which is ok, since you don’t need to listen to the storyline either, and the sounds of gunfire never stop during play. At least the weapons sound good.
The other aspect of the production values, the graphics, are a mixed bag, going from downright amazing to downright head-scratching. Some levels feature textures that rank right up with Triple-A major development house titles, and others look like someone was running out of time to finish the texturing, so they slapped down the most generic stuff possible. The same goes for the character models, as Nazi guards and boss characters sport lots of facial details and very complete uniforms, but any other opponent looks ridiculously out of place in the much more detailed environments.
I mentioned there were some issues that require a patch, and feel it’s only fair to spell them out. Basically, users of some high-end machines (and nobody’s nailed down exactly which specific configurations cause this) will find the game unplayable due to framerate drops and crashes. What’s odd about this is that there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it, you can have a nice Alienware machine that you can’t use to play the game, but a homebrew gaming PC might do just fine. To compound the oddness of it all, we found that on low-to-mid-range machines, the game ran just fine just about every time. Sure you had to tone down the graphics to accommodate lesser video cards and processors, but it still ran like a champ. Hopefully CDV (the publisher) and Buka (the developer) can figure out the issues quickly.
If you can overlook the voice work and you have a machine the game will run on, UberSoldier’s actually a good bit of fun. It won’t win any awards, and its lack of multiplayer will certainly kill any replay value, but for $29.99 US, it’s a decent bit of weekend gaming. That’s the other thing, UberSoldier is a quick play, don’t expect more than 10 hours out of it, but it should be a fun 10 hours if you miss the basic gameplay of Wolfenstein 3D and its less hardcore sequels.
- Gameplay: 7
- The superpowers and special rounds (gunning down planes and sinking ships) give the gameplay a nice boost
- Graphics: 8
- If your PC can play it, it looks pretty darned good
- Sound: 3
- It’s best to just turn off your speakers and retain your sanity
- Replay: 5
- Fun enough to play through, but short and lacking multiplayer, so there’s no need to play it again
- Overall: 7
- Ignore the god-awful voice acting and plot, and you’ve got a moderately enjoyable FPS. It may not break new ground, but what does these days?