Massive system requirements, a by-the-numbers campaign, and no multiplayer make for a first-person shooter that doesn't have much in the way of redeeming qualities.
- Graphic engine looks nice--if you can get it to run
- You can stop bullets!
- (unintentionally) Campy story and dialogue.
- Game engine is a major system hog
- Brief campaign is a snooze
- Very high system requirements
- No multiplayer.
UberSoldier exemplifies almost everything that people hate about first-person shooters. The game's story is pretty terrible, and it's delivered in numerous cutscenes with voice acting that's so bad, it's almost campy. Meanwhile, aside from one unique game mechanic, the brief single-player campaign is almost wholly unremarkable, and massive system requirements will keep most people from playing this at an acceptable resolution or frame rate. The lack of multiplayer also hurts what little intrinsic value the game had to begin with.
UberSoldier's story is something taken out of a bad science-fiction novel. German scientists traveling to Tibet during WWII have discovered an ancient technique for reincarnation. Conveniently, the reanimated zombies have supernatural powers and will obey the first person that speaks to them after they rise from the dead. As the war in Europe rages on, Nazi researchers work feverishly to refine the process of reincarnating dead German troops to create a unit of undead supersoldiers. You play the game as Karl Stoltz, an elite German soldier killed in an ambush by French Resistance. The Nazi scientists reincarnate you, but just before you awaken, a raid on the research facility takes place, and the first person that talks to you ends up being a member of the rebel raiders. Thus, the Allies gain their own supersoldier, and you take up arms against your former comrades who have turned you into something of a monster.
As an UberSoldier, you have the unique ability to put up a bullet shield around you, which stops bullets in their tracks, much like Neo in The Matrix. This ability is powered by a meter, which is charged up by accumulating headshots on enemies in quick succession. If your meter has enough power, you can actually reflect the bullets right back at the enemies who shot at you. It's actually a pretty-looking effect, with a blue shimmer that holds individual bullets up in midair. This special effect tends to feel overpowered at times though, even if you can't shoot out of your own shield. Moving from one piece of cover to another is a trivial matter with this bullet shield, and recharging isn't overly difficult in the many missions where you're armed with sniper rifles. These missions let you score headshot after headshot against enemy artificial intelligence that isn't very bright. Or you can simply charge up to groups of enemies and empty automatic weapons into them at close range. There's another special ability where you can gain health by knifing three soldiers rapidly, one right after the other. But given that enemy soldiers drop health when they die (and it's so much easier to just shoot them), there isn't much motivation to take advantage of that particular play mechanic.
Aside from the slightly interesting bullet shield, there's really not much to UberSoldier. While the mission objectives may vary in name, and you can man a U-boat at one point, the game mostly boils down to moving from point A to point B, blasting everything in sight, and making liberal use of the quick-save and quick-load buttons. The missions will occasionally have you working alongside some AI-controlled cohorts, but they're no smarter than the enemy soldiers, as they take cover on the wrong side of debris and generally act as cannon fodder. If you can stomach the monotony, it shouldn't take you more than six or seven hours to finish the game, counting reloads for the times you forgot to hit quick save. Depending on the computer you have, you're liable to spend a good percentage of that time just waiting on load screens, as the loading times in this game are horrendous.
On the plus side, UberSoldier includes a good number of authentic World War II rifles, pistols, and submachine guns. The campaign will take you across the usual slate of secret research facilities, bombed-out cities, military bases, and the aforementioned U-boat as you work on behalf of the Allies. The weapon models and environments in the game actually look pretty good, with a great deal of detail and texture sharpness. Character models can look a little generic and plastic-like though, and the rag-doll physics in the game go overboard with contortionist positions. The main issue with the graphics is that the performance is terrible unless you have a powerful computer. We had trouble getting the game to run at a decent frame rate on a Pentium 4 2.4GHz, with 1GB of RAM and a Geforce 6800 overclocked video card, even at a modest 1024x768 resolution. Turning down graphical bells fixed the frame rate issue to an extent, at the cost of graphical fidelity, and later levels didn't seem to suffer as badly. But UberSoldier is still somewhat of a system hog, and while the graphics can look nice, the payoff isn't exactly on the level of many other pretty graphics engines. Unfortunately, the sound doesn't do much for the presentation either. While the gun effects and explosions are generally decent, the voice acting in the game is flat-out awful, making us wonder at times if placeholder voices were never switched out. The actor playing Stoltz is completely wooden, and many of the other lines of dialogue are delivered with exactly the wrong intonation for a given situation.
If UberSoldier had a multiplayer mode, there may have been some salvation to be found, but surprisingly for a PC first-person shooter, there's no multiplayer mode at all. Since the presentation and single-player campaign leave you wanting, there's really not much reason to play UberSoldier...unless it's for the story and voice acting, which are so bad they're almost campy.