Soldner: Secret Wars Review

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Graphics: 6.0
Sound : 6.0
Gameplay : 3.0
Multiplayer : 4.0
Overall : 5.0
Review by Dave Remy
Looking back at Soldner, I feel a little weird about reviewing this game because it just doesn't feel complete. Any way I slice it I can't see how this game in its current state can be considered complete. While Soldner might have been released at every major game store for the price of 40 dollars, the game still has all of the problems that gamers should not have to see in a retail product. The programmers at Wings Simulations forgot to eliminate any of the debilitating bugs, slowdown, and crashes my copy of the game came with a patch disc for crying out loud.

Enough talk about the bugs it's time to talk about the game. First and foremost, Soldner has a problem running well on all systems that I personally tried, and other reviewers systems. Should you only meet the minimum system requirements (1.4GHz, 256MB Ram, 32MB video card), the game will be plagued with slowdowns, and sometimes will also have problems starting up. Should you meet the so- called "recommended" system requirements (2GHz, 512MB Ram, 64MB video card), the game will still not run much better, only turning down the degree at which these problems are truly annoying and disruptive. Even the system that Soldner proudly states it "plays best on", Alienware, does not run it perfectly. At first I thought to myself, "Could these problems be caused by new, cutting-edge technology that my present-day computer cannot possibly process?" In case you're curious, the answer was no.

With the recommended system requirements, naturally I thought that Soldner would have outstanding graphics that would warrant such processing power. As it turns out, the graphics are pretty plain, such as flat walls that lack any kind of real detail. It is not uncommon to see quite a bit of clipping around the bland environments, and it is apparent that the programmers did not do any tweaking to a very crucial area of the game. With the system requirements being what they are, this flaw is unforgivable.

Provided that the system requirements are met, there is still a game to wade through. Like any FPS, good or bad, Soldner has a single and multiplayer mode. Since single player is essentially the gateway to multiplayer, it is hardly worth mentioning. Soldner is German for the word mercenary, a theme used throughout both the single and multiplayer aspects of the game. As a mercenary, there are many missions that you can accept to make some money. These missions can range from saving someone, killing a certain person, to taking out large groups of Npcs at once. The money gained from these missions will more than likely be used to purchase a vehicle or other such items from Soldner's vast selection. The missions types repeat themselves often, throw in a predictable and just plain unintelligent AI, and you have a great idea of how the single player mode of Soldner pans out.

If it weren't for the various problems that Soldner has with running on any computer, the multiplayer mode would almost be an enjoyable experience. The game doesn't hold a torch to other like minded tiles on the market, but there is some fun factor in directing a team of diverse soldiers to victory. The vehicles, although problematic in their own way, add some variety and a little more immediacy to the battles but are plagued by control problems. However, multiplayer still holds the most enjoyment that you'll get out of this game.

No matter what mode you choose, the controls can become problematic and downright frustrating in certain areas. The standard control scheme for an FPS is here, and will be familiar to fans of the genre. There are a few minor problems that come with standard on-foot movement, but those problems are nothing compared to the problems that come with trying to control some of the featured vehicles. In the name of supposed realism of helicopter physics, the programmers have made the lag time between actual input of a command and the implementation of that command so large that essentially a player needs a sixth sense to actually pilot it without immediately crashing. The controls, at times, drive one to frustration, and such control flaws make the game nearly unbearable.

The development team has some good ideas but the delivery is shameful. Vast environments with loads of weapons, heroic vehicles, various items to blow them apart with, and a multiplayer mode that encourages elaborate team activity are all in the game. These ideas sound good on paper, even better when properly implemented and assimilated into a polished product, but none are particularly original or well executed in this game. Unfortunately, all that Soldner really has to offer is potential. The ability to one day become something much better than it actually is. Until then, spend your money on Battlefield: Vietnam, or other like-minded games. This one is nothing more than a shelf warmer.