Thursday, June 22, 2006

Semper Fidelis - Marine Corps, Review

Do rushed and buggy games deserve a second chance? Do you believe every word that you read in initial game reviews? Can developers and fans work together to polish a not- so-great release into a beautiful gem of a game that reflects both depth and value? The answer to all of these questions is a definite yes.

Soldner was a game that was suppose to redefine the multi player genre dominated previously by the Battlefield series of game. Developed by Wings Simulations and hastily released in November of 2004 by JoWooD, Soldner was on track to bridge a gap between seriously realistic combat sims such as Operation Flashpoint and the forgiving world of the Battlefield series of games. Due to an unrealistic production deadline, unoptimized graphics engine and a bag full of bugs, Soldner was slaughtered by PC Gamer and Gamespot in their initial reviews. Many gamers, including myself were not impressed by the way the game played. This was further reinforced by the negative game reviews that were circulating at the time. There was so much undeveloped potential in Soldner and it was truly sad to see the JointOps series of games take away the crown that belonged to Soldner.

Two years later, while shopping at Big Lots (my favorite discount store), I noticed Soldner for a dirt cheap price of $3.99. I immediately decided to give Soldner another try. After a 600 mb patch, I was catapulted into a world which with its game play, depth, and audio-visual quality stands shoulder to shoulder with Battlefield 2. I immediately joined the on-line forum on Soldner’s web site and quickly learned that another development team (Project Zero) with help of the Soldner gaming community went to extreme lengths to fix all of Soldner’s technical flaws while keeping the game concept intact. The game was re-released under a new name in May of 2006. Its new title, Semper Fidelis – Marine Corps, avoids the stigma of the previous game while providing gamers with the genuine Soldner experience.

What makes Soldner unique? What makes it a direct competitor of Battlefield 2 and comparable games? Why is there such a cult following behind it?

Soldner offers the following exclusive game content:

There is a huge selection of weapons that you can purchase as a mercenary soldier
Advanced destruction system (ADS): Players can destroy buildings, terrain and vegetation
There are many land, sea and air vehicles that you can use
Advanced gestures system (AGS): Players can use it as a form of communication
Unit customization system (UCS): Players can choose from different uniforms, camouflage patterns, boots, helmets and caps
All maps are embedded in a seamless and endless world with enormous dimensions of 6500 x 3500 km - think Oblivion in size
Commander mode: Players elect one commander who sees the battlefield from top view, gives orders and manages the team account for buying heavy tanks and other heavy weapons
Mobile Respawn Vehicles: convert into spawn points if parked
Chopper: Some helicopters (for example: Chinook, Blackhawk) can lift vehicles

All of these features combined with a mature gamer community guarantee unprecedented fun. The game is visually stunning and it runs smooth on even mid range computers. Its learning curve is not steep but it is a good idea to quickly go through the training tutorials in order to get familiar with everything. The multi player portion of the game includes some main stream as well as unique game modes:

Capture The Flag (CTF)
Capture The Vehicle (CTV): Similar to CTF, but using a vehicle instead of a flag.
Conquest (CQ)
Super Conquest (SCQ): Similar to CQ. The only difference is that capturing the enemy's headquarters is only possible if all other enemy checkpoints are conquered.
Deathmatch (DM)
Team-Deathmatch (TDM)

Soldner or its re-release (Semper Fidelis – Marine Corps) can be purchased for under $20 which is a major bargain. I highly recommend this game to anyone who loves Battlefield 2 and is craving for a similar game with more depth, fun and realism.


Blogger p1ut0nium said...

Well thought out and excellently composed post. I look forward to more blogs from you bud! (and will probably start one of my own soon). Looking forward to playing Soldner together!

7:38 PM


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