Though a true shooter in the sense of the genre, Gore: The Ultimate Soldier failed to impress our resident PC game editor with its 'Back to the Old School' style of play. Though not an entire loss as far as a FPS title goes, Gore's lack of originality and style might just be enough to turn away even the most avid fans of the shooter based PC game.
Expectations were set very high for the release of the latest FPS title from the largely independent games publisher Dreamcatcher. From the look of the pre-release gaming still shots and press releases, Gore: The Ultimate Soldier appeared to be one of those small time indy titles that tend to get pushed to the wayside by the big-boy hyped titles released simultaneously (check out our review for Serious Sam for an example). Unfortunately, Gore turned out to be an extremely disappointing FPS title, leaving us very unsatisfied and aching to play a shooter with a little more substance.
To be absolutely fair, Gore is not a bad FPS title. It just happens that its not one of the best FPS releases that we've seen as of late. The fact is that the gaming market has been inundated with extremely remarkable releases within the FPS genre as of late, raising the bar for other games in the areas of character modeling, gameplay, and effects rendering. Gore has taken two steps back within the genre, however, giving players the look and feel of a Quake II based game. Though it does add its own personality to the overall gameplay and visual aesthetics, Gore still has the feel of a title 4 years behind the times.
Gore: The Ultimate Soldier is split into two separate games, the single player campaign and the multiplayer game. An extremely simplistic storyline follows the single player campaign, putting players in the shoes of the good guy forces of the UMC as they battle for control of the futuristic world with the gangster-like forces of MOB. Player's must run-and-gun through 10+ levels, picking up your basic assortment of FPS weapons along the way from fallen enemies and power ups. The first thing we noticed about the single player game was the lack of any cut scenes whatsoever between levels. The most player's will get is a voiceover stating your goals and objectives, mainly consisting of decimating enemy forces within the area. The levels of play also tended to be rather short and straightforward in design, excluding any sort of exploration during gaming. However, each level's core design was almost completely different from one another, giving players a whole different battlefield each time.
The single player's enemy AI was rather quick and intuitive, forcing us to rethink our gaming strategy at various intervals (thankfully, the designers of Gore incorporated an at-will save game system allowing us to replay levels). The FPS battles were extremely fast and furious. Character designs for the enemies were limited, however, with only 4 or 5 base models appearing during the course of the game (not including the same models that happened to have armor). Character modeling consisted of a Quake II era texturing and blocking design work that seemed a little dated at times. The weapons found within the game, though typical in design for an FPS, spouted a few surprises in the form of the alternate fire options. For example, the single barreled shotgun offered an energy shield to repel enemy fire, while the flamethrower was able to launch some devastating fire-bombs at opponents. Even the quad-barreled shotgun was entertaining at times, and above the norm for games such as this.
Even with the interesting weapon designs, the single player campaign of Gore felt extremely flat. The lack of a real storyline, the short levels, and the overused enemy character models made the game feel repetitive and rather stale most of the time. The multiplayer version of the game proved to be a different matter entirely, however, giving the stagnant single player game a very much needed breath of fresh air.
The multiplayer version of Gore consists of a character class system of gaming, not unlike other 'fortress' versions of FPS games. 10 unique players classes are accessible to players from both the UMC and MOB armies. Each class comes with its own set of weapons, strengths, weaknesses, and abilities. Where the scout and assassin characters can move around quietly and with great speed, their armor is extremely lacking. The Heavy Mechanized Infantry Units are the exact opposite, where power and lots of armor win over for them (but try moving those guys around a large garbage dumpster stuck in your way). The MP matches consist of the usual Capture The Flag and Deathmatch modes of play, but also include a couple of interesting gaming varieties which seem to be gaining in popularity among the gaming community. The Assassination level consists of a 'last man standing' style of gaming, where the winning team is the one that has killed all of the opposing teams' members. The last version of the game consists of an Infiltration mode of play, where player's must complete a set of goals in the other teams territory in order to win the match.
Again, the multiplayer version of Gore came as quite a surprise after muddling through the single player game. The class system was well designed, adding depth to an old style of gaming. The maps were also well designed, adding a nice urban futuristic combat feeling to the game (a note to game designers: include more maps next time, please). Gamespy and Dreamweaver's server hosts were well maintained, easy to access, and contained quite a few real life opponents to battle at almost any given time. So, if you're an avid FPS player and are looking for a solid MP game to add to your collection, definitely give Gore a try. You might even find yourself giving the old single player a run as well.
Published by Dreamcatcher