Stealth Combat: Ultimate War
It's Fair To say that PC games suffer from a bit of an image problem. Whereas consoles play host to brightly coloured worlds and madcap characters, the beige box is blighted with goblins and dour futuristic warfare. Example? How about this from the Stealth Combat press release: "The year is 2038 and war is raging between the Economic and Military Alliance and the Great Empire..." It's not laugh-a-minute stuff, is it?
We've sat through the intro several times, and have still yet to grasp the exact geopolitical nuances of the plot. Suffice to say that the world is teetering on the edge of nuclear annihilation, and this less than cheery scenario gives you the opportunity to pick sides and embark on a number of pre-determined military missions. If you side with the Alliance you play a bloke called Streak, if you go with the Empire, you're a Doris called Moon.
Either way, you get to control a lot of hardware, be it jeeps, tanks, Meehs, helicopters or amphibious vehicles. There's not a great deal of thought involved, as missions essentially consist of following directions, setting a course for a waypoint and shooting whatever's there. Instructions can be given to other vehicles, and in a fairly blatant stretching of practicality, you can instantly switch from one cockpit to another in the heat of the battle.
In direct contradiction of the game's title, some missions involve about as much stealth as driving a loud machine and causing large explosions, ie not much stealth. However, there are those where skulking around is required, and this is where the game is most infuriating. Lurking in the shadows on foot is a staple of a number of superb games, but attempting it in an unwieldy buggy hampered by an erratic camera is like trying to plait snot, and some way removed from fun.
In its favour, the aerial missions are slightly less restrictive, and overall there is just about enough going on to keep you vaguely interested. Ultimately though, it's all a bit leaden and contrived. No great strategy is required, and it does tend to feel like you're simply going through the motions.
With the two campaigns offering a total of 25 missions, it may take a while to plough through on the hardest setting, but after a while it offers as much a test of patience as it does gaming prowess. We're trying to be kind here, but while Stealth Combat isn't the worst game ever, it's some distance from the best. So, forget about it.
Download Stealth Combat: Ultimate War
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP