Combat Elite: WWII Paratroopers

April 26, 2006 · Print This Article

Combat Elite:  WWII ParatroopersTrue unique, original games are very hard to come by. Most companies tend to prefer putting out only the tried and proven formulas of games: the sequels, the expansion packs, the content packs, and porting the same game to other systems. For a company to attempt a new concept, that takes some courage indeed. The final results can be incredibly rewarding due to high critical acclaim of the groundbreaking new and refreshing concept, or they can crash and burn. Sadly, Combat Elite: WWII Paratroopers falls into the latter category of such games.

Combat Elite attempted to dive into an area that is rarely touched. Although WW2 games are common, the fact that the game attempted a third-person RPG setup of the game made it truly unique. Essentially, it’s like a Baldur’s Gate except using paratroopers and Germans instead of warlocks and trolls. Such a concept could have indeed been successful if only it had got the fundamentals right. But Combat Elite ends up being too basic and flawed to do the job right.

The game allows players to take the role of one of three characters. All of them are paratroopers, but two are Americans and one is British and each is from a different unit. Each character has his own specialties and each has his own unique advantage in terms of attributes (although each character can be upgraded according to the player’s wishes). By completing missions, players can earn additional skill points with which to upgrade their character with in a RPG style format.

The missions in the game can tend to be very repetitive and boring. This is only accentuated by sloppy gameplay mechanics. The process of moving and firing can be tedious and times, and a terrible camera that is always overhead and can’t be adjusted definitely does not help matters any. There is a decent amount of interaction with the environment, such as picking up things, hiding behind things, etc., but on the whole everything is done in a clunky and sloppy manner that does not flow very well and isn’t very much fun to play.

Visually, Combat Elite is even more of a disappointment. Maybe gamers are just spoiled by absolutely jaw-dropping graphics in other games, but Combat Elite is just run of the mill in graphics. The engine looks very dated, 3 to 4 years in fact, and offers textures and environments that are plain, bland, and very undetailed. The look of the game is just very fuzzy and unpolished, and poor special effects even add to this drab look.

Character models also look disproportionate and don’t help the visuals either. Even worse, all of the animations are stiff and don’t run smoothly as they should. These problems are only accentuated by a less then average sound department which has poor sound effects, average voice acting, and music that really doesn’t match the settings in the game.

Arguably, the only real redemption for the game is its two player cooperative mode where players can team up with a friend and take on the missions together. While the game isn’t overly fun, if you enjoy the game then no doubt you will find plenty of reason to go back and play the game again with friends. This can add a few hours of replay value.

On the whole, Combat Elite: WWII Paratroopers just comes off as a sloppy, unfinished game. There could have been so many things done to improve it in all aspects of the game. It is truly an original and unique game but the concept was executed so poorly that the game ends up being boring and not very appealing to gamers.


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