by: William Usher
; edited by: Michael Hartman
; updated: 4/17/2012
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Before Alliance of Valiant Arms put ijji Games up there in the big leagues they had another shooter for gamers to play called Soldier Front. And even though the game is old-school in its mechanics and presentation it's generally not a bad game.
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On The Front Lines
Another one of ijji’s FPS games in addition to Alliance of Valiant Arms and the upcoming Karma: Operation Barbarossa, is the little-known and rarely every talked about MMOFPS, Soldier Front. There are actually some pretty cool highlights about the gameplay featured in the game but much of it comes at the price weapon balance, graphics and a variety of game modes. However, for gamers who don't have a super-powerful computer or don't want to wear down their PC with requirement heavy games, Soldier Front might fit into the category of online shooters that is decent enough to play without being a burden on the hardware.
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This is an old game with old concepts. The gameplay modes are as generic as ever but their execution is done superbly. While Soldier Front is basked in the traditional deathmatch, team deathmatch and demolition modes, it has a few highlights that make it worthwhile.
One of the main upsides to the game comes in the form of a feature called The Hitlist; if any single player kills another player repeatedly during a match, they join the Hitlist. Now, the neat part about the list is that there is no limit to the amount of players who can be on it during the match and it highlights the player’s name(s), showing exactly where they are on the map. This enables anyone with an extensive hitlist to sneak around and take out their antagonist if the appropriate measure of stealth and cunning is used.
Other than the Hitlist feature, though, the game doesn’t really have any other original concepts going for it. Hence, gamers can generally expect an extremely standard-fare selection of options and modes in the game.
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As old as this game is, it’s surprisingly well balanced. There are stark forms of favoritism given to weapons like the FN-P90 but for the most part, gamers who enjoy both close-quarter combat and sniping should find an easy home in Soldier Front, as opposed to a game like Sudden Attack.
One thing of particular note is how well the game is designed for free-for-all combat, and gamers might find some familiar similarities in the likes of the recently released Mercenary Wars. In fact, it seems Soldier Front was built from the ground up with free-for-all in mind. This is not only evident in the variety of stages and well designed spawn points for each of the maps, but also due to the fact that team deathmatch doesn’t even have half the amount of playable maps as free-for-all.
My only complaint is that gamers who prefer wielding pistols will be left at a bit of a disadvantage due to the their secondary-weapon-only purpose. Players will only really need any pistol when ammo in the primary weapon runs out during a heated battle and a second weapon is needed for the brief encounter. Otherwise, pulling off quick kills with a favorited Ruger, Beretta or Glock as a standalone weapon is not an effective option in Soldier Front.
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Graphics And Audio
This game is old and it looks old. With that said, the audio and visual aesthetics are far from on par with other games in the genre such as Operation 7, Alliance of Valiant Arms or Karma: Operation Barbarossa. But if you’re interested in Soldier Front it obviously has to be for the fact that you don’t have a PC new enough to run any of the aforementioned games.
Visually, though, Soldier Front leaves a lot to be desired in both the map texturing, character models and the lighting system. While the stage designs are well thought out and vastly unique across the board, they do show their age as an attachment to an older game.
The weapon animations aren’t bad and could very well be considered forgivable, but they’re nothing to brag about. Though, I will go as far as to say that the visuals are a bit more enticing than Crazy Shooter Online. But given that both Soldier Front and C.S.O have an extremely limited create-a-character, base graphical themes and next to zero character accoutrements, that isn’t saying too much.
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The map designs and setup are forgiving and amicable toward new players; this is helped with beginner channels and plenty of players to help break-in the new experience. And while the game’s weapon selection is standard-fare, the variety of maps for the free-for-all and the fun team-deathmatch modes – despite having limited maps – makes for an enjoyable experience for gamers who want an MMOFPS that isn’t too hard on their PC or requires an upgrade to play.
While it would have been nice to have seen a few more game modes that broke the traditional mold – although the modes didn’t have to be as big or as grand as War Rock – it still would have been nice to see a few more additions to the game other than the Hitlist feature. Added to this, the graphics aren’t all that great and the sound is passably respectable. Nevertheless, if gamers are willing to overlook the dated visuals, bland game modes and mediocre sound effects, they’ll find a decently balanced MMOFPS in ijji Games’ Soldier Front.