Better, Faster and Deadlier: The New and Improved Soldier
The slightly psychotic American veteran desperately needed a new set of weapons. Not that anyone ever complained about the rocket launcher, but the generic shotgun shared also by the Heavy, the Pyro and the Engineer as well as the dreadful shovel were getting a bit boring.
Thanks to the support of his many fans, the Soldier received not three, but four weapons when the WAR! update was released.
The Direct Hit
This new weapon can be an excellent replacement to the standard rocket launcher, depending on the situation. This new weapon launches rockets at a much higher speed and deals extra damage in case of a direct hit on a poor and unsuspecting target (hence, its name). The trade-off is that it causes far less indirect damage than the standard launcher. In other words, forget about shooting rockets at your enemies' feet, hoping for the splash damage to send them to TF2 hell. As I mentioned earlier, the Direct Hit is a great choice in some situations. For example, in a map with many chokepoints such as Dustbowl, hitting targets is usually not much of an issue. However, on a map with large open spaces such as Badlands, direct hits can be much more difficult to achieve. Overall, a very interesting and well balanced weapon.
It is probably the best new weapon in the Soldier's arsenal. This replacement for the much-hated shovel is a melee weapon with a twist. The lower your health is, the faster you will move and the more damage you will deal when wielding the Equalizer. A soldier with only 20HP remaining can, for example, move at approximately the same speed as a Scout and kill most enemies with one or two blows. This is a great way to quickly flee a difficult situation in order to reach the nearest medpack. However, medics cannot heal you when you are using the Equalizer.
The Buff Banner
This is one of the two possible replacements for the shotgun. Like the medic's ubercharge, this item, when equipped, allows you to fill a rage meter. The more damage you cause, the faster the meter goes up. When full, you can then sound a bugle to unleash the full power of the Buff Banner. You and all your friends in a small radius will then enjoy fourteen seconds of automatic mini-critical hits. This makes the Buff Banner a great secondary item.
Finally, this other secondary-slot item provides you with a 75% resistance against splash damage when rocket-jumping. True, it can be useful if you are one of those flying soldiers, but is it worth losing your shotgun or Buff Banner? I think not.