Undercover: Operation Wintersun Review
Upon hearing that Undercover: Operation Wintersun is a World War II game, the first thing that comes to most gamers' minds is that the game is a first-person shooter. Some may even think that it is a real-time strategy game. However Undercover is in fact an adventure game - a bonafide, point-and-click, combine your inventory items adventure game. Rather than put you on the frontlines as most World War II games do, Undercover places you firmly behind them in the world of espionage. You play as Professor Russell, a British scientist recruited for a clandestine operation designed to determine if the Germans are working on an atomic bomb. It may sound like you're off on a cloak and dagger adventure, but in reality you're simply there to blind everyone with science.
Undercover's interesting premise and setting have the potential to serve as the foundation of an interesting game, but instead they are used to simply provide a backdrop for your standard adventure game outing. When playing you'll move from scene to scene, sweeping the screen with your mouse looking for items to add to your overflowing inventory and then spend some time trying to combine those items in different ways. The game likes to throw useless items your way, so you're sure to find that you'll waste some of your time with items that have no connection to any of the game's puzzles. You'll have to take the typical adventure game style convoluted approach to completing simple tasks such as opening doors and distracting guards, usually while the professional agents stand around and watch.
The puzzles are a inconsistent, some providing a bit of an enjoyable challenge while others are annoying either because you have just plain missed a key item during your pixel sweeps or because the solution is simply too obtuse. Timed puzzles appear now and again such as the need to dodge German patrols, but these are pretty simple and probably should have been left out. They fail to raise any real tension and are alienating to the adventure game crowd that this game will appeal to the most.
If you enjoy adventure games then you pretty much know what to expect with Undercover and it will do a competent enough job of giving you the gameplay experience that you're looking for. However, it just doesn't generate any of the excitement and tension that an espionage thriller should. Rather than feel like you're in constant danger in the lair of the enemy, you'll feel more like you're whiling away the hours on a Saturday afternoon playing with the odds and ends lying around on your garage tool bench.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 66%. The setting in Undercover: Operation Wintersun is unusual, but unfortunately the gameplay isn't.