Uprising II: Lead and Destroy, is the sequel to Uprising, the great game that got the ball rolling on the new hybrid action/strategy genre. There have been other games that have since been released to capitalize on this genre (Activision's Battlezone, for example), but none, to me, captured the feeling that Uprising gave. Given the original's popularity, a sequel was inevitable, and being the sequel of such a great game, one would think the sequel would be even better, right?
Unfortunately, in the case of Uprising II, you'd be mistaken. While the original game was praised for its uniqueness, innovative qualities, and overall quality, none of those praises will be sung for the original. While most sequels tend to add features or needs to the original product to take it a step forward, Uprising II actually goes a step backward from Uprising. The sequel isn't as deep or complex as the original, and isn't as fresh. While they call it Uprising II, I'd rather have it called "Uprising 0.999."
If you've not played either game, then let me explain their premise. The Uprising games are first-person real time strategy games in which you control your forces from the seat of your Wraith tank, effectively placing you on the battlefield with your troops. The purpose of most of the missions is to drive the enemy off planet, and you can't do it alone. You'll need citadels, which are bases that are placed at citadel points. Each citadel point needs to be "grabbed" in order for your citadel to be built there. If an enemy's citadel occupies a citadel point, it will have to be destroyed so that you may grab it. Each map has a finite number of citadel points, each with a finite point of building squares. It's in these squares that you build the facilities for your war machine, such as infantry, tanks, AAV's (fighters), and bombers. Once these units are built, you may beam them anywhere in your field of vision from either the Wraith tank or one of your citadels, of which you can take over the main turret.
What is it about this game that makes me shake my head in wonder and disappointment? Well, it's the fact that Uprising II (maybe to appeal to a wider audience) was been made more mainstream and arcade-like, sacrificing features and qualities from the first one. The most glaring omission in this sequel is the power triangle. In Uprising, you had a power triangle that controlled where you split up your power (between weapons, shields, and engines). The more power you gave to your weapons, for example, the faster and more powerful they would be, at the sacrifice of weaker shields and slower engines. Uprising II doesn't have this unique and interesting feature. Uprising II doesn't have as good a feel to it either as the original, as the Wraith in this sequel feels cludgy and weak compared to the original Wraith. The campaign is also not randomly generated this time, opting for a more scripted approach instead. The overhead map so well used in the original game has also been given an overhaul, though in my opinion, it should have been left alone, since now it's not as usable as the original's
What did they add, you ask? Well, there are now two types of tanks (light and heavy), an extra turret to add to your Citadel's arsenal (patriot), another type of bomber (BSM), an alien rather than human force to fight, a feature called "Auto Suggestion," and a scenario editor. If that doesn't seem like much, that's because it isn't. The sequel, besides being just a TAD prettier, is almost the exact same game with some new units and features. The new units are so sparse that it barely feels as if they're new. Going from one tank to two different tanks is a silly change, as the tanks in the original game could handle almost anything you'd have them do. The inclusion of the scenario editor can add some gameplay, but one would do better going back to the original game, since it's a lot more playable.
The big addition is a feature called "Auto Suggestion." This feature will, at the push of a button, execute a command in which it feels will help you out best, such as repairing your Wraith or beaming in some troops. While the original's difficulty level was quite high at some points, making some missions almost impossible, this new feature in the sequel makes the game almost too easy, which is a shame. This feature was probably added to off-shoot the intense difficulty of the first one, and while you don't have to use it, it's almost ingrained into the rest of the game, making you use it whenever you can.
Finally, we come to the graphics and sound. While the original only supported 3dfx graphics cards, the sequel supports....only3dfx graphics cards. "What?" you cry, "That's a heresy against us Direct3D card owners!" I would have to agree with you. When the original Uprising came out, 3dfx was almost the end-all be-all of 3D graphics accelerators. Well, times have changed, and it's a shame to see that this game's engine hasn't. The sound also takes a step back from the original. The sound and music in the original game were thunderous and booming. Uprising II, in a striking contrast, sounds like your shooting BB guns at a metal plate. The sound is tinny in comparison to the original, and this goes for the music too.
One would think, that by reading this review, that I didn't like this game. Well, they'd be only half-right. While more of a good thing can be a good thing, taking away key elements to that good thing usually isn't. I did enjoy my time playing Uprising II, but actually found myself going back to the original more often, something that shouldn't happen with a sequel. If you're interested in this type of gameplay, I'd say steer clear of this game and find the original Uprising or Battlezone. That is...unless you can find it in the bargain bin.
Graphics: Pretty nice 3dfx accelerated graphics, but the inclusion of Direct3D would have been nice.
Sound: Good, but nowhere near great sound and music.
Enjoyment: Enjoyable, yes, but the original game is so much more so.
Replay Value: Thirty plus missions/maps, multiplayer, and a scenario editor can keep you going.
People who downloaded Uprising 2: Lead and Destroy have also downloaded:
Uprising, Urban Assault, Warhammer 40000: Chaos Gate, Newman/Haas Racing, Warhammer 40000: Rites of War, Will of Steel, Tzar: The Burden of the Crown, Warlords 4: Heroes of Etheria
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