Friday, July 5, 2013

Review - Soldier Front 2

I spent my entire Fourth of July with a video game called Soldier Front 2 -- a first-person shooter I found on Steam.

In this series, you never have to wait for my opinion: in this case, Soldier Front 2 has some harsh and unpleasant interface issues that combine with an overpowered sniper rifle mechanic to create a poor showing by modern FPS standards. But is it right for you? Well let's find out.

What is it?

To begin, Soldier Front 2 is a free-to-play FPS title that's available on Steam and the Aeria network. The game was developed by Dragonfly -- an Asian game house that specializes in FPS. They have multiple titles including Karma, QuakeWars, Soldier of Fortune, and VAAN Online. They started out making standard PC games back in the 90s, but then they transitioned to all on-line stuff.

So by that metric, I expect a lot more out of this title simply because the designers are quite seasoned with this genre.

This game is a standard FPS title, where you play as one of the members of a military squad fighting against members of another military squad. In fact, the whole game is team vs. team, I didn't see a single free-for-all match.

This game is heavily invested in microtransactions. You can't buy sunglasses for your character, you have to rent them for seven days. Everything is pushing you to buy newer, better stuff in the store. It's really sad.

Apparently, this is a sequel, but I have zero knowledge of the original game, so I'm judging this title solely on it's merits.


  • Game is fast, frames-per-second in the 200s. I was especially impressed with what appeared to be zero lag time. The graphics and gameplay are designed to minimize any lag. In fact, the graphics aren't amazing but they do the job.
  • In games like this, field of view can be an issue. However, in this case, I had no problems with my ability to see everything. However, I will admit that there is no FOV slider.
  • The maps are fantastic; they are fun, have special places where you can have some nice firefights, and they're small to keep the action going.
  • The game modes are pretty standard stuff, except for shatter mode which allows you to play inside of a glass-floored arena. You can shoot the glass out from under your opponents instead of shooting them directly to send them plummeting to a lower level or the spiky floor below. However, there are huge trampolines below as well, so you have a slim chance of popping back up if you aim yourself right.
  • When setting up a game, you can password protect your room and make sure only your clanmates can join you.
  • I love the double KO -- which is where you and an enemy shoot at the same time and kill each other. This should be in every FPS title from now until the end of time.
  • There's no aim assist. You hear that COD? No aim assist!
  • Infinite replayability, as you might expect from an FPS.
  • The location finder was done really well. It's easy to locate your guys, see which direction they are looking, and whether they are engaged with an enemy or not.


  • The interface is absolutely nauseating. Poorly designed is an understatement. Rebinding was a nightmare as I had to zero-out all the currently set keybindings and then reset them. Then, there's a secret keybinding pop-up that is hidden down the bottom because the designers were so attached to their design that they didn't consider whether it was good or not.
  • The help menus were a bunch of arrows, one of which points from the word "store" to a button clearly labeled as "store". We get it. You want us to spend money. How about you give us a help menu and we'll consider it.
  • Setting the game to 1280x720 only changes the actual match window and does nothing to your menu -- which is locked in some ridiculous aspect ratio.
  • The avatar icons you have to choose from include a teddy bear and a lollypop -- clearly not top choices for a military-themed offering.
  • You can see people's feet through walls, making it easy to kill them.
  • While I applaud the fact that you can shoot through walls, the designers took it a bit too far and let you shoot through mountains and other clearly bulletproof obstructions. You can usually pick up a free kill just by blindly peppering the walls in the direction of the enemies.
  • There are a lot of times where you'll get hung up on a flat surface because of a tiny corner you never see coming.
  • There are many places where you spawn into a firefight. In fact, as you're spawning, you light up a bright white color just to make sure that the enemy sees you real good.
  • Most FPS games don't have female soldiers. That's crap. In this game, you can play as a female (you have to buy the skin), but she's dressed in bright red and wearing pumps. This is actually worse than if she was simply missing. Just once I'd like to see a decent female option in a first-person shooter.
  • The sniper rifles have a cone of aim that rivals a howitzer. I have seen dozens of replays of me dying from dudes who were quick-scoping and not even coming close. It's the single worst part of the game. It's not that they're quick-scoping (which is reserved for talentless hacks), but it's that they are missing but getting credit from the game. It's horrific.
  • You can't go prone, even with a sniper rifle.
  • Occasionally, when you respawn after dying, the game is frozen and you have to tap escape to get the controls to work. I'm not sure what that's all about.
  • You can pay for bullets (or earn them by playing long enough) that are more damaging than regular bullets. I can't tell you the number of times I went 1v1 and had the drop on the guy only to be killed when he spun around and killed me with a quick burst.
  • There's no limit to the number of buffs you can buy as long as you're willing to spend real cash to make it happen. In one match, a guy on my team when 56 kills, 1 death and his bullets were at least twice as powerful as everyone else's.
  • If you have one type of grenade in your inventory, it can only be placed in one of your three builds. So if you switch builds, you won't have that grenade.
  • Can't run while taking fire or reloading.
  • The game has a regularly scheduled message asking if you've purchased anything in the store. This appears over the action at inopportune times and fills up your team chat at others.
  • There's no voice chat; it's all text.
  • If your guy is in a doorway, you can't get buy him.
  • If you're in a window sniping and an enemy comes in behind you, you can't jump out the windows.
  • In seizure mode, if you are shot while carrying the briefcase, at first it stays where you were, but it will reset itself after about 30 seconds. That's just stupid.
  • I saw that a guy got stranded on a window-washer platform on the side of a building and had no way out but to commit suicide.
  • The machine guns are deadly accurate from hundreds of yards away. I had no problem gunning down people on the other side of town. It's really bad, though this is something they can easily fix with a patch.

Final Thoughts

While the free-to-play model gives you a very liberal license in my book, there's only so much I'm willing to forgive.

In the end, this game offers a standard and capable (albeit vanilla) FPS experience wrapped in a crappy interface.

The constant calling of attention to the store and their clearly sexist attitude toward women in combat are glaring and annoying. While I did have a blast playing the shatter level Funhouse, in terms of FPSs, the rest of the game was just more of the same.

Sadly, for me, this game was a pass, but is it right for you? Well, only you can decide that. Hopefully this video will help. If you have any questions I didn't answer, leave them in the comments below and I'll see what I can do.

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