Join or Die
With a lengthy 9 page introduction that's way too long and too boring to summarize, Uprising actually stunned me with an entirely new twist to action and strategy, and fantastic 3D graphics. It is definitely not without its faults, but I wouldn't be surprised if the guys at 3DO just found the new action alternative to everybody's previous favorite multi-player game.
To start off with, graphics are absolutely great. I don't even have a 3D accelerator, and the definition was way above average. With a 3D card, it looks even better and the landscaping is simply stunning. I really liked the variety in climates; in some action games you'll spend the whole game in a generic desert, whereas in Uprising, you'll be fighting in the snow one mission, and in the tropics, the next. There is no debate about the quality of the graphics in this game - clean and smooth.
The game comes with multiple tracks of military march style computer generated songs. I've found them to be a little annoying, but you can just turn them off if they start to bother you too much. Sound effects are OK to the point where they're not repetitive, but I'm getting tired of those damn laser "peeewww" sounds. Maybe it's just me. Overall, they're nothing stunning, but neither are they an ear-splitting ruckus.
Before I start to criticize anything (which is my job), I would like to point out that 3DO and Cyclone studios deserve plenty of credit for making an original game! (The first damn original game I've played in a real long time!) I can truly say this isn't the same old thing - point, and shoot. Instead of pure skill or reactivity, active thinking, pre-planning and a little bit of resourcefulness, tactical awareness, and experience is much needed.
In Uprising you drive around the "hot zone" in a heavy tank called a "wraith." The point of the game is to capture or overtake all the stations in the area and land what is called a "citadel", which is basically a home base with a nice large gun on top of it, to claim that area yours (pretty damn convincing, too). Some areas are free to expand upon, but others require a little bashing up first. As you drive around and conquer new ground, you can't win the battle by yourself; this is where the strategy, tactics, and ingenuity on 3DO's part comes in. As you battle with each base, they of course have tanks, troops, air support, etc. You can counter these defenses with some presents of your own. If you have built a bomber facility, call in air support to turn a factory or power station to rubble. If their air support is turning your troops into little charred skeletons, bring in your air force, or build a SAM site and watch them get swatted down like flies.
This is a mercenary game. As you progress through the missions, you gain more and more money. Each mission has a little price tag fixed to it so you can see how much you get. Obviously those which have greater rewards are much harder than the 'chump change' missions. On the other hand, you had better have the technology necessary to be able to match up to the more advanced opponents, but unfortunately, like everything in this game, technology isn't free!
The biggest problem with this game (which was badly overlooked) is after the first 3 or so missions, the game gets hard, REALLY hard. As a little example, the beginning missions reward about 13,000, after that, they jump up to 40,000, and 70,000! Those first few initial missions were lots of fun, but after that I just got so frustrated with the game, I stopped playing it. The worst part is you can't turn down the skill level, so unless you're an action/strategic genius, you only get 3 single player missions!
However, that's nothing that a little biological competition can't fix. The multiplayer support allows up to 4 simultaneous players, and you have no excuse if you can't beat them. It's still a shame about the single player missions though, because multiplayer games lack the depth and plot of the single player game.
Uprising is a relieving breath of fresh air from the C&C clones and mountains of new 3D shooters. Instead of trying to make a new, futuristic, stupid tank game, they combined action with strategy to make an interesting twist and mix unlike anything else. A great combination, I genuinely hope this combined genre is reproduced with more options, better game play, different situations, and... easier missions. : )