Undercover: Operation Wintersonne PC

For my first preview as a member of the DarkZero team one could say I have been slightly unfortunate: the game in question being impossible to understand for an individual such as myself who does not speak German. However, this is not going to stop my attempt at previewing Undercover: Operation Wintersonne. On the plus side when the full game is released in the UK it will feature full spoken English.

The opening cut-scenes are entirely in German with no subtitles; therefore please forgive the somewhat sketchy outlining of the story presented here. A female character is sitting in a restaurant in Berlin in the 5th January 1943, from what I can gather she works for the British secret service. She is handed a menu and within this menu is a document entitled ‘Operation Wintersonne’. Following the navigation of the usual main menu routines we behold our introduction, part two. For this section the action has moved to London; it is also three days later. Professor Russell is invited to a meeting, upon attending this small meeting he is assigned to seemingly investigate ‘Operation Wintersonne’; Russell is given the same document we saw earlier. Although he seems rather reluctant to accept the task he accepts after some gentle goading by a stern stranger who likes to stare out the window. Although, as stated before, this outline is sketchy at best due to the language barrier, it appears that Professor Russell is embarking on a perilous mission set in world war two. ‘Operation Wintersonne’ appears of great concern to the German-speaking Englishmen goading Professor Russell and given the setting, it is fair to assume that it is a secret weapon or powerful artefact.

After these scenes the game can be examined in slightly more detail. Thankfully, for the sequences where this pre-production version lets the player take control, subtitles appear to translate Professor Russell’s ramblings and those of the characters around him. The scene is the car park outside of the building where the meeting took place. It appears that we are waiting for a driver. While waiting, voices are audible from within the building and the task is simple, try to hear what they are saying. In a fashion reminiscent of Broken Sword the player has to find objects and use them in a certain way to open the nearby window. Here we find that a bar and a branch need to be combined to form a rather long poking device. This is hindered by a crow perching on the very branch that is required. The puzzle is solved with the use of potato found in a close-to-hand dustbin. While the puzzle is fairly simple and is the only example of game play present, it gives an idea of the type of game the player can expect; a puzzle strewn adventure. Not only this, but the crow within the scene provides an amusing comic relief; albeit mainly through Professor Russell’s reactions when the player tries to combine such items as a handkerchief and the crow. Unfortunately this version, for me anyway, crashes every time this scene concludes. Once the puzzle is solved there is an Indiana Jones style map with a red line displaying the journey route, then it crashes. From the map it can be seen that the plot immediately heads to Berlin and that Professor Russell’s mission seems rather dangerous – after all he is an Englishman in Berlin at the height of World War II! However, we can conclude little else about the plot and the game play at this point.

Graphically the game certainly seems adequate on the whole. The cut scenes are rendered using in-game graphics and are solid. However, they are also not perfect. Features such as hair are flat and jagged; much like graphics of perhaps four years ago. Also, people’s hands seem rather bloated and pivot in a bizarre fashion from the wrist; as if the hand has a mind of its own. During the game itself the engine certainly comes into its own. The backdrops are beautifully drawn; Professor Russell’s animation is smooth and believable. Yet, there still seems to be a problem with hair: the crow mentioned above flies for a brief moment and this animation cannot be called perfect. But in saying this, the in game art seems to be of a good general standard.

To conclude this preview, Undercover: Operation Wintersonne has the potential to be a solid adventure game and it will be intriguing to play a review version of this title; if for no other reason than to fully unravel the plot. It is a pity that this version seems to crash before the game gets going for the game is mildly intriguing, but one can only preview what one has in front of him. This game is perhaps one to be looked forward to as it appears it could provide some decent adventure antics, but let us wait and see.