Operation Wintersun is a boring game.
I knew I was in trouble when it took me a half hour to get past the tutorial-style intro. I finally had to turn to the manual to find out that I needed to — no lie — dig in the trash, find a potato, scatter the potato onto a special part of the ground so that a crow would fly off a branch to eat it. I then needed to tear down that branch and “combine” it with a loose bar sticking out from a nearby window.
I was then supposed to use the stick/bar to open another window that was too high. This was all done so that I can overhear two British spies talking, but as soon as I got the window open, one of the spies came outside to talk to me and the level was over.
Then the gameplay started to get slow.
The rest of “Undercover” is summed up best by Brett Todd, a Gamespot reporter “Anyone who can solve this spectacularly hard game without resorting to a walk-through deserves a ticker-tape parade like the kind they used to give generals and astronauts.”
The game is hard. The puzzles are completely non-intuitive. But worst of all, the gameplay and movement is so ridiculously slow that you don’t want to go spend days going through it all.
I really tried to like this game. It has a pretty interesting plot, good graphics and landscapes and a full voice cast. I even tried to forget the fact that Lighthouse Interactive, the game’s publisher, is largely European-based, so slowly developing, verbose, detailed plots are natural (just watch any British or Canadian crime drama).
The film-noir plot casts you as British physicist John Russell, drafted by intelligence to check out a Nazi plot to build a nuclear weapon.
The script is solid enough, but in the end I just couldn’t get past the fact that I was falling asleep at the mouse. And I don’t mind a slow, noir-style video game (Indigo Prophecy/Fahrenheit, Tex Murphy: Overseer) — the fact is that Undercover: Operation Wintersun just isn’t a good game, period.
Learning Curve: [rating:2/5]