by Joseph Luster

Developed by DMD Enterprise, an independent developer established in Warsaw, Poland, Uprising 44: The Silent Shadows is the kind of work that exemplifies “rough around the edges.” Being relatively indie and priced along the lines of your average budget PC game, some of its failings are understandable, but the end result is so stunningly awkward it makes you wonder how much of it was legitimately finalized before being made available to the public.

Uprising 44 tries its darndest to mix third person shooting with real-time strategy, and kind of trips all over itself despite an interesting setting and premise. The plot centers on the Warsaw Uprising, carried out by the Polish resistance Home Army in an attempt to liberate themselves from the occupying Nazi forces. Appropriately, acts of subterfuge play out both in the open and in the shadows, hence the subtitle, but it never comes close to living up to the stealthy potential of both its name and the setting itself.

As Uprising 44 demonstrates, mixing third-person shooting and real-time strategy doesn't always lead to a successful game.

Level Design Leaves a Lot to be Desired

There’s no real sense of thoughtful level design or even remotely elegant progression, with mazes of corridors sometimes revealing enemies out of the blue, each of which stumbles awkwardly to the ground once taken care of. Dispatching countless enemies with identical behavior isn’t satisfying at all, and things like the wonky AI and limited animations combine to make Uprising 44 seem about a decade more dated than it should.

Audio cues attempt to add some semblance of atmosphere, but even those are recorded and implemented unprofessionally. Casual banter in English sounds like it was captured during a phone call between a few of the developers, and while that may be kind of a joke, it won’t sound as far-fetched once you see it in action.

As Uprising 44 demonstrates, mixing third-person shooting and real-time strategy doesn't always lead to a successful game.

Sometimes “New Approaches” Fall Short of Their Expectations

Anyone who saw promotional material leading up to the game’s initial release—particularly the live-action trailer that enlisted the help of reconstruction groups to lend authenticity to the project—might get the idea that more care went into promotion than the actual execution of the game. In addition to the clip in question, other previews promised a “new approach to a World War II computer game.”

At some point during conception that may have been true, and the context of a civil uprising is certainly an intriguing direction to take in otherwise well-tread territory, but this one doesn’t do it justice. Rather than nailing one genre, Uprising 44 ham-handedly attempts to blend two together and does both a disservice in the process.