What if they turned Diablo into a World War II game? It almost sounds like something you'd wonder out loud after too many drinks at a bar, but it really isn't all that bad of a concept. Battle Borne takes this idea and runs with it in its action RPG game, Combat Elite: WWII Paratroopers, where you control an American or British soldier from an overhead perspective as you explore and fight your way through Europe in the latter stages of World War II. Unfortunately, the game ends up feeling pretty shallow, with an odd control mechanism and camera angle, as well as a light RPG system that doesn't seem all that balanced.
Combat Elite doesn't look like a whole lot.
Borrowing another common mechanic from fantasy-based action RPG games, Combat Elite lets you choose from one of three different characters. One is a US paratrooper with the 101st Airborne; another is an American with the 82nd Airborne; and the third is a British trooper with the 1st Airborne. Each character has initial starting specialties, which are two of the nine character attributes. Each character also has three attributes that he can't upgrade as far as the other two characters can. However, you'll quickly gain enough skill points to customize your respective soldier's ability to your liking, and in practical terms, there's no meaningful distinction between the three starting characters. If you wanted to turn the stealth guy into a run-and-gun type of character, you would be able to do that.
As you complete missions, you earn skill points that can be used to upgrade any of several different character attributes, like stealth ability, weapon proficiency with different gun classes, efficiency with med packs, and more. However, you'll find that certain abilities are fairly useless, like stealth and hand to hand. Sure, you could play the game as some kind of silent-killing ninja, but you'll find that it's much faster and easier to get through by upgrading your combat sense, which will upgrade one weapon proficiency, as well as your ability to lock on and target enemies. Med pack efficiency sounds nice, but med packs are so plentiful that there's really no point in wasting skill points in that area until later, when you have nothing better to spend your points on.
Each mission begins with some sloppy-looking and sounding in-engine cutscenes that lay out the objectives for you. However, you'll find that just about all 50 missions involve walking around an area, using your compass to guide you to your objective, killing all the Germans along the way, and then perhaps bombing some artillery pieces, assassinating an officer, or taking out a tank. Each level only takes a few minutes, so completing the 50-mission campaign doesn't last nearly as long as you'd think. The levels also tend to feel pretty cramped, and it seems as though you're being rammed along a specific path, more or less. At times you'll find alternate pathways, which will involve sneaking around the side of a heavily fortified camp to find a hole in the fence. But for the most part, Combat Elite's missions are all pretty repetitive and dull.