Yeah...the first thing I noticed was the price tag. I was taken back a bit by it, but my players urged me to pick it up, because we were all curious. So, I did; and I'm glad I did.
As a GM that's been doing this for 20+ years, I've seen things that were VERY overpowered that were allowed in the Core rules. The feats out of this book....some are powerful...BUT there's at least a balance to them. And my players know that my first thought is about balance. Yes, some of the feats are a bit broken (Gestalt, Prestigious; I'm looking at you both!) A feat that allows you to take the abilities of a class or prestige class (minus spellcasting) IS a tad broken.
The meta-attack feats SEEM powerful at first, and they are. HOWEVER, they're only useable a certain number of times a day. Yes, there is a feat that lets you gain more uses of a meta-attack, but that's just it - it's for only ONE meta-attack feat that you gain extra uses of.
As for Full Casting Action which lets you cast two spells as a standard action, on the surface, it too seems overpowered. BUT, there are some conditions tied to it. 1) It must be a spell with a casting time of 1 standard action or less (so no multiple Summon Monster spells). 2) The caster level of the second is considered 5 levels lower. So yeah, you may get off two fireballs, but if you're level 10, you've got one that's 10d6 dice of damage and the second is 5d6. 3) The saving throw for the second spell is reduced by 2. So...not only is it less effective, but it's also easier to resist. And, you need to be at least 6th level before you can take it. So, is it neat and useful? Yeah, I'd say it's useful. It lets you get out a bunch of quick offensive firepower. As for being overpowered? Not really.
So...are there feats in here that are Horrifically Overpowered? Yes; but many of them could see the light of day for a standard game.
I'm usually skeptical of 3pp (Tome of Horrors being an exception), but, I've been eying the whole "Godling" package for a while now. I have not been disappointed. I do feel that this fell a little flat of my expectations. However, it's still good!
First, it gives GM's (like myself) a way to introduce that first magic item they find to actually be a hidden relic somehow. The most common problem my players have faced is that they might have grown attached to a certain weapon, but might be forced to give it up due to how well it can be used for combat. With nine ways to make this possible, GM's can now make a "relic item" manageable (along with a few feats as one of the options).
Next, they give a few examples of relic items from lore. These aren't bad! But, I think I was hoping for something more along the lines of more enchantments to put on a weapon or how to make a relic item, but not in COST only; basically, artifact weapons.
A few more item templates would have been good as well...but still, it's not a bad guide! $4 really won't kill my wallet, but I was thinking it might have been something different all together. I wish I could give 3.5 stars, because I do feel it's more than a 3, but not quite a 4.
Ultimate Combat doesn't disappoint as core book. First off, the three new core classes: the Ninja is still a bit broken, but compared to how it used to be, it's far more balanced. The major problem I had with the invisibility tricks has been fixed and is now workable. The Gunslinger looks good and since it has been used in Playtest 2, I don't need to go too far into discussion about it. The Samurai...I had such high hopes they'd fix the Samurai, but sadly, it's just another Cavalier. The Kensai archetype for the Magus is closer to a Samurai than the actual Samurai.
As for the rest of the archetypes, the Monk gets the Martial Artist. Yes, he loses just about everything but three abilities, but the biggest trade is that he can be of any alignment. The Dervish for the Bard isn't bad as a archetype. I wasn't too impressed with any of the new Fighter archetypes, as many of the better ones in my opinion already came about in Advanced Player's Guide. The Pirate is what the Swashbuckler should have been, I think. It's not a great archetype, but it's pretty decent.
Now...a majority of the new feats are monk feats. There are some for clerics, fighters, rogues and the rest, but a good portion of them are designed in mind for a Monk. The new channel feat is pretty nice. Limited in it's usefulness, but nice. The section on dueling, called shots and vehicle combat are nice.
At the time of this writing, I haven't looked at any of the spells, so I really can't give an opinion about them.
However, this book still only gets a four. Why a four? Well, I was hoping for there to be some more prestige classes, aside from the ones in the APG. I do hope in the near future, we do get a book with some prestige classes that are setting neutral (but that's a discussion for somewhere else).
Still, this book is a must have for just about every table. It brings a whole new dimension to combat with called shots, vehicle combat and a whole slew of new archetypes and feats make Ultimate Combat a worthy purchase.