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Old 11th April 2012, 05:03 AM   #5 (permalink)
Noises
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With the exception of Tribes and Operation Flashpoint, I don't usually like FPS games. My aim is sucky, my reflexes are nearly as old as I am and I don't spend the money to get the leet frames per second all the cool kids have on these new fangled computer games. That's not to say I'm completely useless at them, I go OK at tribes and dominate on proper military sims with BIIIG maps where, like in the real world, strategy trumps leet headshot skills, I just normally prefer something with more PvE flavour, co-op PvE preferably.

This, FireFall delivers. Co Op PvE in an environment that looks more like an anime than a video game, in a world that clearly offers the same level of bolt-on content flexibility as an old school, text based MUD. Need a new zone to place new missions to keep players playing? Simply push back the melding, expand the map and add new content as it's developed. To really jump the shark and make this the most awesome game ever, all they need to do is add player killing (PK) in PvE with friendly fire always on, and this game could easily become the deepest and most hectic thing I've ever played.

People keep saying it's an FPS/MMO but nobody has mentioned how PvE also brings classic RTS elements to the table too, in the resource gathering and crafting. The FPS action only really happens in PvE while you're actively defending the resource gathering equipment once you deploy it (mob raids notwithstanding.) But unlike every other RTS, instead of playing as supreme overlord and commander looking down on a map and moving every asset, you're a single unit in that map, and it's up to you to form squads and play as part of a team to get your job done in what can be a very hostile environment. It's reading the terrain and planning your defensive strategy in a wide variety of scenarios that depend entirely on where is most profitable to drop your thumper on any given day that I'm enjoying, more than the point and click shooting.

Bare this in mind. You can solo a tiny thumper with a level 10 or better engineer. A light thumper is just doable with three reasonably skilled players. (Most times, you'll lose a few thumpers that way but the 3 way split on the resources gathered by each light thumper makes the challenge and the risk worthwhile.) It's meant to be done with five, and there just so happens to be five classes to play, and a limit of five men to a squad. I doubt it's overly pre-emptive to infer the name light thumpers implies medium and heavy thumpers will feature in the final release, and that they will require perhaps 2 and 3 squads respectively, operating and sharing rewards as part of an army to defend against the number and type of unfriendlies they will no doubt attract, with commensurate risks and rewards.

I think of the beta as a testbed. For squad play For serving a dynamic, persistent PvE environment to enough players to make it interesting without creating load balancing issues that would manifest in game as lag and rubberbanding and other things you don't want in an FPS, without instancing. For the crafting mechanic. For the resource gathering mechanic and the resource spawn/refill mechanic. For the graphics and physics engines. We're seeing one small area around one city, with a few outlying towns and outposts (and a spaceship crash site) when we look at the beta map. Yet the game lore says it's based in a post apocalyptic Earth, and specifically mentions 11 other locations, warring factions and even another planet. I might be getting ahead of myself, but I wouldn't be surprised if this game is remembered as having set new standards in online gaming and develops a cult following. It's deeper than the biggest wall of text can explain, but after 4 days of playing it non stop it's safe to say it's more addictive than crack. And it's only in beta. yeah I think we'll see some interest from TOG.
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