Revenge of the arena shooter: this time...on a console?
This game combines qualities of some extremely loved games. The shooting feels like Unreal Tournament, the Custom Classes and endorsements (the three power-ups you choose for your character) feel like a Modern Warfare game, and the classes feel like Team Fortress 2. Also, to my knowledge, it combines the gameplay of Defense of the Ancients, which to those uninformed, is an incredibly popular Warcraft III mod that spawned 3 full retail PC games like it in the past year or two. And let's not forget the inclusion of turret defense. That ends up being a big part of the game. There are two different modes in this game: Crossfire, and Blitz.
The main objective of the first mode, Crossfire, is to destroy the other team's moneyball. (What is a moneyball?) To accomplish this, you help ‘bots’ reach the other team’s moneyball to lower shields, allowing you to take it down. Each team has a moneyball, and each team has two locations spawning bots. There are two paths on the map, and the bots are programmed to follow them. They only stop to fight other bots. You can only attack the moneyball when the shields are down, and the shields only go down if bots start attacking it. (is this difficult to accomplish? is there much strategy involved?)
The other mode, Blitz, is a Tower Defense game in shooter mode. You have a circular arena with 6 places the bots will spawn all around it, and plenty of turret nubs to build on. The moneyball in the middle is again the object you want to protect. The different types of bots come in waves, and they have paths that light up telling you which areas the bots are coming from before each round. There are different settings in this mode where the bots are sent in waves in a specific way. The first one is easy with 10 waves, then 20, then 30, then...back to 10? This mode is deceptively tough. Don't let your guard down just because it's only 10 waves. The last one on the list is survival mode where you try to stay alive for as long as possible. It’s purely for leaderboards and bragging rights.
Between both Crossfire and Blitz modes, there is an interesting balance between you and your team. Each class has its own upgrades, and you can also choose to spend money on turrets. The personal class upgrades fall into their four types. The first is your weapon proficiency, then your three abilities mapped to your X, Y, and B buttons. Players need to choose between themselves and their team's turrets. As a quick side note, upgrades stay within classes. So if you level up the tank to 3 in an ability, then switch to sniper, the sniper has no upgrades. Then if you switch back to tank, it has level 3 in that ability.
There are six main classes, and they’re pretty much standard classes you’d expect from this kind of game, and they are pretty well balanced. My favorite class as of now is the gunner. I have a tendency to go into shooters guns blazing, and this is the perfect class for me.
The combat and carnage in this game is awesome. It's very fast paced, bouncing around everywhere on jump pads, futuristic weapons and bots and tons of excitement. I kept expecting to hear the quake voice screaming "Headshot!"
There are some downsides to this excellent game though. First of all, there's not much to buy that is of any use to you after the match is over. You accumulate money, but the only worthwhile thing to spend it on is getting custom classes (which are expensive to start, and get progressively more so as you buy more). There are a total of 5 custom class slots. Those are useful to a point, but the only other thing to spend money on is tags, and I find this crazy. You earn tags while playing in the game, right? You want to show off that you beat the hardest mode in blitz, or got a 7 kill streak? Well, don’t think you can start showing off just because you’re good at the game. You have to spend money to unlock each individual tag. If someone earns the tag, they shouldn't have to buy it afterward. Plus, one has to choose between those tags that they’ve already earned and the custom classes that might actually have some use.
Another problem with the game is the fact that the announcer is extremely repetitive. 5 or 10 minutes in and he had already repeated enough statements over and over enough to drive anyone crazy. There is some diversity, but not enough. Whenever a gremlin kills you in Blitz, it's usually "That member of the Hotshots was taken across the River Styx, with the fare paid by a gremlin" or "Small and sneaky is sometimes a good thing. Trust me, I know." It's too bad, because the voice is excellent and captures the futuristic game show feel like Smash TV, or one of my long time favorite arcade games, The Grid. Mickey Cantor needs to record more lines.
Overall this game was really enjoyable, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes shooting guns in video games. It's a well crafted multiplayer shooter, with a lot of awesome things going for it. The futuristic game show feel is well executed, as are the classes' abilities and personalities. At an amazingly reasonable price of $15 dollars, you should definitely give it a chance.