Space Marines Fight in THE THIRD DIMENSION
Despite the fps genre's love of space marines and space in general, there is certainly quite a lack of fighting in... well... er... space.
Zero gravity is a weird thing concept for most fps games because, well, they rely on "wasd" (this is, of course, referring solely to pc fps games, which is what Shattered Horizon is). W and S control one axis of movement and A and D control the other axis. By incorporating zero gravity, however, a third dimension is involved. The Z axis.
I think you can see how that can become very confusing. Other video games that have tried to tackle zero gravity have remained relatively 2-d regardless. Dead Space, for instance, simply had the user jump from one plane to another (it was still wicked sweet, though).
Shattered Horizon, however, takes a new approach. You have a jetpack, you have 3 dimensional movement. Space is up, shift is down. Go. Nuts.
Shattered Horizon is a very polished game. It doesn't feel janky, it doesn't feel buggy or feel like the developers simply got lazy at some point and said "whatever just do whatever". It's well built. It's clean, it's crisp. It's also very focused.
Focus is really what Shattered Horizon has going for it. There is only one gun. It gets the job done. There are three grenade types, each with a separate use. Other than that? There is you, moving about in a jetpack and magnet boots.
Let's start off with the movement, which is arguably the most important part of the game. It's the part that needs to work for the game to be good.
Let me tell you... the movement is tight. There is no namby-pambiness about the spaciness of this game. The axes you move on are entirely of your choosing. You can be upside down, sideways, straight... you can jump onto the ceiling and then boost onto an asteroid perpendicular to yourself. You can move wherever you want to move. You have a jet pack and magnet boots.
The movement feels crisp, it does exactly what you want it to do. It's simple enough to get a hang of quickly but hidden underneath is a lot of complexity. Maneuvering is the most important part of this game, if you don't get the drop on a guy then you aren't likely to survive more than one encounter.
The completely new movement mechanic feels very fresh and is very fun and easily the biggest draw to the game. It opens up a world of possibilities. You need to constantly be moving because, for once, camping is almost impossible. You don't just have to watch your back, you have to watch your up and down too.
Like I said, the beauty of Shattered Horizon's is that it is very focused, yet it has a lot of complexity underneath. By using your jetpack you make yourself a target, but by staying on the ground you limit your movement and make yourself vulnerable. The three grenade types really embody this idea of focus but complexity. None of them do significant damage to your opponent, but each has a multitude of uses. The EMP, obviously, disables the targets electronics. You'll see it the most. When hit by an emp your jetpack shuts off, so does your crosshair, you can't hear anything, you don't receive communications from your teammates... you are pretty much screwed until your suit reboots itself. The ICE grenade is essentially the smoke grenade. It can be used for many different purposes, either for hiding yourselves or confusing your enemies. The MPR is the one you see the least often, it knocks opponents away. It is particularly useful at cap points where one well placed mpr can knock an entire team away from the control point.
The mechanics and look of the game are great. They feel fresh and clean. There isn't anything "superfluous" about it. What's really amazing is the level of detail that went into the game. Messages that appear on screen are curved because you are wearing a spherical visor, when an emp hits you your name no longer appears over your head when opponents aim at you, when you power down your suit you can suddenly hear nothing but the sound of your beating heart and your heavy breathing... it feels like you are in a space suit... IN SPACE! You know... instead of just a magic camera that stands at head height and has a gun taped to it.
There is however, an issue. The game needs more stuff.
Not more features or weapons or mechanics, all of that is solid. The mechanics are there and are wonderful.
No, the game just needs... more stuff.
As of right now, the game only has multiplayer. This multiplayer only has 3-4 maps, with your usual slew of capture the flag and deathmatch. That's it. To be fair all the maps are well balanced (but, at the same time, I feel like that's just because, with a third axis of movement involved, any map becomes balanced)
Heck, there isn't even a tutorial. You just have to figure shit out on your own and get some guidance by pressing the f1 f2 and f3 keys to see what the key bindings are.
I'd like to think that more will be added to the game soon, that the game will expand, but frankly, I'm not so sure. Despite how much fun the gameplay is, there is just too little to make you want to keep coming back. Because of this, the number of people playing online usually averages to around... uh... 40? Maybe 50? And this game isn't old. Because of the sparse number of players, I feel like dedicated updates aren't going to be too common.
The game is just 20 bucks, though, on steam. For what the game has, I feel like that is great. This is an incredibly polished game with some really tight and well thought out mechanics. It does what it does very well and I sincerely hope more fps games begin to copy it.