I have been lucky enough to be a freelance games and tech reviewer for over 7 years now and I feel I’ve pretty much worked out what I like and don’t like when it comes to these subjects. Gaming wise, I tend to get seen as an Indie and Retro advocate, but that is not entirely accurate…
For you see – I’m an originality advocate. It’s not that I’m not a big fan of AAA developers/games –far from it, it’s just that in my experience “NuRetro” and Indie games tend to be the places where you find people taking more risks and trying out new ideas. Given the general cost of production these days, there are obvious business and profitability reasons for sticking with “old faithful” IP’s and game types but to me, this can cause a feeling of oversaturation of same-old, same-old games with not much to distinguish between them.
So as I sit here thinking of a way to start writing this WARFACE review, I realise the difficulty of the task ahead of me – for you see it is very hard to write a fully balanced review for this thing, as is my usual style, without regressing onto an almost “Harvey Dent” style “coin toss” way of thinking…
On the one hand: my initial reaction upon starting the game was “oh look – it’s another Generic FPS game”… Set a couple of years in the Future – CHECK, Mainly Middle Eastern area style maps – CHECK, usual “plot” about two opposing groups fighting over oil and energy reserves – ZZZzzzzzz
But on the other hand: It’s by the amazing Crytek (Far Cry and Crysis were great), runs on CryEngine3 (so it looks quite nice – not that this is ever a deciding factor with this reviewer), and most importantly it’s (advertised as) FREE! – but more on that later…
On initial boot up, Warface strikes you as a straight mash up of Battlefield 3 and the Call of Duty franchise, with the on-the-fly weapon upgrades of Crytek’s other shooters. A quick press of the D-Pad raises your weapon to your eyes, allowing you to attach various things to your weapon such as Silencers, Scopes, etc with a press of one of the face buttons.
Gameplay wise you start out only having access to two of the four available class types – Assault and Sniper – no prizes for guessing the types of guns involved in these classes. The former allows you to replenish both your own and your team mates ammo and the latter… is a Sniper.
After a bit of COD style grinding, building up kills and completing tasks, you unlock the other two classes – Engineer (who carry SMGs and can fix teammates body armour), and (my personal favourite seeing as I prefer to run round like an apeth not shooting straight) Medic – which carries a ridiculously high powered (assuming you’re close enough to your target) Shotgun and also allows you to heal your own and your teammates damaged health.
So far, so generic but on the flipside the developers have at least tried to bring in a good teamwork mechanic. As with Battlefield, if you get organised and work together as a team, you can theoretically annihilate an opposition of Run N Gun opponents with a combination of the above mentioned perks found in each class type and use of the assisted climb mechanic found in the game – simply stand under an unreachable ledge, hold X, let a team mate walk up to you, and you’ll boost them up to the ledge at which point they will automatically pull you up too – this adds an (albeit slightly thinly spread) layer of tactical positioning to the objective based game types.
Add in a Co-Op mode where you and a small group of friends (or randoms) make your way through what amounts to wide corridor-like levels, shooting hordes of AI opponents, relying on your teams medic to revive you if you are downed, or have the embarrassment of having to spectate until your team reaches the next checkpoint, and there is quite a lot to like about Warface… just not enough to truly LOVE it.
“But it’s a FREE game that plays like a AAA shooter, moobit!” I hear you cry? Well – yes and no. Like many “free to play” games on the Xbox 360 you’ll need a Gold subscription to play the game – not a massive deal as most gamers do have this, but technically you are paying extra to play. Add in the usual micro transaction style features found in all these games which always cause a bit of controversy (this game isn’t strictly “pay to succeed”, more “pay to not have to grind for as long”), and it does make me think twice about the game in the long run.
On the opposite side of the same coin, if I was reviewing the PC version of Warface, I would find it easier:
GENERIC FANBOY: “It’s Awesome”
“Because it’s a free to play FPS game!”
“But it’s so generic feeling”
“You name me one other free game of this kind of quality!?!”
“Oh… yeah – let’s go play that!”
But does that mean we should all give the Xbox 360 version a free pass for it’s faults because it’s “free”? And does that mean we’ll still be playing it in months to come over a traditional AAA generic FPS title??
Flip a coin…
Take a peak at this video below, to watch my full video review of Warface: