Wednesday, July 24, 2013

JL - 4 Warface Review

This article originally started here:

I connected to the Russian website to play the Open Beta of Warface. It promised next gen graphics with neat MMO features. But can the title really be stand out from the hundreds of FPS titles that already exist? Here is my review:

Graphics: The graphics are top notch. But this was a given as it is a game based on the CryTek Engine. This is not so evident in the character creation menu or customization menu's at the start of the game. But do not be let down, continue on in the game to find lush environments for you to run through. The character animations are very fluid and rewarding to play. Crouching, hoisting buddies up, and sliding are all very well animated and look great on this engine. The gun models and animations are just in line as well. 
The environments are lush and detailed. I have played other games where everything seems to evolve around squares. Square windows, square floor tiles, square square square...But not in Warface. You get a little more diversity and will instantly be figuring out how to shoot through cracks in walls, taking cover behind trucks, rounded edges, crumbling walls..ETC. What I want to say is that your brain will be translating more geometrical pathways and obstacle positioing than the typical "Run to square window, peek around edge, shoot" most FPS have. 
I was able to run this on my 5 year old lap top on Medium / Low settings, and on my table top PC on high end settings without graphical lag and other hiccups. 
The Maps are very small and this might be a boosting factor in performance. Also, there is not allot of character modification available MEaning the system won't be modeling to many different character models. They are all basic and standard. I give Graphics for this FPS a 4/5. I give it a 5/5 for its LAUNCH time, but since other box title FPS have now improved systems, it loses a point for not keeping up..But part of this is launching very late and keeping very quiet about the updates...But that leads us to the next part:

(SIT DOWN, good ol turn the corner spray n pray)

Game Play:
 I played in the Russian version and this is how it was presented: You have to modes to chose from. PvE or PvP. Basically PvE is you vs AI. You can bring buddies with you in a typical FPS way of meeting up in the lobby and launching the theater. The only problem I had here was that everyone was in PvP and PvE groups were rare. The rewards for PvP included farming gear (more on that later) and currency (more on that later). PvE had rewards of unlocking the next map and gaining a PvE currency (later). 
The game play in PvE was about following a path with AI enemies nestled in. You had AI either defending or attacking your position. The path was very linear, but occasionally opened up to a few fork in the roads, but they were not very long or just looped back to the main path. Surprise attacks were the only "fun" factor and working with your team was key. There usually was a boss fight, but very uneventful. The first boss consisted of a big bag sort of robot suit dude chasing you around a circular building. This battle lasted way to long. His HP was to large and it consisted of you hiding behind a trash can and kiting as much as possible. This sort of boring finale could also be why most people just skipped the PvE and played PvP.

PvP is all about traditional FPS modes. Team that kills most wins, last man standing, defuse something before timer runs out, snipers only etc.. The maps are exceptionally short. But there are enough obstacles to keep you pinned down or running or hoisting about to make up for the lack of size. However this does not run parallel with the character classes, and this falls so short that it destroys the game. But more on that later. I like PvE game play because it did away with dolphin diving, and bunny hoppers will not be so lucky. The game is a decent balance between strategic hunting and stalking and twitch based FPS. I am a fan of strategic FPS, and I found myself hooked to this game for several months due to it's ability to please both crowds. There is not much, sadly, to add to this..It is very basic FPS modes and nothing will be very different or refreshing for the people playing FPS already. Here is where the MMO part kicks in:

(The trip bomb. Mans best friend in a zergy game)

Items and Upgrades: The standard kit you have is dependent of your class. Medic has a Shot Gun, engineer a sub machine gun, etc..To get upgrades you can earn in game coin to go shopping, like most FPS. As you rank up, you unlock some items. However, unlike most FPS there is another unlock feature that works like MMO. That is to say, you build EXP to gain something; Before each match, there is a choice between 3 major items. Example, Tri-pod for +10 stabilization - Armor piece (hat, body, etc) for +5 armor - or smoke bomb... You chose one and a bar of EXP appears under it. After each match EXP is automatically given and your are on your way to unlock that item. You can switch items and start to build EXP in one or the other. After it is unlocked it will appear in the coin shop for you to get if you like. So there it is, the catch to log in and play and the "MMO" feature if you will. That is about it. Not allot of other things to say about this game. So now to the VERY IMPORTANT things about this game (Still apart of Game Play Rating):

(X5 knife kill... Welcome to end game)

Class Selection: You have 4 choice. Rifleman - Sniper - Medic Engineer. Each class has a pre set kit and the coin shop unlocks are geared for your class. So Rifleman uses assault guns and nades with 2 perks: Health stim pack and nade upgrade. 
Medic has Shot gun some nades and 2 perks: Health packs to throw out and Revival paddles.
Engineer has Sub Machine gun nades and 2 perks: Armor plating repair and Trip bombs.
Sniper has sniper rifle, nades, and NO PERKS (yes, this is the beginning of the end)

Sadly, all of that will work AGAINST this game and destroys this game. Everything I will present is in tandem with the map design. Here is how:
The rifle man is a standard class and works great in the map as it forces thinking gameplay. If they only had Rifle mans, this game would be great, but since the other classes easily Over Power the Rifleman, it is not really worth playing. I found it RARE that a PvP match had Riflemen. 
The Medic has a useless shot gun and gets a few lucky up close corner turning 1 shots. His health packs and resurrection paddles, sure, can aide fellow team mates But it is USELESS in a game that has INSTANT RESURRECTION and small maps. How can you give a guy health pack in a game that supports 2 shot kills? As I played, I tried following others to heal them, it was so RARE that a health pack helped because death is FAST, stopping for health is an error. Also, because the maps are so small the zerging creates close encounter fights (it is rare you shoot at distance) as a medic, you are uselessly standing there with a health pack in the hand. You are just an extra kill.
The resurrection paddles are the biggest design flaw in this game. Because you can RESURRECT INSTANTLY and health paddles take 60 SECONDS TO CHARGE. Also, because battles are mostly zerged face to one has time to whip out paddles nad rez the friend. Here is an example: You follow behind your mate to get ready to Rez him. The enemy zergs around the corner, crazy gun fire...If, your friend dies, and you are lucky and alive and the enemy is dead, it is now time to resurrect your friend, but the PROBLEM: 1) When you are dead you can chose to wait in place or "Spawn" instantly...Why would I sit there and wait 60 seconds for the medics paddles to charge when I can SPAWN INSTANTLY, and return to the same place in less than 5 seconds (1 sprint)...You see the math and logic does not fit the class roles or map design. 
2) The health pack works the same, you are useless to whip out health packs in the twitch part of the this games cloe battle fights.
That said, here is the ONLY ROLE a MEDIC is good at...1)Climbing into a sniper nest with a friendly sniper and healing and resurrecting him constantly. But this has flaws: A) The sniper spots are EASY to find and on a small map it offers no element of surprise or good hiding so it is CONSTANTLY nade spammed. However, some noobs do not know this so if you are LUCKY, you can aide a sniper. B) Some snipers have no patience because of INSTANT SPAWN. SO, if they die, they do not wait for you to raise them. They instant spawn, and usually change classes - Because you can change class each death. 
- Something stood out at this point...this game feels like it was designed for a single player FPS experience, then lost funding or dropped the project, and glued the F2P FPS element to it. It feels broken.

Engineer: Has the best main weapon. A Rapid fire sub machine gun. Placed correctly can do long range damange more efficiently than a Rifleman, and is one of the best close range battle (most of the battles) as it spray and prays. This is the most used class as it is easily exploitable. The perk of Trip mines is best used in this game as the maps are small and mines hard to detect. You will learn fast the best defense against zerging is spaming your trip mines. 
The Engineer also has armor repair systems. You have about a 2 hit armor boost to protect against the first few rounds that hit you. JUST LIKE the MEDIC, no one has time for repairs. No one, in a small map zerged game will sit there and wait for you to give them armor. This is a swing or miss feature. IF you HAPPEN to find a friend low on armor and you guys are hiding behind a wall together, sure, use it, otherwise, the next bad guy he sees, he will die in the next 4 shots, so all that hard work is for nothing. It is just better to do what everyone else is doing... Spam the trip mines, zerg the map. 
- I repeat: - Something stood out at this point...this game feels like it was designed for a single player FPS experience, then lost funding or dropped the project, and glued the F2P FPS element to it. It feels broken.

Sniper: If you have not noticed so far the game is broke, let this class be the ultimate proof. The poor sniper starter kit is automatic sniper single bolt...and for a reason. You will be a combat sniper. There are no sniper spots that are advantageous. The sniper has a few spots to hide in, but they are so obvious and everyone knows it, the spots are usually just 2 steps from the spawn site, and naded. For example, when I start certain maps, the first thing I do is Take half sprint, stop, throw all nades over a wall into a tower, and continue. Why? Because I know there are snipers there, only noobs do not know. And yes, I get "kill" for doing so. A sniper is easily picked off in any other area. The only luck a sniper has is to hang back, move slowly ahead, and hope he sees another sniper to pick off, because he will be useless against 99% of the other zergers. He has 0 perks, and feels like a broken class sort of thrown in "just because". RARELY will you see snipers in matches. 90% of PvP maps are mostly engineers. "Oh but this works in PvE". Not really. The same rules exist i PvE, just a little different. The Medic helps a little bit, but over all the rifleman and the engineer are the best bet as it is just he who kills the fastest and quickest. Get in, push in, get out. So I never found that this game was designed to lean on PvE. Especially since it is rarely played. It honestly feels like they were creating a new box Crytek game, dropped it mid production, and desperately slapped on a cheap zergy, small map F2P FPS. I repeat small map because the size really hurts the roles of classes and makes you think "why even have classes"? For those that play this game, imagine if it just had rifleman with weapon upgrades? That would work ALLOT better than this sort of patched together class system.

(She is already spawned and running back, aint no one got time to get rezed!)

Another issue. The HOIST system. This game, before and durring launch tried it's hardest to show off it's videos of "co-op" game play by the fact you can hoist your friend over walls etc! That is a cool and new feature! It worked a little in game...especially in PvE...but here is where it is broke: ALL IT DOES IS REPLACE LADDERS! You can not hug and climb any wall. You can only use this feature on BIG GLOWING GREEN ARROWS on the it is limited and REPLACES what ladders do in most FPS...STUPID! Ughh, I was so dissapointed on this fact. You will feel how stupid this is when you and a buddy cna hoist up a second stage building where it tells you to do, but you cannot help jump small walls that block strategic points... Ummm this looks, feels, illogical and broken. Again, just horrible design. No amout of good looking graphics can save this kind of design fail.

Another issue: The end game. If you had the interest to stick it out to the end, you will find that you have a sort of build going on. That is, what items did you decide to unlock and what feature to use? You have the weapons damage builds, tank builds, and speed builds. However, end game comes down to one thing and one thing only (if you are smart). BUILD AN ENGINEERING TANK! Why? Because of the one feature I have not talked about...Sliding. This game also tried to show off videos of people sliding on the ground. Yes, it is nice FPS feature to add "realism"...until it is exploited and not real at all. I abused it once I found out about it. I would slide out in the open, shoot people down, and slide back into safety. It is not a 100% god mode, but close enough to ruin the game. As you move to end game, the best items to unlock are armor. Build that tank, because Zerging is the name of the game. And not just sprint zerging, but slide zerging. To take this to the next level, use the KNIFE! This ishow the game looks end game (in general, and in my Russian experience):
In a small map, top ranked players run and slide around every corner spamming the knife. Why? Because if you shoot at them, the armor is built to take the first round of your clip and they survive the encounter and 1 ill knife you. It is comical! I was against an entire team of troops SLIDING AROUND THE MAP! Sounds silly??? It is SILLY! but it works, aim, shoot, nothing happens, kinfed! There are exceptions, if you see them early, you can gun em down, but the nature of small maps and turning and shooting means just forget the FPS norms and slide n knife. You do not even to buy weapon upgrades since the slide and knife is best. Engineer offers a great standard spray weapon to kill any one your knife misses...I was turned off by end game and it is around this time I uninstalled this game. I like how it is presented, but just cannot support this horrible execution. I hive Game Play
2/5 - Good ides in ITems, Ok PvE, but not enough to hold it all together and I have played better and balanced FPS.
(The best weapon in the entire game)

Currency: The item shop had a decent, but very small, selection of upgrades as you ranked up. There were permanentpurchases with other versions (usually cosmetic) with real cash. There also was a coin gained in PvE that purchased certain items. So to get those potentially interesting items, you would need some PvE time. But hey, slide and knife is better than anything you will find in the cash shop. Armor purchases to build that slide n knife tank were the top purchases.
Cash shop was fair but small : 3/5
(Best cash shop based weapon)

Closing points: I installed the Western version through Gface. It was, sadly, worse. First, Gface prefers that you use their game interface client...It works and looks allot like Google Plus social network. Including friends feature called "circles". Providing the game like this I experienced lag (surprising more lag than in RU...), some reason worse graphical models, the cash shop had rentals, not permanent, I could not stand it longer than a few weeks before removing it. 
The game is such a published mess it is confusing to find out the Western progress. Russia still has the better product. The only difference is just a small language file.PAK. In fact, I was able to play the Russian version because some one made a simple translation english pak to remove the Russian text and insert the english text. All the game design is in english, the only reason it is in RU release is because they are the TEST MARKET. Not because the Russian created it. Any ways, that point is, I feel this is CRYTEK abandon ware left to test markets and publishers to make some cash. It is not a complete failure, but there are enough bad points in the game that besides the graphics, I did not have enough to take me away from other FPS titles. In addition, and on a smaller point, here is how messy their sebsite set up is:

1) The good RU site:

2) The Gface site (not updated in about a year) Google search will show this link called BLA BLA does not seem like the official site...but it is XD

3) The typical Google result, but does not have the game XD

Perhaps this is your cup of tea and you are having a blast. For all others, DO NOT BELIEVE ME, PLAY THE GAME and tell us what you think. :)

I give this game a total score of 3/5 - Almost there, needs some love...perhaps a complete rehaul...or make bigger maps with more strategical use of classes.

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