Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fire Fall: Impressions and Gameplay Vid

If you read my previous entry, you know I've been watching a lot of DayZ gameplay video on YouTube - mainly by a user known as SideStrafe. But since the game is still in alpha (beta now?) and is a mod for another game you have to pay for (ARMA II), I just can't commit to it. SideStrife does post some other gameplay videos, however - one of which was for a new MMOFPS/RPG called Fire Fall (or Firefall, if you're lazy). Suffice to say, I really liked what I saw.

In fact, I liked it so much, I attempted to make my own gameplay videos for it:

One of the few things that I don't like about Team Fortress 2 is the lack of any sort of meaningful progression. You fight one round at a time or, if you're playing MvM, 9 waves at a time. Yes, you can "find" crates and weapons, but that's it as far as character development goes. Fire Fall solves this by taking the FPS gameplay, wrapping it in a MMORPG structure and giving it a sci-fi twist.

Killing baddies and completing missions gives you XP, which can then be spent upgrading your 'battleframe.' Your battleframe of choice serves as your class, with the added benefit of being able to change into new battleframes. There is a 'tech-tree' (similar to Diablo's skill tree progression) for each battleframe leading to two souped-up versions when you have unlocked the necessary prerequisites. Additionally, unlocking one skill does not lock you out of going back and unlocking any of the other options. You can then mix and match the upgrades to your battleframe (including the primary and secondary weapons) as you see fit.

The game is free-to-play, which, considering the quality of the environment and the attention to detail - down to the descriptions of your battleframe upgrades - is impressive. There is no advantage to be had in buying super powerful weapons or equipment. Instead, you can opt to purchase visual enhancements for your character. It's an interesting and potentially risky move on Red 5's part, but I hope it pays off, as nothing is more annoying than players dominating a game simply because of how much disposable income they have.

Fire Fall is currently in closed beta, but the resourceful user will be able to score an invite without too much trouble (if I can do it, anyone can). There are still some rough edges and lag issues, but the point is to help the developer find problem areas as much as it is to enjoy the game. My only major concern (major being an overstatement) is that I seem to have outpaced the story - I finished the handful of missions available in the two 'civilized' areas of the map and now find myself grinding while waiting for more playable areas and missions to appear.

There is a silver lining to the grinding, however, as I now find myself on the verge of getting my first advanced battleframe.