I have a feeling that the back end of 2020 is going to see a resurgence in the tactical shooter genre. Just to be clear what I mean by " Tactical Shooter" , I am referring to the genre that was popularized by games like Counter Strike and Team Fortress back in the early 2000's
These games pre-dated popular shooters like Call of Duty and Halo and were considered ( and still are) the defacto FPS. These games emphasized player mortality ( no respawns) and balanced matches by way of an in game currency system that allows all players to purchase from a selection of weapons to take into battle each round. Matches revolved around objectives to win and featured a best of X amount of rounds much like a NHL playoff game. In fact these games were the foundation of Esports as we know it today.
With games like League of Legends showing the world that video games can garner mass appeal as " sporting events" it only makes sense that now is the time for this genre to emerge from the shadows.
The latest game to enter the ring is Warface Breakout by Allods Team and MY.GAMES. The game is available on Playstation 4 and Xbox One exclusively ( sorry PC players you have other games in this genre to enjoy) and makes no steps to avoid comparisons to Counterstrike.
The game is in its early launch phase and while it is a clean and polished experience one can only hope that as the population starts to grow that the game will undergo many changes and improvements. For now it has 5 maps and approx 30 weapons to choose from. Gun play is tight and tactical with weapons seemingly balanced.
Aesthetics are draped in a Neo future style that channels games like Deus Ex and Black Ops 2 forward. The factions are the Reapers and Wardens ( Police and Terrorists if you want to get simple about it) and each team has a specific in game objective. Reapers attack and plant a bomb and Wardens defuse and protect the sites. Each faction has a specific selection of weapons to choose from during the match and at the half way mark of the match ( Games are played until one team hits 8 wins) the sides are switched to give both teams a chance to lean into their preferred play style.
Graphically speaking the game is actually quite pretty. It runs at a steady frame rate ( 60 fps?) and holds up well under close scrutiny.Character models are detailed and gun graphics stand tall with the best of them albeit without all the fancy trimmings like dangling straps and charms from games like Rainbow six and Modern Warfare. Make sure that when you start the game that you select a server that provides the best ping rate as the default servers tend to be oversees. My friend and I who realized our frame rate was dropping through the floor backed out and changed to a NA server and were visibly blown away at the difference it made.
Gloves and body armor have detailed looks and show the care in distinguishing the two different factions from each other in the game. On a side note I am convinced that the Devs were inspired by the MCU rendition of TaskMaster in the upcoming Black Widow movie.
Environments are kept clean with a strategic use of lanes and cover points. Don't expect to find little nooks and crannies to hide in because it appears that these levels were hand crafted with utmost care to not allow for shenanigans like that. On that same note the environments are not destructible nor do they have any physics to them side from the bomb plants that destroy the objective at the end of each round ( If you are lucky). This results in a very clear understanding of the map elements and limits of your strategy. No random red barrels to shoot for collateral damage and bullet penetration seems non existent although I haven't fully tested that yet. Climbing in the environment is handled by way of a prompt system so everyone is clear on what can be mantled an what is just pure inaccessible.
The one thing I noticed while playing this game and keep in mind I NEVER played counter strike (I had brothers who played a ton so I am familiar with the game) was that the "Time To Kill" is set very high. The developers really wanted to place an emphasis on player mortality to drive the pacing of the game. Moving slowly around corners and having the right weapon equipped will make the difference between a novice player and someone who is learning the game. Too many modern gamer's rage on games for not playing the way THEY want the game to play and not adapting the the game itself. In Breakout head shots are king and body shots while effective will not win a gunfight if two players are staring each other down.
Each weapon in the game has its own " weight score" that runs under the hood making it important to balance your desire to have a heavy caliber weapon at the ready versus your agility and ability traverse the map at a pace in line with your strategy. Remember..." Everyone runs faster with a knife" lol.
An early emphasis is put on cosmetics but as of yet I am not really seeing any items that truly differentiate your character model from the others. lets hope they add more vanity skins that will allow player expression to flourish in the months that follow.
Speaking of months to follow it is worth mentioning that the game is not a Free to Play shooter. In fact this game is $20 and the developers have stated that while the game has an upfront cost they will be funneling post game content at no cost to the community eschewing the recent trend to sell Battle Passes as an ongoing monetization stream.
I fully expect the player base to embrace the paid cosmetics side of the game if the developers can create some interesting designs and of course weapon skins are the ultimate form of expression in games like this.
Overall I found Breakout to be very enjoyable and very quick to learn and adapt to. As a player who spends a lot of his gaming time with shooters of all types I can safely say that the value you get for this game while not readily apparent by the amount of sheer content in the game shines through in the amount of fun you will have playing it. Strap your E sport goggles on versus your expectations of what a AAA shooter has taught you to expect and you will come away with a grin on your face.