Monday, 28 April 2014

Butler’s Free To Play Shooter Round-Up; Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love PC Shooters

First off, I should make it clear that technically one of these isn’t free-to-play, I just got it free-to-play, but whatever suck it I do what I want.

Two very different shooty mans games were made free for a time recently, and I had the honour of playing them both. Warface, Crytek’s 360 exclusive military squad-based shooter, and Red Orchestra 2, a large scale military squad-based WW2 shooter, was made free for a day. Two very different games, despite my sarcastic description, my unsolicited opinion can be found after the jump.

I’m going to start with Warface, because I want to. Firstly, from what I played, it doesn’t seem like the need to buy special Crytek coins (named Krowns) is as necessary as you’d imagine to get guns and equipment. There are 2 in-game currencies, dolla bills y’all and the aforementioned Krowns. There are Krown-exclusive bits and bobs, but they mainly seemed to be garish colour schemes or ridiculously painted guns. Being half competent at the game, you should get enough cash to buy a decent weapon very easily, and that’s without the Vendors.

The Vendor system is interesting, yet I’m not entirely sure what the catch is. You select the Vendors option from the menu before fighting, and are given a choice of one of three items to work towards. E.g., a body armour kit for the Medic, by playing the game and completing objectives you earn “Vendor Points” from somewhere which go towards unlocking them. These accumulate really quite quickly, I had a new scope, a new rifle and some gloves after a couple hours play.

These only cost the blood of 10 men and my ability to sleep

The gameplay itself is…..ehhhh. The best way to describe it is one of those games that tries to copy Call of Duty’s feel and controls, but doesn’t quite manage it. There’s a slight delay to everything, the enemies move weirdly and take too many hits, the guns don’t ‘feel’ right and melee might as well be flailing a cat’s dick at an aircraft carrier it’s so useless.

That being said about the movement, there has been some genuine attempt to make the game interesting. There is a surprising amount of movement, as you can jump over walls and slide from sprinting, climb up onto ledges to get to roofs and give your mates a boost who then give you hand up the higher ledges and walls. You can belt around the maps pretty fucking sharpish, which would be great if you could steer properly, but seeing a Warface game getting into position is like that bit in the Peter Cushing Doctor Who film when he turns the magnets on and all the Daleks whip down hallways into doors and walls.

Doctor Who and the Unnecessarily Vague Reference

While there is some sort of plot (You are Team Warface, there is another team who are bad. Go kill) the greatest enemy is the game itself. It’s an absolute pain in the arse to get into a game. For Co-Op mode, you can get a lobby full, then the host presses start, but there is no visible countdown. Neither is there any indication the game is doing anything or that the host has started the match. You can sit there for 15 minutes while Warface puts it’s war paint on and checks it’s rear view mirror or whatever the fucking thing is doing. Then you get into a game, and everyone is zipping about bumping into each other and the AI are staring into their gun barrels or shooting round corners. It’s a bit of a mess. Versus isn’t much better, with some of the worst latency issues I’ve had the displeasure of experiencing. Example, on one of the 2 Versus maps I played, I knee-slide past a gap between some shipping containers. While sliding, I see 2 enemy players staring at me, following me with their rifles not shooting. I’ve emptied my clip at them by the time I slide to safety, then I fall over and I get treated to shot of the 2 guys emptying their weapons into the side of the crate, then one of them falls over and I get a kill award. Fuck knows what’s happening there.

It just feels cheap, which I suppose is fitting given it is free, but it also feels like an old game, which is not what such a fanfared game should be aiming for after 3 days of being out of beta.

You can't tell but it runs Android AND has snake
On the other hand, is Red Orchestra 2, which was free for a day and if you didn’t get it you are a fool. A damn fool. RO2, and it’s expansion Rising Storm are fine games with big old maps and more screaming WW2 Russians then you can shake that cat’s dick at after the aircraft carrier has left to try and intimidate Modern Russians. Red Orchestra 2 is a completely different beast, mainly because it actually works and also in feel. Warface is about run run run shoot man get points, and while RO2 is not without it’s intense moments (trying creeping through a tunnel which is being arty striked and hearing the enemy soldiers nattering as they reload somewhere nearby, while only armed with a bolt-action rifle) and occasional need for massive rushes (You can play as Soviet Russians after all) but you need to be more deliberate.

There were precious few parachutes at the start of the war, so Soviet paratroops jumped from less impressive heights

Poke your head above a sandbag at the wrong time? Dead. Sprint standing across a field instead of crouched? Dead. Miss a shot? Dead. Forget to reload? Dead. Spawn on the Russian side and told to attack an objective? Dead like 100 times. You die a lot. But then sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you stumble into a flanking position and can pop pop pop make them fascist drop till your hands fall off. Sometimes you find a nice little window to peek through and pull an Enemy At The Gates on a whole squad while they’re running across a courtyard. But between these moments of terror, anger and glorious victory you can also get really quite bored.

  From my experience, this type of boredom, where you run for 3 miles and wander around massive empty complexes is only really a hallmark of the PC shooter. It’s probably due to console maps generally being smaller apart from the big cross-genre releases such as Battlefield, either due to technical limitations or gameplay considerations, rather a rabid crying mass of people, calling out for the chance to walk in one direction for hours then fall over dead.

It does have some marvellous gun porn though, with bolts sliding about and clicking and there being recoil and cool noises and pew pew pew. The game was made by Tripwire, notorious firearmphiles who made Killing Floor as an excuse to shoot things with their lovingly-coded firearms. There’s some slick little touches through the whole game too, like being able to blind fire despite it being useless, and leaning in cover, your weapon moving physically to the side of the screen before you turn, things like that. Chapman also says it’s gorgeous but I can’t run it high enough to say, ask him, I dunno.

I don't even know how to install a mod
ALSO: For those who care, this is late because of reasons involving academia

ALSO ALSO: For the 13 people who watched any of it, the last part of The Wrestling Adventure went up and is part of a snazzy playlist here


  1. Daleks are foooony. They cannot stares.

  2. wow this new guy really blows, get rid of him

  3. Butler rocks.

    Shooting games bring out the dark side in me that forever lurks behind crazed eyes.

    1. RTS's do that, as I unblinkingly send wave after wave of the sons and daughters of my nation to their deaths.

      Mainly because I'm terrible at all of them

  4. Butler, I'm always getting shot in the face. I try not to takeit personally.

    mr p, you aremad.

    Amusing article.

    1. It has a special icon for when you get shot in the dick.

      That's happened 3 times I am counting.

  5. Always a pleasure to drop in here and read the frolicks.

  6. Shooting game I am very passionate about this game genre, when the Fallout Shelter Mod Apk game I played had gunfights like a fascinating action movie.