Monday, September 06, 2010

Dissecting Firefall's Gameplay Video

Red 5 Studios has finally come out of their hole to reveal the MMOG project they have been working on.  Titled Firefall, we got our first look at it this past week via this gameplay video.



There is no commentary with the video, so I wanted to take a few minutes to dissect it and throw around a couple of comments I have.

00:29 - We meet the two characters we will be following around the entire video. The second character has a visual effect of what can be assumed to be a continuous heal-over-time ability. Little blue plus signs swirl around the character. Visual queues seen by all instead of only textual and/or UI elements is a must in any modern game. Sadly, we've seen many MMOs where this is sacrificed for performance.

1:01 - Jumping! Jumping higher with jet packs! Jumping higher with jet packs and shooting! Hook, line, and sinker.

1:11 - The main character places a beacon to call down a Thumper which spends the next few minutes mining for minerals.

1:12 through 4:27 - Phew, that was a long boring three minutes. Wave after wave of enemy that looked and acted the same. This sort of repetitive combat that annoys players who are given guns and jet packs.

I really hope that this was more than just a quest and is actually Firefall's form of resource gathering. Locate a pocket of minerals, call down a Thumper, protect it while it gathers, let it shoot back off into space, and when you are back at base you can collect the minerals for crafting or selling or whatever they may be used for (fuel possibly as we'll see next).

4:31 - Seriously, loot with purple lettering!? I hate having loot spray out all over the place, especially when it makes no damn sense. Crystals and armor from bugs? Disappointed.

4:44 through 7:17 - Oh fuck yes, transport ship! The trip we take to the bastion of Dredge is quite amazing. We get a glimpse of an absolutely stunning open world. My main question, is this on rails or can players pilot the ship anywhere they want to go? Disappointing if this is only World of Warcraft's flight paths, but with space ships. Well maybe not too disappointing if they can be called in to pick a player up anywhere in the world! Lots of potential.

5:09 - Before moving forward, were those player-controlled ground vehicles I spied? They don't seem to be taking any preset path, so here's hoping they are player vehicles!

8:04 through 8:35 - Dredge: looks cool, seems dull. Standard MMO city, vendors and a bar. None of the NPCs really seem to be moving around at all. The place seems as boring as the cities from Borderlands.

8:36 through 9:36 - But right as it seems to be boring all hell breaks loose as Dredge comes under attack. This felt like a very organic fight. Obviously it is set to replay itself out on a regular basis, but this was cool enough that I wouldn't mind multiple run-throughs. Populate the entire world with events such as this and it's a promising feature.

9:37 - Alert, giant fucking robot attacking.

10:09 - Just as we are getting a taste for the ground combat, the character jumps into a turret and starts laying waste to the enemy. Next, the turret turns on the giant robot and we finish the video wondering what the outcome was.

Overall, I really enjoyed the video and I feel the game has potential. I understand the blog'o'sphere's concerns about it being Free 2 Play (F2P), but there is overwhelming evidence (from DDO to Allods Online to Battlefield: Heroes) that F2P works. Not to mention the evidence showing that the subscription model is faltering (WAR, LotRO/DDO dumping it). My advice to those glancing past Firefall already because it will be F2P: play it first.
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