Monday, January 30, 2012

Bastion, thoughts on MMOs

I've played through Bastion once. I am playing through it again on the New Game + mode. Bastion is the rare type of game that comes in, makes a remarkable impression, and then leaves before its stuck around too long. It also has my juices flowing for a bunch of thoughts about things I'd like to see in an MMO.

The first and most unique element of Bastion is the narrator which narrates not only the story, but the player's every move. When I first talked about Bastion's narration to my wife she commented "so he just repeats back to you what you just did? That's annoying!". I attempted to sidetrack her from that position by showing her some of the game, but then "the kid" (the game's protagonist) picked up a giant hammer to which the narrator announced "the kid picks up his trusty hammer". My wife laughed and walked away. While this example is the game's narration at it's most basic it is not truly the genius that exists later in the game. The narrator is seemless, delivering not only the story but also filling in the gaps between fights and everything else that occurs in the game. By the time I finished Bastion I was a bit sad to say good bye to the narrator. I had grown accustomed to listening to his voice through my journey. It probably doesn't hurt that they have one of the best voice actors ever providing the voice and paired it with an award-winning sound track.

Where would a constant narrator fit into an MMOG? The first immediate example that comes to mind is Dungeons and Dragons Online (DDO). I know I gave DDO a bunch of hate because it was just an RPG set in the D&D Eberron setting and because it missed the boat as far as what makes D&D fun (at least for me). With my personal tastes aside, DDO to a certain degree does have a narrator in place, known as the dungeon master. When adventuring through various dungeon areas the dungeon master will announce certain things such as the "the air hums with flies here" or "the smell of decaying flesh permeates". Usually these pieces of flavor are added for things that are hard to represent in a video game (smells for example). I wasn't sold on the idea when I played DDO, but having played Bastion now I think a dungeon master that follows your entire adventure and provides constantly evolving narration to your activities would work. The real trick would be making it work in a multi-player setting, which given some time I think a developer could work out.

The next outstanding feature of Bastion is it's namesake. The Bastion is a sliver of land, floating over the destroyed world that "the kid" is able to rebuild throughout the process of the game. Each area completed generally results in a shard being obtained. The shard can be brought back to the Bastion to restore a piece of the old world. These restored parts take the form of buildings that allow the player to perform different functions. In addition to the shards there are also relics from the old world that can be placed in the Bastion. Everything from a set of banners to a smoker's pipe add flavor to the player's Bastion. Some are for show and others serve other purposes (such as launching a side quest). Over time there is a real sense of progression to the Bastion.

Now it has always been my dream to have an MMO where the players are tasked with building the world from the ground up. The storyline in Bastion is the classic post-apocalyptic hotbed of building an oasis in the middle of a world wracked by destruction. This, to me, is the perfect setting for an MMO to launch into. It lets the players decide the pace at which the world progresses. Players hold the keys and make the decisions that will forever change their existence in the world. The so called "fourth pillar" of MMOGs is touted to be "story", but why does that story always have to be something the developers created? Why can't it be the story the player's create?

For bonus points, Bastion gets the mechanic for this world building correct as well. Players retrieve shards or relics that have immediate affects on their Bastion. In the case of shards, the player get's to spend them as a sort of currency to build the buildings they wish to have in the Bastion. This is almost directly transferable to an MMOG. Player's would be tasked with retrieving "shards" from the old, destroyed world to use and build items in the new world. Each player would have their slice of the new world in which to build. Guilds and alliances can join together to focus on improving a shared area.

Another part of the Bastion experience that makes the game so refreshing is the idea of player-directed difficulty via the in-game idols. Players can go to their shrine and activate idols they have unlocked. Each idol makes the game inherently more difficult. For example, one idol makes it so enemies randomly block one attack. The reward is increased experience gains and in-game currency. It's a simple idea, but something not seen in an MMO outside of the idea of "heroic" versions of some dungeons. Now it would be a challenge to develop, but I think an MMO could have every player set their own idols to dictate their own difficulty. The challenge would be in making it play nice together with other player's idols.

The other part of the shrine that works so well is that it's not just a UI element in Bastion. It is an actual building the player has fought to restore for the sole purpose of using it's services. This gives better weight to the player setting their idols and takes something that in most MMOs is just a UI element and makes it part of the world. Everything in Bastion is managed via these buildings that the player builds. Want to change your equipment load out? Head to the armory and swap them. Want to change your unique character traits? Head to the distillery.

Oh and the distillery. Let me talk about that. It's a brilliant idea just like the shrine is.  In the distillery player's set up "spirits" (aka alcoholic beverages) which modify how the player's avatar works.  Some add straight up stats like +10 health while others are more complex such as offering a counter attack mechanic.  However, the beauty really isn't in the details.  It's in the fact that the distillery takes the monotony of the stats screen out of the UI and inserts it into a practical in-game solution.  It doesn't hurt that the player can visit the distillery at any time to "respec" their character.

I understand some of the ideas I bring up here are not entirely original and in most cases there is an example game on the market that exhibits some of the traits that I mention. However, there really hasn't been a mainstream game that has attempted to tackle any of these elements. "The game that shall not be named" with full on voice acting does cover some of the narration, but it is not dynamic and at it's base level is still just uninteresting filler for quests. Bastion's narration is so far above and beyond that it's hard to compare. A Tale in the Desert covers the "let's build a world together", but really that's about all it has. Plenty of MMOGs feature "hard" or "elite" versions of dungeons, quests, or monsters which sort of works out to be like the idols of Bastion, but that's a loose connection at best. The "UI-built-into-the-game" element would be a first for MMOGs, as far as I know. In fact, a lot of MMOGs are more about the UI then the actual game (I'm looking at you EVE and at you World of Add Ons), so seeing an MMOG work towards removing as much of the UI as possible would be interesting.

My concluding point is that we haven't seen an MMO that incorporates a lot of what I've talked about and that's a damn shame.  Bastion feels like a really simple idea, but its clearly taken time for something of it's caliber to hit the market. It's a brilliant game and in my opinion, a blue print for a successful MMOG.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Demo Reviewed

The Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (KoAR) demo was released on Steam and I had a chance to put about an hour into it. I've been hard on the game in the past for it's very generic nature in the marketing spins produced by it's developer 38 Studios. Having played the demo now, I am still worried the title is a little bit too generic fantasy to rise above the field. However, there were a couple bright spots that gave me some hope for the game.

KoAR starts as almost any RPG starts by providing an origin story for the player's character. In this case, the player's avatar died on a foreign battlefield and their body dumped into the Well of Souls. As luck would have it, the Well of Souls ends up working to restore the character to life. It is a very organic introduction to the game and setting up the player's character. It also gives a blank slate entrance into the world and sets up a plausible re-spawn scenario.

Once resurrected from the pile of bodies in the Well of Souls, the player is whisked through some battles. Apparently the "bad guys" are attacking the Well of Souls. A few combat training scenarios later the player is on their way.

The combat felt very "actiony" (if such a word were to exist). However, after a while I felt like i was just left and right clicking like mad. The controls were as expected (WASD movement, click to attack), but I couldn't quite figure out how to hot key cast spells. It required a button press and then a right click. I'd much have preferred just to press a button.

One glaring problem I had with combat was targeting. Many times it looked like my avatar was targeting a specific monster only to unleash my attack in a completely different direction. Or just the opposite, I was charging an enemy down and attacked only to have the attack choose a target to the side. Fortunately, once hitting a target the game does a good job of keeping the player locked on. The combat varies a good bit based on the weapon selected and it was refreshing to see that spell casters could still handle themselves in melee combat.

Even with the targeting issue, the system showed promise. The move to action combat is a welcome sight for open RPGs and KoAR does a good job to fit the action in with the rest of the RPG goodies. There are still potions and other things to do all accessible via quick menus that work very well. The menus are well laid out and offer mouse click or hot key movement. I found most of the UI intuitive from character level ups to inventory management.

Overall I think KoAR will be a good RPG, but it still feels and looks generic. The action combat helps separate it from the crowd a little bit, but I'm not sure it will be the game's ticket to success. I think the keys to the game are locked outside of the demo. The supposed open world, non linear progression, and complex destiny ( aka class ) system may sell the game to the RPG faithful. I'm interested to see how the game does.

After playing the demo I wouldn't buy the game myself, but that's because I'm pretty spoiled by Steam sales and have a back log of great RPGs to play. At a later date with a good sale I would feel comfortable buying this.

View my screenshots here.


I didn't have enough time to redo my entire site to black it out, but I have made the theme black in my protest of SOPA/PIPA.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Phsycochild nails the whole Ilum bans thing

I'll let Phsycochild do all the talking today:

Psychochild says:01/02/2012 at 22:54
Here’s the problem: MMOs are multiplayer (it’s the second M). Which means that someone’s actions have a far-reaching effect for others. As a service provider, an MMO operator operating a game like SW:tOR needs to take action to make sure that things are fair for most players.

Yes, the perfect solution is not to have such an exploit in the first place. Okay, once reality intrudes we accept that some problems, bugs, and exploits will ship. So, now you have to look at the effect that an exploit like this will have on the community as a whole. If the company allows the exploit, then it becomes like a prisoner’s dilemma; you either must exploit this cheat and game the system (likely breaking immersion for people playing the game for the story), or you will be disadvantaged.

The next best solution is to patch to remove the exploit. But, making hasty patches to an MMO is not a smart thing. This leads to server crash bugs, where people can’t play. Players certainly don’t get cranky when they can’t play an MMO this close to launch or anything…

So, the next acceptable solution is to stop people from abusing the exploit while taking the time to do a proper patch with testing to make sure the fix doesn’t break something else. That’s what they’re doing, I assume.

Of course, anyone who gets caught with their hand in the cookie jar will pitch a fit and try to win points in the court of public opinion.

TL;DR – This is the best possible solution that doesn’t screw over most of the players. Exploiters will exploit, then whine if caught.

2012, the first post

2012, the first post.  Where in lies a reflection on predictions of the year that was: 2011.  And maybe some prognostication of the year that's just begun: 2012.

I kept the predictions light for 2011 and I'll tackle all five of them in one go:
1. World of Warcraft will maintain its dominance.
No doubt World of Warcraft is still top among MMOs, but to say its maintained its dominance is ignoring the fact that WoW took a significant hit this year and had to break out the pandas to keep people's interest.  In the larger genre of persistent online games, League of Legends has soundly trumped WoW's numbers with over 30 million active users and concurrent user numbers well beyond that of WoW.
2. Free 2 Play will continue its march forward and many will consider 2011 the year that F2P becomes the dominant business model not only for MMOGs, but for any online game (MOBA, FPS, etc.)
There is no doubt that Free 2 Play has landed with most major publishers having already published or considering to publish a F2P title(s).  2011 also marked the arrival of F2P on Steam; the premier digital distribution platform for games.  The subscription MMOs fell like flies to a flyswatter this year as several joined the F2P ranks and enjoyed immediate success.
3. "the game that shall not be named" will NOT launch this year.
OK, it squeaked into 2011, but just barely.
4. The "next generation" Xbox will be announced by Microsoft. Nintendo and Sony will stay with their current generation.
I was way off here.  Xbox 360 is marching strong and Playstation 3 is still playing third fiddle.  Nintendo, of all companies, is the one out front with news of their new Wii U console.
5. This blog will be completely different and may actually feature commentary and experiences from games I'm actually playing.
Proof: I posted about Fallout: New Vegas and I actually played that game!

Now onward and upward to my predictions for 2012 and beyond

1. The world will not end.  (just wanted to get that one out of the way)

2. I will post more than I did in 2011.  (just wanted to give ya'll something to look forward to)

3. "the game that shall not be named" will have a tough year, but will survive.  The argument to take the game Free 2 Play will begin around July.

4. Warhammer Online will be shut down this year.

5. DOTA2 will launch, but fail to make much more than a drip into the MOBA scene.

6. League of Legends will hit 50 million players and still be flying under the radar in the online gaming market

7. A major game will "surprise launch" this year with little to no notice and possibly be Free 2 Play

8. Indie games will continue to creep into the spotlight and we will see another Minecraft-level indie break out this year

9. At least 4 of these predictions will be right :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Battlefield 3: Back to Karkand thoughts and commentary

Battlefield 3 recently released their Back to Karkand expansion pack which brought four new Battlefield 2-inspired maps and a bug-fixing patch.  I've had some time to play a couple dozen games and here are my thoughts on how the game has progressed.

Anyone that has followed my blog or Twitter knows that I haven't exactly had the best experience with Battlefield 3.  I went from being a good Bad Company 2 player to a terrible Battlefield 3 player and at first glance the games are not that different.  Some analysis lead me to understand why I was not doing as well at Battlefield 3 as I had hoped and most of that revolved around what I felt was Battlefield 3's biggest problem: it was released too early.  Fortunately, the patch and expansion seem to have put the game on the right path and I am finding myself enjoying the game much more.

The best improvements revolve around the UI and while the patch doesn't fix all of the problems, it was a huge step in the right direction.  The chat box can now be hidden and it has been moved to a much more acceptable placement on the screen.  Squad management is simpler and squads are much easier to leave and join.  They didn't up the total number of squads available which is annoying as it literally breaks 64 player servers leaving upwards of 32 players without a squad to join.

The glowing neon text that Battlefield 3 uses hasn't gone away, but ironically enough they added a color blind mode which makes the UI elements (such as names and unit identifiers) contrast much better and I've moved to using as my default mode (and I'm not colorblind!).  Many other players have also moved to colorblind mode which makes me wonder why DICE doesn't get the hint and do away with the horrible, horrible neon lines and text.

Still needing improvement is the mini map, both during the game and during spawning.  It is hard to determine where a certain spawn point is going to place the player and as discovered by some keen-eyed players, the mini maps are clearly not accurate reflections of the actual map.  The mini maps seem to be from a previous map design, showing structures that were clearly removed or moved at some point.

Other than the new maps, weapons, and vehicles that came with Back to Karkand there weren't any huge features added to the game.  Assignments were added, which is like a quest system used to unlock the weapons of BtK.  Kill X players with X weapon and do Y to earn Z weapon.  They are a better system than having to level up specific kits to get new weapons, but some of the assignments just feature dumb objectives such as killing an enemy with the repair tool.

Still missing from Battlefield 2 are in-game voice chat, commander mode, and the battle recorder.  Three items that in my opinion are absolute requirements for Battlefield 3 to ever be considered a successor to Battlefield 2.  Without them, Battlefield 3 will remain low on my list of best Battlefield games.

Back to Karkand inadvertently fixed one of my other gripes with Battlefield 3: the maps!  The Back to Karkand maps are far superior to the vanilla maps.  After a couple rounds on Gulf of Oman and Back to Karkand I knew I would not likely go back to the vanilla maps anytime soon.  The BtK maps look better, play better, and feature a lot more destruction.

Everything that seems destructible is destructible and there are no more random paper thin walls that can't be destroyed.  The capture points on Conquest are tighter making actual defense possible instead of watching your flag cap with no enemy in sight.  The rush modes of the maps bring a refreshing twist to the classic Battlefield 2 maps.  The vehicle spawns seem closer, allowing for more vehicle action.  I could go on, but suffice to say, the Karkand maps are much better.

The balance changes that came with the patch also were a step in the right direction.  Weapons such as the SCAR-H and M240-B had their damage reduced which brought them in line with the rest of the weaponry in the game.  RPGs were slightly nerfed on damage to infantry (but could still go a bit further).   Mines are no longer infinite and limited to six per engineer.  And most critically of all, the IRNV scope was dramatically reduced in effectiveness.  It now only works in close ranges and blurs out at a distance.  The IRNV is no longer the equivalent of a wall hack and no longer the defacto scope everyone uses.

DICE also played with the way burst firing works.  I'm not sure on the details, but I seem to have much better luck with burst firing with certain weapons.  Some weapons still seem to have a first shot that goes randomly off target (and I mean WAY OFF target), but from reading the forums and on /r/battlefield3 it seems it may just be a bug with sprint or changing positions.  Hopefully, it gets tightened up a bit.  Either way though, I feel like I am far more accurate now when firing weapons.

Overall I am pleased with the patch and Back to Karkand.  I would be annoyed thinking I had to pay for BtK, but I bought the Limited Edition so got it for free.  Its still unfortunate that we're waiting for more features to be patched into the game.  Maybe in a year Battlefield 3 will be the successor to Battlefield 2 that we all wanted.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Fallout: New Vegas – My journey

FYI, spoiler warning.

I’m ashamed to admit that Fallout: New Vegas is the first Fall Out game I’ve actually played (as in played). Sure there was the Fallout and Fallout 2 dabbling I did in high school back in the day, but I really wasn’t a PC gamer at that point. I passed on Fallout 3 because I don’t buy single player RPGs anymore until they are on a Steam sale (and Fallout 3 has yet to be on a really good Steam sale). So when FO:NV went on sale for $4.99 I was going to pass assuming it required that I have Fallout 3. It wasn’t fathomable to me that a game’s sequel would be on a cheaper sale than the original. A friend spotted my stupidity and bought me FO:NV. Twenty-five hours later, I’m glad he did.

I’m well behind the release of the game with this post, so I won’t bore anyone with the technical or graphical side of the game. The game works well and looks good.

I finished FO:NV in a single week, a rarity for any game I purchase. What kept me coming back for more was the main storyline of the game, which is ironic considering the immense amount of side content available in the game. I really enjoyed the story and world. The various factions in game are interesting and the constant struggle between the sides is well done. It literally blew my mind when I realized all of these different sides were attempting to recruit me as the all-star for their side in the upcoming battle of Hoover Dam. I genuinely felt like each side had a valid offer.

After this was taken, I accidentally shot him in the face.
In the end I decided to go the route of helping Yes Man. Well to be honest, I accidentally shot Mr. House in the face when he was out of his life-enabling chamber which sort of ruled out following his path towards a Mr. House controlled New Vegas. Which by default made me the leader I guess? I wasn’t quite sure at the end if I was in control or whether Yes Man was. The massive army of robots under Yes Man’s control sort of tells me I wasn’t in charge. Either way, I’m pleased with my decisions.

To note though, at one point I was heavily leaning towards supporting Caesar’s Legion. The free supplies every few days seemed like a nice bonus (except trying to remember where the stash was replenished). However, I must admit I’m not into the whole cannibalism and anti-technology thing they have going on.

I didn’t side with the NCR because, well… I really liked their NCR Ranger Armor and ED-E wouldn’t stop getting into fights with them for some reason, so my NCR faction rating was shot. NCR soliders also make for great experience farming. However, it did make trips to the Strip a bit dodgy until I realized I could disguise myself as an NCR member.

I finished at level 15, which is only half of the available thirty levels. I followed a guide that had me start with ten intelligence, which did result in a ton of extra skill points per level. Following the guide really helped towards my enjoyment of the game as I often met the minimum threshold for a lot of alternate paths and having Repair high early on helped me unlock the ED-E companion who is a huge boon to situational awareness in combat.

My character focused on Guns, Lock-picking, Barter, Repair, and Sneak. My weapons of choice were the Assault Carbine and Hunting Rifle, replaced by the Marksman Carbine and Sniper Rifle eventually. My favorite perk to combine with these was the Bloody Mess which is self explanatory.

Being a loot whore, I also kept choosing looting-specific perks such as the one that let me carry up to 250 weight and Jury Rigging which let me repair my massive stock pile of guns I had made outside Gun Runners (btw I’m amazed how this game can remember where I leave just about anything, even if that anything is 100+ different guns).

Now that I finished the game I’ve been going back a little bit and leveling up some. I have an Anti-material Rifle now (.50 caliber sniper rifle). With the weapon handling perk and implants, I can wield it effectively now.

I’ve also just started to dig into some of the side quests that are in the game. I was really into the main story line and did absolutely nothing on my first run through. I’m still clearing out the stuff from Primm and the other starting areas.

Oh and to note, I killed Boone because I wanted his hat. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It was an otherwise unjustified killing in that giant dinosaur statue.

Here is my collection of screenshots.  And a couple of my favorites below:

Boone's Beret + Boone's Sunglasses + ED-E (robot) + NCR Ranger Armor = I'm a murderin' thief!

Barrels, always getting in the way of my bullets.

Monday, December 05, 2011

On the Brink

Brink had free weekend this past weekend on Steam, so I was able to put a few hours into the game. Brink is great for about two hours, but past that it’s a bore to play. Brink is the rare game that gets all the extraneous features spot on, but fails to inspire with its completely bland game play. Brink, essentially, is on the Brink of being a good game.

Most of the initial two hours is spent in the character creator and then in the tutorial-type challenges unlocking parts for your guns so players can then go back into the gun customizer to outfit some weapons. The customization, of everything about the character, is the impressive part of Brink. Even with the artistic approach to characters (long faces, exaggerated body types), I found an amazing amount of possibilities. On top of this, the weapons can be heavily customized both visually and functionally.

The only roadblock is the fact that many of the customization options are locked behind level or challenge requirements. The challenges are easy enough and within an hour a novice player can have most of the basic gun unlocks and enough character appearance items to make them feel unique. Experience rolls in easily enough while playing and is rewarded for every possible action the player can take, so there is no need to be an FPS god to rack up the points.

The online play is tough to describe. For a new player it is very confusing on what match type does what. A new player will look at a list of servers and game modes and be completely baffled as to whether they are getting into a co-op or team death match or team objective game. While Brink does a good job introducing the game modes in the challenge tutorials, it does not do a good job of explaining what match type a player is getting into.
I started with the campaign game mode first. Initially, I thought I was the cat’s meow as I racked up the top spot on my team several matches in a row. However, my elation came to an end when I realized I was playing against bots in a campaign co-op match. I did a bit of Google research and figured out I needed to be playing the Objective game mode against real opponents. A few matches into Objective and I was brought back to earth, often failing to break out of the middle ranks.

Players can score points from getting kills, assisting team mates, completing objectives, defending areas, and many more non-combat activities. However, there are no kill or death counts on the scoreboard. Players only see the total score of a player’s combined actions. This is something every other team-based shooter needs to take a lesson from. Team and class-based shooters are NOT about kill to death ratios, they are about the objectives, so it makes no sense to display kills and deaths on the scoreboard (I’m looking at you Battlefield 3!). The scoring system in Brink is one of the extraneous features that shines.

The problems with Brink come into play when players start to realize that the gun play is sloppy. Weapons have very distinct ranges and guns with short ranges feature vanishing bullets making it very hard for a new player to understand why they aren’t able to hit an enemy with their gun, even if that enemy seems to be within their range.

The range on weapons plays into the next aggravating feature of Brink: the SMART system. Brink was designed to be about movement and using movement to get an advantageous position on your enemy. The SMART system allows players to vault over obstacles, shimmy up walls, slide around corners, and for the most part live out their parkour fantasies. I found myself making incredible leaps to outflank opponents, but at some point I realized I was being killed more often than not while stuck in a pull-up or hurdling animation. The transitions just take too long to be useful in the middle of combat or the action the player’s avatar takes is not anywhere near what the player was expecting. Add this to the odd vanishing bullets with the limited gun ranges and new players quickly find themselves confused and dead.

The SMART system plays into my next gripe: the maps. The SMART system makes the maps very difficult to learn as many routes are available. A player has to spend a good amount of time learning the nuances of what can and cannot be achieved via the SMART system. Many times a route looks perfectly viable, but the player finds themselves floundering like a fish out of water when they go to make the jump. The jump/move may or may not be doable. Sometimes I would watch a player make a cool SMART move over an obstacle only to follow and fail to clear it myself. The system seemed inconsistent and more damaging than anything.

Also annoying about the maps are the glass walls. I can’t count the number of times I thought I was shooting someone only to find out there was a glass wall between us. Glass, in any game, should break when shot. Glass isn’t the only environmental problem. There are fences and openings around every corner that are invisible walls that bullets cannot pass through.

After a few matches most players are probably confused. Their selection of guns don’t seem to hit what they are aimed at as aside from a loading screen tip, there is no explanation of how gun range works. The SMART system has shown them that there are alternate routes to take on the maps, but they have most likely failed several times trying to take advantage of them. And even when their weapon of choice does manage to hit an enemy it is difficult to tell how much damage needs to be done to kill them. Then there is the grenade spam which the player has probably gotten stuck in multiple times.

Once acquainted with the game after about three hours of play I found myself not making many of the obvious newb mistakes, but I still felt like I was fighting the game trying to figure out the weapons and SMART system. It then dawned on me that it really doesn’t matter as I watched some of the top scoring players. It was better to just sit back and spam a class ability on team mates for points rather than to charge into objectives or to try and kill other players. Through brute force one side was eventually going to push into an area, completely negating the SMART system.

At the end of the day, Brink is a very boring game to play. All of Brink’s best features are outside of the actual game itself. Character and weapon customization are among the best of any FPS I’ve ever played. The art style and visuals are awesome. Unfortunately the gun play and fact that the SMART system is a moot point makes Brink a “what if” contender. I wouldn’t recommend this game to anyone at this point.