PAX Impressions: Nexuiz
Greetings, and welcome to another of the seemingly endless (and belatedly posted) PAX Impressions. For my last impression, I’m going to take you back to what was actually our first appointment at PAX: an arena shooter named Nexuiz. It’s taken me a while to post this impression mainly because the game is so early in development that any gripes I have about it will likely be, or may already be, ironed out of the final product. If you’d like to hear about Nexuiz, check out Episode 3 of the Podcast. If you’d like to read about Nexuiz… Well… You’re in the right place. The night before PAX, Chris, Torgo from PSNation, and I attended a Crysis 2 event. Drinks were served, the spread was impressive, and Crysis 2 multiplayer was played. To boast and nothing more, I ended each round I played at the top of the leaderboards. That’s not to say I’m especially good at FPS games; Hell, the last FPS I played on an Xbox was probably Halo 2. I’m just standing up for myself, as you’ll see me playing pretty poorly in the video at the end of this post. But first, a walkthrough with one of the devs:
I know the sound quality isn’t great, so I’ll list some of the more interesting things he talks about.
- Nexuiz will be the first CryENGINE 3 powered FPS to be released on the PSN or XBLA.
- It’s an arena FPS for a generation lost in the Call of Duty.
- What sets Nexuiz apart from other Arena FPS games?
- The demo we played was only 3 months in development.
- $15 price point.
The game looks good. Like, really good. When it releases, it will be the best looking downloadable shooter on either platform. To boot, the developer said that the people working on Crysis 2 are very supportive of the Nexuiz project, sharing notes about the CryEngine and other fun dev stuff.
The Arena FPS explosion occured in the late nineties. Games like Quake TF and Unreal Tournament pioneered a new type of super-streamlined, action-packed FPS. I’m talking strafe-jump to your left around a corner and blindly let off a triple rocket launcher blast just in case someone’s bunny hopping towards your face at that moment (someone is) type of FPS. What this developer feels is that the newer generation of gamers are snatching up Halos and CoDs like hotcakes and leaving Arena FPS’s on the shelf to collect dust. By releasing Nexuiz on the PSN and XBLA for a relatively modest price, the team is hoping to spread Arena joy to all the little girls and boys. This made me happy, as I’ll need all the bodies I can get to quench my thirst for headshots. Look behind you MasterCheiftan94, oh wait, you can’t, you’re dead. Respawn!
Besides for the CryEngine, there’s a system called “Dynamic Mutators” that sounds extremely awesome. I’m not a fan of the CoD franchise’s style of rewarding a player’s kill streak with attack dogs, airstrikes, radar detection, and whatever other annoying powerup the game grants you for already kicking ass. Nexuiz is going about rewarding kill streaks in a different way. From what it sounds like, when you get a kill streak, 3 different random mutators will appear at the bottom of your screen. On the fly, you can choose one of them to either impact the way your team plays the game or the way everybody plays the game. Apparently there are “too many to even start listing,” which is a good thing, I guess. Now, here’s where the DM system gets interesting: At the end of every round, your score points are stored to your profile. You can spend these points on mutators you specifically like, which boosts the chance that those mutators will appear the next time you get a kill streak. For some reason, I really like the fact that you’re not gaining abilities, but increasing the chances that a certain ability will show up. Random chance and luck are two very big factors in an Arena FPS. Skill is up there, too, mostly of the twitch-speed reaction type.
There were bugs, for sure. I fell through the map a couple of times, had to suicide to respawn, and a few other snags here and there occurred. Regardless, Chris and I were both impressed with how far along the game was for being worked on for only 3 months. It was surprisingly playable.
If it plays as well as it looks, it’ll be completely justifiable.
To sum it up, the game looks and plays well enough for the stage of development it’s in. What Nexuiz is boasting right now is a pretty graphics engine and a huge amount of potential. My main concern with the build we played is how long it took to kill another player. In an Arena FPS, I should never run out of ammo during a 1 on 1 firefight with another player. Unless we are both extremely familiar with the game and how to play it, one of us should be dead before either of us even thinks about reloading. This type of slow down makes for a sluggish FPS, the antithesis of Arena madness. I mentioned this to one of the guys at the booth and he said they’ll be getting pro gamers in to test the balance issues, etc. Hopefully they get pro gamers above the age of 21, because anyone younger is going to want a zombie rush mode or a fucking photon sword.
Please, Nexuiz, be good when you release. I’ll be the one rooting for you the entire time you’re in development.