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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Combat Arms - Review

Combat Arms is a microtransaction FPS hosted by Nexon. The developers are known as Doobic Studios. To be honest, I've never heard of them before. I ended up starting Combat Arms cause I got bored and I was both pleasantly surprised and disappointed at the same time.

The good parts:
For the most part, guns have been very well balanced, and it's possible to kill anyone pretty easily with any gun. While the AK-47/74 are and always will be my favorite (depending on whether i'm in a 5.45 mood or a 7.62 mood. A little joke for you gun buffs)there are a variety of really useful and fun weapons to use. You also get a nice variety of grenades including gas which is always fun to toss in a crowded building.

You can attach modifications to your weapons. Want better accuracy? Slap on a red dot. Need a bit more ammo boost? Use an extended cartridge. Don't really like your gun going off at a funeral? Silencers for you. You can attach usually up to 3 modifications for your gun (one from each column) and it tends to make your gaming experience much more fun.

There are different game modes so that you can never be really bored. Bombing missions, Capture the Flag, deathmatch, team deathmatch on a variety of different maps that generally follow a tileset but really affect what camo you need to wear.

Your character can be modified to your liking. Change his hat or his camo. Switch the backpack he uses so you can have different primary weapons with you at all times.

And if you're willing to donate, there's the micro-transaction shop that has a handful of useful, really nice weapons and equipment.

The bad parts:
Overall, I think this was actually a half assed game. There's modification in the game but it seems to do so little... Rather. There's too little of it. You get a choice of 2 scopes that either tell you the range or how much hp/ammo you have. They're good red dots but there are only two for pistols and guns. Next is the extended cartridges which extend a bit and help out drastically, but doesn't seem to affect the gun overall and it seems you can extend the cartridge of any gun, which if I remember correctly, isn't true. Finally you get the silencers. You need to play for a bit to get a higher rank for the other silencers but generally there's 3 with noise reduction as an obvious. recoil reduction, tracer reduction or muzzle flash reduction. Once again, these can be equipped onto every gun.

There aren't any sniper scopes, you're stuck with the one you're given.

Here's what I honestly feel about the gun modification for this game. I feel they tried too hard to be SOCOM 3, which was amazing in modifications. They did a decent attempt but it feels too much like an optional "bonus" feature you slap onto your gun rather than a necessity. I kinda miss some rifles that have good accuracy being able to equip 4x scopes rather than red dots. I kinda miss thermal scopes for sniper rifles or a massive 16x high powered scope. When I add equipment onto a gun, I want to see the result of it being heavier and slow me down. When I equip a rocket launcher, I want to see the result of it being heavier and slow me down DRASTICALLY.

I want armor to have a more prominent effect. Too often I see my health go to zero with my armor at around 85ish (No, they weren't headshots). What... is all the armor I'm equipped with in my foot? It doesn't help to know my teammate's HP is 150 (HP+AP). It seems the only useful headgear is headgear that reduces headshot damage.

Remove the SP Gauge or keep it hidden like in Call of Duty 4. If there was to be more interaction with it like in Warrock where you can tumble in any direction, then it would have a point. Otherwise, just hide it. I'd assume my running stamina's limited anyway.

In all FPSes, there are two games that are fighting for supremacy of the best gunshot sounds: Counter-strike and Call of Duty 4. It's not that I want sounds to be realistic. I want sounds to be distinct. What is so great about the sounds in both those games is that each gun and pistol has a very distinct, unique sound that allows me to differentiate guns and change my tactics up to the point they even switch to them.

In Combat Arms, there's about 8 different gun sounds total applied to all the guns. Why is it so important? I want to know for a fact, I'm going up against a K2 (which I can take easily), rather than an M4A1 (which has a better chance of kicking my ass). I want be confident that I'm going against a Steyr AUG rather than a G36C which has enormous power and could kill me in one shot if I had thirty some odd life rather than a Steyr which could kill in 2.

I don't understand why Sub-machine guns have higher damage than a handful of assault rifles. From what I believe, it's a balancing issue (since they don't seem to take weight into effect) but it seems kinda ridiculous that an MP5 deals more than my M16.
I would also like to know how large the magazine cartridge is IN NUMBERS. This gets very irritating when choosing a pistol as I cannot differentiate each bullet in how long a bar is on a gauge. I want to know for a fact the USP has 10 rounds, not somewhat decently high on an arbitrary scale of how useful it's ammo capacity is to itself.

The maps, despite ranging in variety, are pretty poorly made. For one thing, far too many maps are too small to accommodate 12 players. Also, having a single spawn point in a small map makes it far too easy to spawn kill. Then there's maps like junkyard, a tiny map that really should have weapon restrictions coded. You can actually RUN from your spawn to about 3/5 of the way to the other spawn. There's something wrong about bringing machine guns and assault rifles to a map that tiny.

There's really no BIG Map. There's kinda bigger than medium maps which have maybe 2 spawn points per team... that are conveniently placed very near each other....and defeat the purpose of multiple spawn points...

Too many of the maps are also centralized. If you were to give a summery of what a Combat arms map would be like from spawn point to spawn point, it's simply this. Small path that funnels your team into a larger box shaped area and then to a funnel to the other spawn. There are only 2 or 3 maps I can think of off the top of my head that don't do that but then have very large complexes in the center of the map. It's as if the developers are saying "Ignore everything you know about tactics. We'll do it for you. All you have to do is fight like a bunch of idiots in a nice complex maze we set up for you in the center."

Finally. The weapon shop. Yes. There's even something wrong with the weapon shop. First of all, when I want to buy something. I want it to be centralized. I don't want to have to buy a weapon. Go to mods. Then fumble my way around the mod screen to remember how to buy a mod and then buy it. I also want to know the stats of my own gun, not the stats of the gun that was highlighted in the store but was saved due to poor programming when I switched to my inventory. I want to be able to compare my factory made gun with some of the other slightly better factory made guns.

But this thing bothers me the most about the weapon shop. Timed items. Everything in the game is timed. After a certain amount of time, the gun expires. It's more of a trial really, which utterly turns me off about the game. I want to buy a weapon, and still have it just in case at some point I come back to it in the future because of a delay that I may have experienced from a thing known as LIFE. I cannot dedicate 8 hours a day of gaming to Combat Arms, nor do I intend to. I would like to have my mods stay on my gun, not disappear because my 30 day trial period is done. Yes, I know if you play a certain amount you can actually make a profit. In fact, I've been playing so that I can buy a one day gun and make enough money to make a profit. In addition, I found a glitch that allows me to keep a 1 day weapon for about 2-3 days. That's beside the point. I understand the point of this for cash shops but why even the normal shop?

I'd rather have the guns timed on a gameplay basis or have a degradation element to it. I don't want to buy a free 30 day weapon only to find out I had to attend to family issues and come back to lose so much time required to keep a profit.

In short. Combat Arms is a fun game for short bursts, or for a second job like WoW. There's no middle ground and I guess I should've expected as such since you don't pay for the game and thus reap the rewards of quality. My only wish really is for Combat Arms to be a bit more accommodating and focus on one aspect of the game or the other. As of now, it's very wishy-washy and teetering between Soldier Front and SOCOM 3.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with every word, in my opinion, the game has just been slapped together, 'on the cheap', in order to make some easy money, like all too many games nowerdays.