Review by DarkendIce

"You won't feel complete when GunZ is down, if you enjoy it."

GunZ: The Duel. It's a free online TPS (Third-person shooter) game, available for legal download on http://www.gunzonline.com/.

From screenshots from GameSpot, this "shabby" TPS doesn't look like much. When looking at the forums and message boards, people are usually excited and positive about the shooter.

That's because they know the game and how to enjoy it. Really, the way to enjoy this average-looking shooter is to KNOW the game. Not know it's graphics level and music, but know HOW to play. Looking at the game, you'd think it's a Counter-Strife rip-off or something, with a sword. Obviously it'd look like that with the title "GunZ". But with experience...

You'll see the game's depth is far. It's caused by unintentional programming, and it can be considered "glitches". But without these, GunZ' community would be really small, and be full of CS fans. I'll get into these later.

Knowing how to play the game, you'll really enjoy it. When it's down, you'll miss it. Trust me, it's happened a lot. But...uh, let's get to the damn review.

GRAPHICS: 6-8/10
From screenshots, GunZ' graphics look really dull. Yeah, it's nothing special but that doesn't mean it's bad. At highest level, the graphics are good. The textures look very neat and polished and you're character's clothes look good. Nothing bad. Lower levels of graphics you can set make your game an average 3D flavour. The weapons are average-ly designed. You'll know when someone uses a shotgun instead of a rifle, by looking at the model. The swords are basic katana things and the daggers look normal too. Good, but there's just nothing in the graphics that'll awe you.

The special effects in this game are decent as well. Explosions look alright, the gunfire is okay, and sword/dagger-contact effects are easily noticed and presented well. The wind streaks when "dashing" is fine, too. But again, there's nothing special

GAMEPLAY: Ranges from 1-9/10
You CAN play this like a game of Counter-Strike, but it's not really meant to be that. They put wall-running, tumbling, swords and rockets for a reason. But I guess it works. If you play a lot of CS or a game where you really need aiming skills and reflexes, it'll sure help a lot in GunZ. But unlike CS, the "hitboxes" on a character's bodies aren't as accurate. You get used to it though.

Comparing this to Counter-Strike, it seems like a really flawed game. Again, it's not supposed to be like CS. It's an alternative. You'll get fustrated when someone does non-CS-ish stuff around you and you die. That's why you need to know the game. Later on in your experience of GunZ, you'll find people doing very glitch-y moves, people moving insanely quick and shooting faster than usual. You might call them haxxorz, but this is the core of GunZ' advanced gameplay.

Korean-Style, commonly called, is how the game's expert players play. It is using the melee weapon to cancel out a movement do another action while in that state. Like, say if you jumped off a wall-run. You're unable to do anything till you land, UNLESS you slash with your melee-weapon. After slashing (while still in mid-air) you can dash, you CAN wall-run again on the same wall or even change weapons to a gun and blast it whilst in the air! With sword-cancelling, a variety of techniques will appear for you to master and defeat your opponents. An immensely popular one is called the "Slash Shot" which is a jump with a slash in mid-air accompanied by a switch of weapons and a shot, all activated within a second (for pros)! Many people complain that it's hard to SS, and they're true. Only with practise and aim will you learn to be an amazing K-Stylist. There are much more techs for you to try be reading guides and FAQs and asking pros. They are glitches but it has been verified that it IS a VALID style of gameplay by the MAIET team. You really need good fingers to do these things AND have a good aim too or else it's almost useless. K-Style is popularly named after Koreans because it's how people play in Korea and this Korean name Kraise brought it over to IGunZ and...

Anyways, another huge thing to note is lag. A major negative part of the game, and someone that is lagging really bad can screw up your fun. In CS, laggers are easily killed. In GunZ, you need to "lead" your attacks cause laggers are actually a number of seconds ahead of their model according to your screen. Very bad laggers can hold up the game for an long, extended amount of time. Basically, someone who uses the old dial-up system of the internet should NOT play GunZ. IF YOU HAVE DIAL-UP, DO NOT PLAY GUNZ. IT WILL BE FUSTRATING FOR YOU AND OTHER PLAYERS AROUND YOU. It sucks, and I'm sorry, but it's really hard to play with 56K internet and lower, if there are still any. Another case of high pings is distance. Someone playing from some place like New York with a person from, I don't know, Tokyo, would see high pings from eachother. Don't just yell to that guy that he needs better internet or to stop downloading pr0n, because it's a normal thing in GunZ. The further the distance, the higher the lag between you guys is. You just need to lead shots, which is easy if they're new. Lag really turns off players from the game.

There are a number of game modes: Deathmatch (you're a soloist player versus everyone in the same room), Team Deathmatch (you're on a team fighting against the opposing team), Gladiator (Deathmatch, but with swords), Team Gladiator (Team Deathmatch with swords), Training (like Deathmatch, except you do not gain or lose EXP. It's meant for training K-Style and testing out glitches, etc.), Assassination (a Team Deathmatch BUT on each team there will be a "Target" that's glowing. The objective is to kill that target on the opposing team but keep yours alive as well), Berserker (a game type that is only to be played by players level 21+. It's Deathmatch but 1 character has a fierce aura around him (the Berserker)and he is much stronger than the average player. The assassinator of the Berserker becomes the new one) and Quest, which is a special type of gameplay which you and 3 others (optional) go on a quest to kill monsters and not eachother.

There are about 10 (more or less) pretty big maps that you can battle in. Some are only accessed when you are at a certain level. Unfortunately though, you cannot create your own maps.

Shops are also in the game. Access it by clicking on the Shop icon around the top of your lobby. You can buy a bunch of things from Swords to Daggers, Pistols to revolvers, Shotguns to Rifles to Rockets and "items" and much more. The currency is Bounty (BP)and you earn it by defeating players in-game. You get a certain amount of Bounty by killing opponents (1.2 times the victim's level equals Bounty recieved) and also EXP to level up (also according to players' levels). You don't naturally get stronger each level, it's your skill and equipment that make a difference.

The last things to note is that each "tier" of player's levels are split up in "channels" that people can access according to their level. There is also a channel for every player to participate in and fight with any leveled player. You can make a private channel too, and you get a Clan channel when you are in a Clan. A Clan is a group of players that participate together under a certain "Clan name" and fight in Clan Wars. In lots of different games there are hackers, and GunZ is no exception so beware. To make a room you just click on the Create Game/Room button and fill in the Name and Password(optional) boxes and you're set. To access games all you need to do is double-click on a game in the lobby. Another thing is that players are also split between a number of Servers. Each server holds the channels and each are equally the same except for the players. At the time of this review, there are 6 servers. 3 is the one I go to most.

Routers can be a pain if you don't know how to use them. I've never had router problems but I suggest you use http://www.portforward.com/ to help you.

One more note is that GunZ' Servers are full a lot, and some servers have problems sometimes too. It's the nature of GunZ that there are a ton of problems.

SOUND, BGM: 7/10
8/10 for sound, 5/10 for BGM

For the most part the sounds are good. The SMG's and machine gun sounds can get awfully annoying using headphones, though. The hit sound is extremely helpful but not neccessary when you are a pro (there's an option to set it off).

The music...It's a simple mix of rock & roll beats. Well, it's nice to listen to for the first time playing but listening to it too much gets to be a pain. It's cooler to mute the BGM and minimize it to turn on some of your favourite songs. The in-game music isn't very good, but I supposed it's alright.

MECHANICS: 9/10
The controls are slick. Very nicely put. If this was on a game console like the PlayStation 2 or XBox, it would phail. In the options menu, you're able to set up your controls as well. You aren't able to remap the mouse though. Another downside is that you can't use a controller, but they're useless for this anyways.
Sometimes executing moves like SS can be a pain too, and it's harmful if you do it A LOT so...yeah.

FUN FACTOR, REPLAYABILITY: 3/10 for some, 10/10 for others
Knowing this game's systems will have you craving this for a long time. It's free, so you don't have to spend money on it. For people who have slow fingers and argue that K-Style related stuff is "cheating" will dislike that game and will complain a hell lot when they are defeated by an SSer type person.

OTHER: 6/10
GunZ has a lot of technical issues and that's a major downside. The camera view is good, no big problems here. It seems to be sort of a fairly hackable game (I wouldn't know, I don't hack) so you should watch out. Routers may also be in need of configuration for game-play.

OVERALL: 9/10
9 out of 10? It's 9 because knowing the game makes you wanna play this almost all the time. It's really fun. With GunZ' alternative shooting-type engine, you ARE able to eliminate a whole team because it's like a fantasy-game. I can't really conclude anything else besides that it's fun.

DOWNLOAD? OR LEAVE IT ALONE?
Go ahead and download it if:
You have Cable/DSL and have experience in port-forwarding stuff, if you're good in shooters, if you like massive-multiplayer online games, or you need something to keep your mind off on.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 11/09/05


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