Review by Xfactor

"A surprisingly good online game"

Few months ago, as I was getting a little bored from console gaming (thanks to Resident Evil 4 and Haunting Ground), I thought to myself: How about an online PC game for a change?

I went to a forum, to see if there's any new and good online game. I read a topic on "GunZ", and from the posts, I can see that there're a lot of praises around it. Most importantly, its "FREE". How often do you come across a game that's (1)free, (2)good, (3)online? So without any hesitation, I downloaded the game and try it out.

Initially, I read that this MMO-FPS game was still in Beta phrase, so I got into the game, expecting many glitches and errors. I wouldn't say I was wrong. The game did have its fair share of these messes, but thankfully, the patches come so frequently, by the time I've fully master the basics of the game, the game was nearly error-free.

The basic of the game: to kill your enemy. If you have played a FPS game before, you will have no difficulty familiarizing the game.

Being a guy that doesn't game online much, I explored the game around, and found many nice stuffs that amuses me easily. For example, you can level up your character like any RPG game. The further you got, the more equipments you can purchase with the 'bounty' to modify your character. New weapons, attires which improve your health/armor, items that you can use in the game like a medkit or grenades are just some of the items you can buy. To level up or get bounty, simply kill enemies and/or win the game. Speaking of equipments, to limit a high-level character from carrying items that are too good, there's this 'weight' feature. Each items have a weight, and the overall weight from the items your character cannot goes beyond 100 (of course, there're some items which increases the weight limit by a little).

The game offers 5 gameplay types. There're the "Team Death Match" (your basic team vs team game), the "Gladiator Match" (same as Death Match, but with sword). Besides the 'solo' version (where everyone is your opponent) of the Team Death Match and Gladiator Match, you also have the "Assasination" gametype, where a random player from both sides determine the win or loss of the round. If that player gets killed, his side lose. These gameplay types, though basic, are actually most of what current FPS have to offer anyway.

For the controls, again, it uses the generic 'PC FPS' control scheme. WASD to move, space for jumping, left click to attack etc. You gets the idea. Unless you have never play a FPS (or to a further extend, seldom play a FPS) on a PC before, its not hard getting use to the control at all.

The various category of weapons and items that you hold determine can determine the playing style you have. "Pray and spray" with a SMG, precise firing with your shotguns, or a nasty rocket launched at your foes are just some simple ways to play the game. You can also carry a melee weapon into a game, useful when you have run out of ammo. There're 3 main types of melee weapons, each with their characteristics. For example, you can knock down an enemy with a dagger, then proceed to fill his body with leads. As for the katana and the kodachi, you can guard your character's upper torso with them. You can launch an enemy into the air using the katana/kodachi and follow up with further assault from guns, but they are harder to execute. However, to disallow abuses of these moves, MAIET incorporated a 'safe fall' move, in which your character recovers in the midst of sustaining the attack to return attack. You can also perform a 'massive strike' attack, stunning your opponent for a second or two by charging your melee weapon or blocking a melee attack. Lastly, health, armor and ammo respawn can be found in various spots in the maps to aid you in battle.

The major selling point of the game is the abilities to execute various stylish moves, which can be performed by commands so simple that only a brain-dead person can't understand. These moves comes in very handy during battle, and allows more control over your characters. Besides the few that I have mentioned, you can also wall climb, wall jump, wall run and dash/tumbling, all of which helps you to dodge enemies' attack easier and moving around faster. By stringing them together, you can perform more advanced moves, which allows you to earn kill even easier.

If these discourage you from joining a game with an overpowered, high-level character, for fear of getting 'bullied', fear no. MAIET compensate by giving more EXP (Experience point) when you kill a high-level character. In fact, the high-level character will sustain a loss of EXP if he gets killed by someone with a much lower level opponent, which further discouraging them from fighting low-level characters and stick to fighting someone with their levels of skills.

Now, being a game that is still in BETA phrase, there're bound to be a lot of things waiting to be fixed. The main problem are, which exist in most if not all online games, the amount of hackers. Despite the numerous patches, its still hard to weed out the unlawful players. Until further security measures are implemented, the current thing people can do now is to vote the hacker out of the game.

The lack of variety of maps, items and characters are another complains. To my memory, there're 12 maps, 3 of which can only be played on higher levels. Still, the lack of varieties are excusable since the game is in BETA, and even MAIET themselves have stated that fixing the errors are their priorities, and that more maps and items (which have already added in the Korea version of the game) will be added in the near future. As such, the game WILL gets better, but at the moment, its just that.

The clipping issue might be another problem, but its nothing to me, or rather, not a major complain. Seriously, I rather having the sword went through the wall then having the character 'knocking' his sword against the wall and the enemy firing at you while your character recovers from the sword 'knocking' at the wall reaction.

The sounds are a little disappointing too, given the fact that a single type of weapons share the same soundclips, at least, it seems. Still, I doubt anyone is really bothered by this detail, when all of them are focusing on the battle. The music, though not bad, gets old easily due to the lack of variety. In fact, sometime I find myself playing my own mp3 in the background while the game runs, and shut off the in-game music.

To round off the impressions, I've got to include my opinion on the graphic too. Sure, its not something you can compare to Resident Evil (GC) or Gear of War, or its still decent enough to fall in between the quality of Unreal Tournament 2004 or Half-Life. Unless you're some graphic whore, you will not be bothered at the graphic at all. In fact, I rather play a small-filesize-with-good-gameplay game (eg GunZ) than a 'high-impressive/detailed-game-with-big-filesize' game. I am an impatient man. Downloading big file-size game isn't my thing, and the fact that I am just an average joe who doesn't have a 'gaming PC' adds to the reason why I prefer small size file.

Before I conclude this review, I will suggest you to head over to the forum of the game to see what you can expect in the near future from MAIET before you make further judgement, given that they are constantly upgrade the game, this review will no doubt gets old in no time. The main key addition is the 'quest mode', which have already been implemented in the Korea version of GunZ. As for now, we can only drool and wait for them to add the mode to the International version.

Thought not a 'game of the year' material, I highly suggest you this addicting game, especially if you have gotten bored of Unreal Tournament 2004 or Half-Life. GunZ gets a '8' from me AT THE MOMENT, a great game suffered thanks to the glitches (which I stress again, will be fixed in no time!) I am sure my opinion of the game will gets even better when the BETA phrase is over.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 07/18/05

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