Review by Disco1960

Reviewed: 12/01/05

This review is for noobs

An online third-person shooter with perhaps the goofiest name ever, Gunz: The Duel pits you against random opponents wearing the same shirt you are in epic battles to the death for no apparent reason. Not an entirely original premise, to be sure. However, the game offers a selling point others don’t; namely, the fact that its gameplay bears a shameless disregard for the laws of physics that borders on contempt. It just so happens that Gunz takes place in a fanciful setting, where even the most ordinary citizens can perform acts of gravity defiance. For better or worse, Gunz is also free and open to potentially anyone… so when playing, you literally risk meeting and fighting the most unpleasant people in the world.

Well, come to think of it, perhaps that does make it easier.

Armed with a blade for melee combat and uh… gun, you may choose to participate in whatever sort of deathmatch you wish. Gunz delivers the most standard varieties, such as free-for-all and team battles. Beyond those, Gunz also has its own more unique variations: Gladiator restricts the game to melee-only combat, and Assassination is a team-oriented game in which victory depends on elimination of a randomly chosen member of the opposing side before the elimination of yours. All in all, the currently available selection still isn’t the greatest out there, but that could always change— and it’s really the action itself that keeps this interesting.

Starting out in Gunz is easy enough. Gunz utilizes an experience level system; to help prevent the constant and hideous outmatching of beginners, game channels are conveniently segregated by ranges of experience levels. In the entry-level channel for levels 1 through 5, a brand-new player should be able to compete somewhat effectively, while conversely, the expert channel for level 21 and up allows players of significantly more experience to find an equal challenge with ease. The main influence of experience levels in this game is dictating your access to more powerful armor and weaponry; admittedly, there’s not much for beginners to choose from until they level up and collect bounty through the defeat of some opponents.

After some time playing, you’ll likely notice certain other players perform in-game acts that seem impossible even by Gunz standards. Due to a programming oversight, many players have discovered ways of performing feats far surpassing what the creators of the game originally intended. In game, it’s been made possible to essentially fly as high as the map allows, or cancel the delay between sword slashes to provide for rapid-fire slashing. Naturally, players by this point have developed these capabilities into a method of attaining nigh-invincibility against opponents not using it. This particular method of playing, affectionately dubbed ‘Korean-style’ by its users, has become increasingly prevalent within the game, insofar that the creators themselves have embraced the validity of its use. As this is the sort of deal that can sour the gameplay experience for beginners like bitter lemon, it might not be such a great thing. Yet, it also may add a new layer of depth and appeal for those who stay and learn this fashion; the entire scope is warped into a strange, obscure form of dervish combat that involves shooting and cutting. Learning how to play this way isn’t absolutely necessary in order to compete effectively, so you’ll have to decide if it’s really worth it or not.

Of course, there are other issues to be had with the Gunz. Like many other online multiplayer games, Gunz occasionally suffers from latency problems. The problem is exacerbated by the game’s inherent nature for quick-paced extended battles; frequently, you’ll find yourself aiming directly at your opponent, registering a hit on your screen, and still missing in actuality. It’s a common cause of frustration and aggravation for many players, which frequently leads to curses, accusations of hacking, and disturbing imagery. (People have a tendency to take a defeat in this game awfully personally.) Though, this would be less of a concern if you play a local version.

The best games you'll have usually come from those of appropriate challenge. Which aren’t always an easy thing to find, but when you do, you get a nice sense of exhilaration for it. Ultimately, you should be able to play one that was worth the hassle at least slightly more often then not. If you're willing to give it a try, it certainly helps to bring your friends along. Although, they'll probably be the ones to get you started in the first place. Also, it's highly recommended you turn the chat log display off, or ignore it most of the time. You shouldn't be talking to strangers anyway.

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

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