PAXEast Hands-On Preview – FireFall Multiplayer
In FireFall humanity hasn’t been having the best of luck recently. After a major conflict called The Crystite Wars the Earth was enveloped in a disaster known as The Melding, basically a giant cataclysmic storm. A very small portion of the Earth is still habitable, which has prompted the remainder of humanity to band together into small armies and fight over any bit of land that is still available.
The campaign of the game was revealed last September at PAX Prime in Seattle. In it players grouped up to do missions in a giant open world environment, sort of like you combined Borderlands with World of Wacraft. The focus of PAXEast, however, was on the game’s highly competitive multiplayer in which player controlled armies (FireFall’s equivalentof guilds) duke it out in a series of classic multiplayer modes with a new twist.Matches were done at PAXEast on a great 5 on 5 map set in South America (Brazil if I remember correctly) called Sunken Harbor. The map was very well sized and spaced for a good 10 person match. It was also pretty decently detailed; with a colorful landscape and a historic Spanish galleon in the center. I was very impressed.
The game is class based similar to Team Fortress 2 and the classes can be switched at your base anytime during the match by switching your battleframe (this determines your class and loadout). Each class has a customizable loadout and earnable upgrades and power moves. Three classes were showcased at PAX though there are going to be more in the final game. The first frameI played with was the Assault battleframe, which is usually my go to class in FPS multiplayer. Assault is essentially the tank of the group, having the highest amount of hit points and the strongest weapon, the plasma cannon, which fires balls of plasma which can do some serious damage and also cause splash damage. Their main ability is called Crater, when you are in the air you can activate this ability which will slam you down on the ground damaging opponents around you, it’s pretty funny to do. They also have a charge ability called Afterburner which launches you in the direction you are facing, good for getting around behind enemies. The final ability is called Overcharge which grants you extra damage for a little amount of time. All abilities are set to cooldowns similar to most MMORPGs which keeps things balanced, though some of the cooldowns seemed a little long compared to the usefulness of them.
The second frameI tried out was the Medic battleframe. This is pretty much the major support class of the game. The main weapon they have is the medic gun, which heals your teammates when you shoot them with it and can be supercharged with your first ability. They use an assault rifle as a backup, just like the Assault rig, but if you are using this weapon you probably aren’t doing your job. The second ability they get is a healing burst, which heals all nearby teammates, which can be mighty useful in a larger scale battle. The final ability for the Medic is defibrilate, while everyone can revive a downed teammate (when you run out of health you drop to the ground but won’t respawn until the enemy finishes you off), the Medic is the only one who can instantly revive however with that ability.
The final one I used was the newly announced Recon Battleframe, which is the sniper class of the game. Theirmain weapon is a sniper rifle… go figure. The rifle is remarkably accurate but you need to land some pretty good shots to drop a person in one shot. Needless to say I sucked at it, I can’t even snipe people in Call of Duty and that is pretty much one shot all around. Their second weapon looked to be a silenced assault rifle, which doesn’t do too much in multiplayer but could be useful in the campaign. As far as abilities the Recon frame seemed to have the most offensive powers. The first one was an exploding bullet called resonating bullet, which had the remarkable power to let me actually kill other players. The second is a cryo bullet which slows down the person you shoot and also drains them of their powers for a few seconds; which does have some support uses, but can still drop an enemy is done correctly. The last ability, and my personal favorite amongst the Recon, is a long range mine which can be shot across the entire map if needed. It can be pretty funny to shoot at people.
Bear in mind that these battleframes are fully customizable and the loadouts I used were selected by Red5 for the demonstration, so a ton more abilities and weapons will be usable in the final game.
All in all FireFall was one of the bigger surprises for me at PAXEast, I really enjoyed it and can’t wait for the final release, which should be released sometime later in the year.