Hands On: Warface (Xbox 360)

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With the Titanfall beta now out of the way, I have finally had an opportunity to spend some time with Crytek’s up and coming, free to play shooter, Warface, and I can safely say that the project appears coming along rather nicely…

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Playing like a hybrid of Call of Duty and Battlefield, matches speed by at a blistering pace, with camping and combat tactics usually giving way to the far more enjoyable art of simply shooting one another in the face. The Battlefield comparison is derived from the class based system that the game employs, allowing gamers to choose from infantry, engineer, sniper and medic, with each having both unique skills and weaponry to contribute to the cause of global domination, and instilling the need for teamwork amongst the players. This is further enhanced by the inclusion of climbable sections of the maps themselves, some can be taken on solo, but others require two players to team up, assisting each other with the climb. This nice touch by Crytek, further enhancing both the team based game modes and the verticality of the maps.

Speaking of which, the maps are certainly well designed, small enough for close quarters combat but still full of alternate paths and different levels to allow snipers to assume vantage points and shortcuts to be found between objectives. To aid this, the slide manoeuvre from Crysis has been carried over, allowing players to slide underneath small gaps in fences and walls, though it also makes for a strong defensive move to avoid incoming gunfire, and naturally, it can also be employed as an offensive strategy, especially effective for the shotgun wielding engineers out there.

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If anything, the biggest disappointment of my Warface experience thus far (though it is only in its beta stage) is the visuals, they simply aren’t up to the standard that one would expect from Crytek and their magnificent, CryEngine. However, it must also be remembered that this is set to be a free to play title, and given the overall quality of every other aspect of the game, you simply cannot say fairer than that. There were quite severe issues with latency within the first few days of the beta, but these appear to have been ironed out, and the game is pretty much running perfectly now, and if this is any indication of how much attention that Crytek will pay to the game post-release, then gamers who embrace this excellent title, will surely have many months of quality gaming ahead of them.

The biggest surprise of all is that, despite the free to play mechanics, the economics of the title do not get in the way of the killing, new gamers will, of course, start off with fairly underpowered gear, but it does not render them helpless, and that could be the biggest weapon in Warface’s arsenal. It is easy to get into, and the lack of a punishing paywall ensures that it stays that way. There are boosters than can be purchased to help gamers speed their way up the ranks, but if you’re patient enough, even these are inherently superfluous, rendering any purchases as purely optional, and I certainly hope that it stays this way post-release.

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Crytek’s Warface is both inexpensive and simply great fun to play, potentially emerging as one of the best online shooters that I have had the experience of playing on the Xbox 360, along with such luminaries as Call Of Duty 4, Bad Company 2 and Mass Effect 3. The very fact that it is free, only manages to sweeten the deal even further, though disappointingly, there appears to be no confirmed release date for the finished game, but it is quite frankly a must have title for any Xbox 360 owner out there, it is, after all, entirely free, so you have no excuse for not giving this excellent FPS at least some of your time, right? Oh, and Crytek, please give me an Xbox One version too, thank you.

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