Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

Firefall preview: Something for everyone

There's a good chance that Firefall is going to be your absolute, undeniable jam. It's just one of those combinations of features and ideas that should apply to at least (but probably more than) one of your sensibilities: It has class-based shooting, customizable loadouts, loot, strategy, a persistent world, character creation and a focus on cooperative, Player vs. Environment gameplay.

Any of those tickle your fancy? They tickle mine. They tickle all of my fancies simultaneously.

Your soldier in Firefall falls firmly into one of four builds: The heavy weapon-wielding Assault, the sneaky and snipey Recon, the support-centric (but not totally defenseless) Medic, and the most recently playable class, the Engineer. I spent the most time with the latter, dropping deployable turrets and one-way shields around a friendly city as hordes of "The Chosen" assaulted three capture points in dynamic, terrifying waves.

Before those waves came, I had the opportunity to learn the rules of Firefall's road -- and also its sky, since every soldier on the game's ruined version of Earth is allotted one free jetpack. They're also allotted a Battleframe (the fancy backpack which determines your class and your set of primary skills) and a pair of weapons, each of which have Alt-Fire modes that can be swapped out at will using collectible modules.

My Engineer had an assault rifle with an Alt-Fire zoom mode, as well as a mechanical repair tool that I could use to heal and upgrade friendly turrets and shields, and fire a homing laser. The four classes are tooled to appeal to players with varying levels of twitchy expertise, with the Engineer's mindful placement of stationary gadgets and easy firing weapons designed for, well, folks like me.

After a few simple tutorials, I was sent out to gather Crystite, Firefall's ubiquitous resource used for both crafting and trading. To do so, I had to follow a UAV drone to an appropriate place to drop my Thumper, an automatic mining tool which immediately draws the ire of all nearby indigenous creatures. You can stop and cash out at any time, but the longer you can protect your Thumper, the more resources you can net. Of course, the longer you go, the stronger the enemies get, leading to a final boss fight as the miner reaches maximum capacity.

I almost royally bit it at the razor-sharp claws of the boss, only being saved by my turret and proclivity for flitting away from foes with my jetpack when things get heated.

And they often did. Shortly after my successful venture mining operation, a ship containing a massive swarm of the invading Chosen began to siege my poor city. I had a few moments to fortify a few of the clearly carved-out enemy paths with automatic sentries and force fields, then began scrambling to destroy drop pods before their pilots could assault three capture points around the map.

As new waves of pods began to launch, the mothership's shields dropped, allowing one of the city's many, many online defenders to jump into an anti-air gun, blasting away at its sizable HP bar. From this armament, I could also blow up drop pods before they hit the ground, preventing them from pestering my cohorts.

There's loot to be gathered from fallen foes (especially those of a beefier variety), as well as from completed missions. By holding off the attack until the ship runs out of pods, each player who participated in the dynamic event gained a random Battleframe for their efforts. Had we managed to take down the mothership, our rewards would have been even more glorious.

If it provides plenty of opportunities for these dynamic battles, as well as a robust Player vs. Player system, Firefall is going to be a killer. I certainly can't wait to spend more time with it, discovering the intricacies of the other player classes, satisfying my near-unslakable thirst for random loot drops and having my diverse suite of fancies endlessly tickled.

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr