Saturday, August 3, 2013

Firefall Review #1: When humanity is reduced to living in a small area for the sake of an MMORPG

What do you get when you combine Warframe, Borderlands and a little bit of Planetside together? A little game called Firefall.


not firefly


It's funny how I ended up playing this game though. I've finally gotten bored with all the lonely bad guy smashing in single player games and was looking for some MMOs where you can interact with people and it so happened that my friend Xian You chanced upon this game. I've been playing it for about 3 days now, not full days mind you, only after work, and while the game is not perfect, I do find some parts of it interesting and enjoyable to play.


and here's some ass to keep you interested


Set in the future, Firefall is a mixture between a RPG and shooting game (you can switch between first and third) person view set in the distant future. It has a very interesting story of how the entire conflict started, but to put it very simply, aliens invaded Earth because we explored the space for a certain power source and the conflict ended up in almost all the world being covered in an impenetrable forcefield, leaving only a tiny swath of land inhabitable, and that's where you're spending most of your time at. 

Similar to Warframe, the game is frame-centric, meaning that your character progression is more focused on the frames (or armours) you use, and each frame comes with its own set of skills and abilities. There are different frames for you to use such as Assault, Engineer, Biotech (healer), Sniper and Dreadnought (tank), and you can switch between the frames when in game, provided that you visit a console to do it. 


the basic frames that you start off in game


There's no level progression in the traditional sense per say, while you gain xp from killing enemies, those xp are used instead to unlock your frame capabilities and to upgrade its specs. More powerful items for example, needs a stronger frame to be able to use it, so before you're able to use that rare gun that you found, you must be sure that your frame is leveled enough to wield it.


the screen where you upgrade your character


Each frame's progression is separate, meaning that you can level up your Assault frame like crazy, but your other frames will remain painfully weak. It's a choice of how much you want to specialize versus how much you want a diversified gameplay, but I'm alternating between two frames because I cannot figure out which one I like most.

Of course, the frames are just the tip of the iceberg for the game. Once you've settled down with your frame, it's time to jump into action. Like I said, the game's story focuses on alien invasion, so most of the time you'll be battling aliens across the map.

One thing that I like about this game is how the quests are dynamic. As most of your gameplay takes place in the last swatch of humanity, there's real time events of alien invasion where you need to go to that place to fight off the invasion force. There's tons of different events like this, even a random tornado sometimes that you must go to fight it off, which makes the game not so linear as compared to traditional MMORPGs where you progress from one area to another and the monsters are level sorted.


of course if you don't do anything the whole map will turn red


Another nifty feature about this is how the game encourages team play even among strangers. Because the quests are dynamic, anyone who is in the area where an event is happening, say for example a strike team taking over your sides watchtower will receive a quest update from the quest giver and as long as you take part in it, you'll gain both xp and items from the event, so no worries about people ks-ing.

However, I do not know how the rewards are allocated during the event, but it seems to me that it is loosely based on your kills and damage output, which sucks if you're playing a support class and your skills are not focused on dispensing damage but rather taking them.


the tornado event, and yes, that's my ass


Nevertheless, it's a fun and interesting game that indirectly encourages interaction and so far I'm liking the game's feel and mechanics. Of course, this is just based on the first few hours of gameplay. I'm still exploring the game and perhaps you'll see another blog post from me in the future on why I hate it.

But for now, it's worth trying. I heard that there's PVP features too, but for now I'm focusing on PVE to level up my frames before jumping in and attempting to square off with other players.


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