Online shooters are a dime a dozen these days. Heck, so are MMOs. I can't get up from my computer chair for five minutes without missing some sort of PR blast about the latest, greatest gift to gamingkind.
It's easy to lose track of all these titles, and it's even easier when some of said titles are fairly niche to begin with. In this week's edition of The Firing Line
, I'm going to figure out something to write about until I get into the PlanetSide 2
beta. Er, I mean, I'm going to do a little detective work in an attempt to figure out what happened to a few of the MMO shooters that have dropped off my radar.
How does a twitch-based EVE Online
grab you? It sounded pretty cool to me too, at least back in 2010 when there was still some talk about this Brazilian import floating around the intarwebs. While I've long been a fan of EVE's
market gameplay and general sandboxiness, the combat puts me to sleep in that auto-attack way that only MMORPGs are (in)famous for.
There's more to EVE's
combat than orbiting and shooting, of course, and I'm not knocking the knowledge and preparation that goes into a successful fleet engagement. The actual starship on starship violence is quite boring, though, and Taikodom
looked to remedy that by marrying twitchy flight action with something called a "living universe
released the game to South American audiences in 2008, and GamersFirst
snapped up the North American rights and presumably has been working on various localization tasks in the interim. We heard some beta rumors late in 2010
, but since then, Taikodom
development seems to have stalled. GamersFirst does allow you to sign up for the beta, but it appears to do nothing more than put your name on a mailing list at this point.
The general gaming blogosphere finally took note of Tribes Universe's
hiatus a couple of weeks ago as websites far and wide reported on Hi-Rez's
decision to shelve the MMOFPS in favor of the smaller-scale Tribes: Ascend
Regular readers of The Firing Line knew this a long time ago, though, as I visited the Hi-Rez
campus in early November
and asked COO Todd Harris
about that very thing. Honestly, the more I think about the postponing of Tribes Universe
, the more I think it's probably best for the franchise. Ascend's
closed beta has been pretty well-received by both veterans and rookies alike, and frankly there is no shortage of sprawling MMOFPS titles coming out in the next year or so.
Even with the venerable Tribes
IP as its secret weapon, I'm not sure Universe
could compete with the likes of PlanetSide 2
. If Ascend
is successful, I'd love to see Hi-Rez expand the concept into a larger open-world game, but right now there's only so much time in the day, and games like Firefall
and DUST 514
will also be competing for the affections of sci-fi shooter fans who like a little sandbox with their gunplay.
Genesis A.D., er, I mean Repulse
shut down the Genesis A.D.
game servers after the open beta period ended last spring, and that was seemingly that for the next few months. Aeria Games
eventually acquired the title toward the end of 2011, and the firm subsequently changed the name to Repulse
, released a cinematic trailer
, and set about reintroducing the free-to-play sci-fi shooter to the masses.
also acquired Ijji
itself recently, and if you have questions about Repulse
(like, say, how does it get away with using Halo's
armor designs?), you can probably find at least a few of the answers at the game's official website. At the very least, you can sign up and download
the beta client to check the game out for yourself.
Face of Mankind
This was kind of a late entry to this week's column, and I briefly debated including it since Nexeon
refers to Face of Mankind
as an MMORPG and not necessarily a shooter. The combat mechanics are shooter-like, though, and frankly I can't pass up the opportunity to mention one of the few MMOs that places a premium on actual dynamic content (I say actual
both in reference to FoM's
player-generated content and what passes for "dynamic" content in RIFT
and its ilk).
has a long and checkered history, but it's survived a couple of rough patches and continues to draw a niche crowd of gamers who are attracted to its unique blend of player politics, factional gameplay, and sandbox content.
Face of Mankind
is also receiving regular content updates, with the latest featuring a new finite resource system
and a new civilian faction.
This may seem like the odd man out in terms of the games I'm mentioning this week, and in many ways I suppose it is. It's not sci-fi, for one thing. It's ancient, for another (2001 might as well be 1901 when it comes to PC gaming).
The game formerly known as World War II Online
is still alive and kicking, though, and that's no small feat for a niche title that takes great pains in being as close as we're ever likely to get to an actual computer combat sim. Not only that, but it's very nearly three games in one. There's the footsoldier component, the tank driver component, and the aviation component, any one of which offers a depth of gameplay not often found in the shooter space (or the MMORPG space, for that matter).
also receives fairly regular updates, the latest of which added American forces to the game. Cornered Rat Software
is also brewing up a feature called Rapid Assault
, which will enable players to log in to a quick slice of WWII action if they lack the time for an extended play session in the persistent world portion of the game.
And that's all I've got for you this week. If you're in between online shooters, or you've never tried Repulse
, Face of Mankind
, or Battleground: Europe
, give one or all of 'em a quick look. At the very least you may find something interesting to tide you over until your PS2
beta invite gets here, amirite?
The Firing Line's Jef Reahard has a twitchy trigger finger, a love of online shooters, and an uncanny resemblance to Malcolm Reynolds. OK, maybe not, but at least if he ever kills you, you'll be awake, you'll be facing him, and you'll be armed.