After getting the pitch from Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade
at PAX Prime
, I was given the opportunity to sit down and experience a PvP bout first-hand. I'll share a little pet peeve of mine before we get into the meat of the hands-on, which is that I really don't like it when developers stand over your shoulders at demos barking instructions to you. I wasn't given much of an opportunity to do what I wanted to; instead, I was constantly responding to the dev's commands!
In any case, for a pre-pre-alpha build, I'm somewhat impressed that Eternal Crusade
was able to cobble together a very playable deathmatch with several classes and two vehicle types (Rhino and Predator). My first class was something of a lumbering tank, well-armed but a clunky jumper. I opted instead to get a jetpack as an assault trooper, willingly trading firepower for the awesome ability to do huge leaps and be able to clutch on to the side of a building and jump once more.
Under the instruction of my drill master, I hopped into a tank and learned how you can move around between the different weapons and positions. I wasn't deemed to be a great driver, so I contented myself manning a machine gun while another player in the room took us into the enemy base. The weapons had a nice kick to them and were pleasing to fire, although I did have to watch out for both overheating and running out of ammo.
As a ground-pounder I had a less successful career. Oh, I amused myself greatly and learned all about the cover mechanics, but if a heavy fighter came my way, I found myself on the bad side of an execution move: Yes, you can execute downed enemies in all manner of gruesome ways more befitting a slasher movie, but this is the Warhammer 40,000 universe, after all.
I came away from the demo thinking that Eternal Crusade
has a pretty solid foundation already as a PvP third-person shooter. It pays incredible attention to detail in honor of the WAR40K tradition, and more importantly, it's pretty satisfying and responsive in a fight. I don't see it being an incredibly deep game, but it could be homing in on the territory of a certain other space-themed online shooter. That may be all it needs to get a foothold for a shot at victory.
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