More games should be as direct with their titles as Warface is.
Like, you really do know what you’re getting with that one, don’t you? Imagine if they gave say, Dear Esther or Gone Home a similar title. Would they be called Sadface? Whatever. Warface (It’s hard not to screw your face up into a threatening gurn when the name is mentioned) is Crytek’s free-to-play military shooter.
It’s hard not to be wary when that little caveat is mentioned, because honestly, you can probably count the number of free-to-play games you’ve enjoyed and continued to play on one hand that’s been mangled in an unfortunate yet ultimately hilarious incident with a car door.
Warface is a military shooter set in a near future, thus giving one a convenient excuse to use mechs and have cool body armour (even though female characters body armour isn’t the most practical, because sourcing designs for your female characters from your userbase is a fantastic idea).
Warface – No Plot, Just WAR FACES
By focusing on a free-to-play multiplayer only game, Crytek don’t have to bother really fleshing out a plot. Anyone that played through any of the Crysis games will tell you that’s, er… probably for the best really. Because bloody hell. You don’t download a client for Warface. It’s all browser based, and you have to log in to Gface, Crytek’s new web based hub thing, which is already filling up with people blessed with a vast vocabulary of words beginning with f.
You log in and then play Warface from there. Most of the time it works too, even though it’s slow to boot up at the minute, though maybe that’s an early niggle that’ll be sorted. After creating your character and giving them a nickname you’re off.
So how is it? It’s… it’s a military shooter isn’t it? To be fair though, it stands out in some ways. There are mechs for one thing. It looks nice too obviously, as this is Crytek after all. It’s not quite as sparkly looking as the Crysis games – the first Crysis still looks better than lots of stuff released today – but Warface is pretty shiny looking itself considering it’s a browser-based, free-to-play shooter.
It scales up and down nicely too, so even people with PCs that would balk at the prospect of booting up Crysis 3 can have a pop during a bored lunch or something.
Warface – Another Generic Military FPS?
It’s a shame then, that all that lovely graphical know-how has arguably been wasted on the same old dusty warzones you’ve leapt about in constantly in Battlefield and Call of Duty for the last number of years.
Yes, it’s pretty clear why they’ve done it. Everyone likes war nowadays, even the children (god bless them, they’re the future), and sneaking a free to play multiplayer shooter out just before Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts are set to get everyone going gun-crazy again is a fairly shrewd business tactic.
At the same time though, there’ve been a few releases lately like Shadow Warrior that have hearkened back to the technicolour (mostly red) days of yore, so to come back to harrowing, war torn, dilapidated town is like coming back to rainy old Clacton after spending a few weeks on a nice sunny holiday. With decapitations.
Oh well. It’s a good thing then that Warface is fairly good to play, even if there are issues.
It’s fast-paced for a start. It’s not Quake 3 fast but you’ll rack up kills and get the hang of things fairly quickly. It’s a good timesink, and games don’t last too long ither, so you can fit in a few games before doing something else. It’s a generic bastardisation of Call of Duty and Battlefield with the on the fly weapon modification from Crysis.
Everyone’s on a level pegging too as of right now, so you won’t get murdered by a sniper from halfway across the map just yet. It’s actually quite fun and genuinely competitive with everyone being as lost as you.
Warface – Sliding And Ballet With Robbie Coltrane
The ace in the hole for Warface is the slide move, and everyone’s using it at the minute.
It adds a bit of sass to the game that competitors arguably don’t have, and running like an idiot headlong towards a person shooting at you before sliding beneath their shots and giving them a shotgun enema elicits much mirth.
Warface is maybe the slidiest first person shooter multiplayer since Goldeneye on the N64, when crouching would see every character magically slide around on their knees. It was like ballet with a block-faced Robbie Coltrane.
However, it seems inconsistent. Mostly the controls are fine, but occasionally things seem a bit of a faff. One example: the slide won’t work sometimes, even though you swear you’ve pressed the button and the sprint meter’s full.
This is the case with other parts of the game too, such as respawning. It’s lousy. You’ll die and respawn, only to be shot in the face scant seconds after, because the game’s decided to plonk you right in front of someone.
You’ll also wonder just how people are managing to shoot you through walls. Hmmm.
The game does have a bit of depth at least, once the medic and engineer classes are available (they’re both unlocked after you play for a while).
This is where the Battlefield influence comes in. You don’t have to murder people if you don’t want to. Instead, you can choose to put your kindface on and run around the battlefield like Florence Nightingale with a shotgun, healing your fallen comrades.
Warface – Pay-To-Win?
Game modes are the usual really, with free-for-all, team death match an co-op missions all present and correct. As far as business model and economy goes, a quote from Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace comes to mind; ‘If you act like a cheap bastard, expect the shittiest portion.’
Those who pay for XP boosters will get an obvious advantage and unlock weapons and add-ons quicker. Those that decide to take the long road might find things a bit of a grind.
It’s fair enough, Crytek need to make their money back somehow on Warface (the Crysis games only broke even allegedly), but even so. There are enough grindy games vying for your attention.
What makes Warface special? Well, nothing much really. The fact is, for all their graphical chutzpah and bluster, the last time Crytek made an essential game was Crysis, and even that can be argued by some, who deem it a glorified tech demo.
Warface hasn’t changed that trend.
Warface is mostly pretty good, and even compulsive at times when you get a good streak going, but honestly, it’s hard to imagine it being a going concern in the same way the big-boy shooters are.
There are better free-to-play options such as Team Fortress 2, a game that arguably set the bar for the model. There’s also Tribes: Ascend, which also has sliding but with added rocket skates and lasers.
The intent to make a triple-A quality, good-looking free-to-play game with Warface is palpable, but honestly, it’s hard to see how it’ll make a dent once Battlefield and Call of Duty come out.
Warface is just a bit bland really. It’s perfectly competent, and there are neat ideas, and who knows, maybe the game will grow into something magical. But as of right now, it seems like a mild distraction before the fully paid up heavy hitters come out.
Version Tested: PC