Arctic Combat – Closed Beta Impressions
By Michael Sagoe (Mikedot), OnRPG Journalist
New to Webzen’s upcoming titles for 2012 comes Arctic Combat (also known as Battle Territory: Battery), a multiplayer online first person shooter. Set in the not-to-distant future, U.S.A. and Russia are fighting for resources in what is shaping up to be the beginning of World War III.
My initial reaction to the game was: “Oh great, another modern war shooter… Yawn.” I was expecting this game to be nothing more than a complete Call of Duty: Modern Warfare clone…
I was in for a big surprise.
When logging in for the first time, the game doesn’t start players off with a tutorial, but there is one available. Closed beta testers were given a hefty amount of in-game points to screw around with, so I decided to hit up the item shop before heading in. There were only a handful of items to choose from, including cosmetic items for custom made soldiers, pre-made soldiers, weapons, and passive and active perks. For my load-out, I went with the M4A1 Assault Rifle and a Desert Eagle, along with a C4 timed bomb as my active skill. For my passive skill, I had a hard time deciding between ‘quick reload’ or ‘extra stamina’. I ultimately decided that faster reloads would be more beneficial in a bind.
Ready to rock and roll, the first map I played on was a training zone called Boot Camp. The game mode was Bot Battle against AI bots set on Easy. With no particular strategy in mind, I blindly rushed in, expecting to get a few rush kills while examining the layout of the map. It turns out that rushing in was a huge mistake.
In Arctic Combat: Soldiers aren't bullet sponges, so players can get picked off and killed easily if they’re not careful. Trying to run through the battlefield like Rambo is an easy way to get killed, and I had to learn this lesson the hard way. Once I finally started to get the hang of things, I was moving in and out of cover more frequently, checking around my corners and my back before moving.
Arctic Combat has a rather fast pacing like modern Call of Duty games, but at the same time, the feeling of having to watch your every step, I could say that it’s a mix between Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Counter-Strike.
As previously mentioned, the game has active and passive skills, which work exactly like the perks seen in COD:MW, but none of the skills here are completely abusive or overpowered like in recent MW games. Players at the moment can only carry one active skill, which is usually some kind of single use weapon, and one passive skill. Later on players will be able to earn or buy (hopefully earn) up to three more slots for passive skills.
One small feature that I found interesting was that Arctic Combat takes a nod from classic FPS conventions: Players when (initially) starting out will not have regenerating health. Players will have to pick up health packs (Yes, that’s right… Health packs! Remember these?!) These are dropped randomly from fallen players. This may seem pretty simple, but to me, this added a small layer of strategic thinking: "should I pick it up now or later? Should I use it as bait while I wait for enemy players to try and take it? Is there any players around that could use it instead of me?"
(There IS a skill/perk that gives players some regenerating health, but it only fills up 50% and it only happens randomly, so picking up health packs are still very important.)
For a game being called “Arctic” combat, I felt it was strange that there was only one arctic map to play on, but this map was my absolute favorite. On this map, players are able to request helicopter support, a quick and effective way to eliminate enemy players that are running out in the open. There was lots of different path ways and bunkers to take cover in case of air-strikes, and two machine gun nets to defend those bunkers with.
Enemy players were abusing the hell out of those chopper attacks. However, they weren’t too difficult to take down. While my teammates were distracting an enemy chopper from the front, I was able to shoot it down by emptying two of my magazines on it.
Overall, I was really taken by surprise with this one. Blending twitch action with tactical action is a very hard mixture, but I feel Webzen nailed it just right.
For more information on Arctic Combat, be sure to check out our Profile Page here at OnRPG. We’ll also be looking into livestreaming this game as soon as we work some kinks out on our end!