Arctic Combat – Full Review
By Michael Sagoe (mikedot), OnRPG Journalist
With FPS titles running very rampant in the F2P market, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to find a unique one that stands out from the rest. Many of these titles claim to be unique in one form or fashion, but ultimately end up feeling like nothing more than a rehash of titles that inspired them.
Take Artic Combat (AC) by Webzen for example. On the outside: It looks a lot like a Call of Duty: Modern Warfare clone with some slight tweaks, but on the inside:
…It’s a Call of Duty: Modern Warfare clone with some slight tweaks. AC feels and plays like CoD: MW and it certainly does not try to hide it.
Previously: I got to try AC out during some early closed beta impressions, and I was surprised by how much the game kept a pacing similar to CoD: Modern Warfare games while keeping the tactical tension of Counter-Strike, but with my extended time playing in the Open Beta, the tactical tension started to wear thin, and AC revealed itself to be nothing more than another imitator, rather than an innovator.
Customization in AC is on a basic level: You have the option to change the uniform and accessories that your solider wears, along with having special character skins that give players a small boost in earning in-game points and level EXP. There are several different passive and active skills that players can bring along into battle. In CoD: Modern Warfare games, these would be known as ‘perks’ and ‘kill-streaks”, and while a vast amount these skills have been built up in the MW series over the years, there isn’t many to choose from in AC: There’s grenade detection, faster C4 planting/defusing, quick reloading, increased maximum HP and semi-regenerating HP (this one is permanently given to all players for free.)
In terms of active skills, there was only one at my time of review: An RPG-7 rocket launcher that becomes available after getting five-kills in a row. While they plan to add more passive and active in the future, the amount available at the moment is just poor overall, which will certainly not help with allowing players to change up strategies on fly.
Other than that, No other form of customization exists in AC. You can’t tweak your firearms with any sort of tactical gear, so there’s no way to create a unique weapon to call your own.
The control scheme for Arctic Combat is set up just like any other FPS title out there: WASD keys for movement, left mouse button to shoot, right mouse button for iron sight aim, etc. The controls are responsive, but the different kind of firearms among weapon types (Rifle and Sub-Machine Gun) lacked any distinct feel between them when fired, despite their stats showing different firing and stability rates. The only weapons that felt different amongst each other were the sniper rifles that had VERY noticeable re-coil differences.
The gameplay takes several nods from the CoD: Modern Warfare games in terms of pacing: Soldiers aren't bullet sponges, so players can get picked off and killed easily if they’re not careful. At the same time, however, play too cautiously and you may end up getting pinned down near your base by aggressive enemies. Here, you need to find a balance and constantly switch off from tactical to run & gun, and by ‘tactical’, I mean very basic camping. While working with your team is recommended, it’s very possible to be a lone wolf and mow down a whole squad of enemies. Not much thought is needed in considering where your enemies may attack you from, since map sizes are all moderately small, making most fire-fights very predictable.
Also similar to the MW games: Enemies will randomly drop pick-up items including health packs, UAV support, Chopper support and Airstrikes, with health packs being the most interesting, giving players a bit of strategy in either picking them up to recover health, or using them as bait to lure out enemy players (or at least that’s how I used them.) UAV support and Chopper aren’t as special since they’ve also been napped straight from MW: UAV Support allows players to see enemies on the mini-map for a short amount of time, and Chopper support summons a helicopter that will fire missiles at any enemies that it flies across. If an enemy chopper is in the area, players can shoot it down, but it’s not as exciting as it looks or sounds once you’ve taken it down for the 20th time (all by yourself, even).
With several different types of game modes to choose from, including old stand outs like Team Deathmatch and Bomb Defuse, players will find one that they’ll be most comfortable with, but there’s nothing here that’s unique and original.
There’s honestly not much else I can say about the action found in Arctic Combat, because the gameplay here has been done plenty in other military shooting games before it. You run, you gun, you kill, you die, you respawn. Rinse and repeat.
Visuals & Presentation
Arctic Combat uses the Unreal 2.5 Engine, and while it will undoubtedly run well on many aging PC setups, the texture quality is very moderate and bland, even with the visual options set to maximum. Gun fire and reload animations seem natural enough and the sound effects for gun fire also sound appropriately close to their real-life counterparts. The voice-over work they’ve done for AC (including radio chatter) sounds hilariously overdone. The American Soldiers literally sound like newly enlisted college frat kids that just got back from a drinking party. They all speak with an exaggerated tone to make battles (seem) intense. There’s also Russian voice work done for the game, and I can only assume it’s been given the same treatment.
AC features all the basic community features that gamers have come to expect from an online multiplayer game, including friend lists, private messages and clan support. The player base is filled with your expected bunch of friendly, not so friendly, quiet and obnoxious gamers. Once again: nothing out of the ordinary.
To put things very bluntly: Arctic Combat is about as average as a F2P shooting game can be. It’s not particularly bad in many regards. It’s just that everything about the game has been done in shooters before it and has been done better. It’s certainly not bad to pick up for a quick fix, but there’s much better alternatives out there.
Customization – 2
Controls – 3
Gameplay – 3
Visuals & Presentation – 3
Community – 3