Battleswarm Online Review- Crossover battle
By Kei Beneza (dividelife), OnRPG Journalist
When I first saw Battleswarm, I was weirded out by the overall concept. For those of you who don't know, Battleswarm is a new MMO that mixes the elements of FPS shooters and Real Time Strategy games, thus making an awesome hybrid of both genres (Real Time First Person Strategy Combat?). There isn't really a storyline to ponder on, but the game does have enough action to keep you playing for hours. The game revolves around 2 races, and both have their own distinct gameplay. What makes the game interesting is how they incorporated the face-off between the two genres. Battleswarm is still in its open beta stage, so I can't say how goodthe final product will be. Anyway, here's what we have so far.
Starting Up- Brains vs Brawn
You'll be prompted to take the game's tutorial course upon starting the game. These tutorials are separated into two categories: Humans (the FPS gameplay) and Bugs (RTS type). It would be wise to do these tutorials as they give rewards upon completion. It's really amazing how the game managed to blend two diverse genres into one stable system. The overall concept can be compared to the likes of Left 4 Dead, only with a swarm of bloodthirsty bugs controlled by 1-2 micromanaging players. Getting to know the game mechanics is one thing, but applying them in a real game is another. The FPS system is quite self-explanatory and doesn't require much thinking on the player's end. On the other hand, the Bugs' game play is quite complex and requires massive click and hotkey memorization for players to function well. The Bugs tutorial was quite poor in my opinion, as it fails in pinpointing the essentials and strategic methods used when playing as the Bugs. Worry not though, for you will be spending a while in the Rookie channel until you get the hang of it.
Building up a character
Relevance Check- Problems With The System
One problem I've perceived is the game's inaccessible settings. Simple actions such as adjusting your mouse sensitivity requires you to exit your current game to access the settings option. The same thing is done when changing resolutions as well as other mandatory settings, so always make sure to tweak your settings to avoid unnecessary quitting due to graphic failure.
The game also suffers from unresponsive controls, specifically on the Bugs'side. There were times when I needed to re-click my units just to be able to highlight them. Also, the Hive seems to have a small click box that hinders most players from highlighting the Bug-maker itself. Quite ironic as something as big as that (graphically speaking) sports a hitbox as small as the bugs it spawns.
Unlike some MMOs that use the create/join room system, Battleswarm works on a "laddered" pattern. This means that Rookies can only play in the Rookie zone but can team up with higher-level players as long as they stay in the lowbie rooms. This may be a good system for newbies, but greatly affects the player's learning curve or transition of skill. It would probably be wise to just let the player taste the real thing after the long arse tutorials, as grinding in these rooms is just not fun. Once you attain a higher rank/level, you'll receive a message indicating your passage to the next set of rooms. This is an irrelevant feature for most players, and could greatly affect the fun factor.
Different Missions? Why Bother?
There are plenty of missions or scenarios in the game, each with their own diverse setting and play style. There are swarm missions where you must destroy the human base when playing as the bugs, its game counterpart where you must play as the humans and destroy the hives, and other generic modes like wipeouts and the traditional point race. It's amazing that they managed to fit in a lot of game modes, but do know that not all these game modes give the same amount of exp upon completion. During my rookie stage, I kept doing the bug missions (preferably the part where you destroy the human reactor) since it gave more exp than the other modes. The other game modes were much more fun in my opinion, but why play other scenarios when you can progress faster with this easy bug mission? More methods of game play surface as you go further (which includes going head to head with another player). I know the main idea is for us to level up, but why do they have to make leveling slow for those who want to enjoy rather than grind?
You'll be able to purchase items that will help you optimize your character's performance as you progress further. Props to the developer as most of the equipment (armor sets) look different from the rest, indicating a small sense of individuality among players. You can also purchase weapons to help you overcome your enemies, as well as fit your desired play style. One thing to be noted is that players can level up in the game. The humans probably had it easy as they only need to pick between 3 distinct stats, unlike bug players who need to study their units in order to know which new unit to pick (literally brains vs brawn).
Brains vs Brawn
As far as visuals go, Battleswarm's graphics are no laughing matter. The graphic elements are crisp and properly rendered, allowing the game to project awesome looking weapons, detailed aliens and armor sets to satisfy the gamers of today. It's not the best around, but definitely something worth looking at.
Let's see... the game is basically a face-off between two genres. It still suffers from balance issues, but I guess we'll have to wait for the finished product. There are also some irrelevant actions sported by the game, such as the jump button. We're all aware that jumping is quite handy for FPS gamers, but not in this game. You can pass through obstacles and obstructions easily by simply walking over them (including boxes and higher ground). You also decrease your speed when you jump so why bother? If you think that's bad, you can even get stuck if you try jumping over something. The whole laddered concept may be good for some but will probably suck when you're the only rookie on the field. The game sports a unique form of game play. It still needs a couple of tweaks, but it's definitely something worth trying.
- It's RTS vs FPS!
- Good graphics
- Awesome armor sets
- Tons of modes
- Laddered channels?
- Irrelevant actions plague it
- Laddered channels?
- Still buggy for now (and I'm not talking about the other race)
- RTS tutorial needs an extreme makeover
- Balance issues.