M.A.T Online Preview: Oh look, another CS 1.6 clone... or is it?
By Michael Sagoe (mikedot), OnRPG Journalist
Suba Games is bringing a new free-to-play FPS title to its line-up, and while it looks like your typical war based shooter, it manages to bring a few things that you would never expect in an FPS title at all. The game is called "Mission Against Terror" (M.A.T Online). I took the time to try this game out during its closed beta phase to see if this new game had anything going for it.
From the character select screen, there wasn't much to choose from, for starters. Just one default male and female solider was available. There was also an option to select the country and state you reside in, which I assume is for the game's social aspect (more on that later.)
After I picked my male soldier, training started right away. Right from there, just looking at the training environment and HUD, the game seemed way too similar to Counter-Strike 1.6, and it became more apparent as the training continued. Movement, weapon firing and everything else felt just like playing Counter Strike.
After completing the training session, I was dumped into the channel 1 room list lobby. The amount of rooms open was low, but what was available was either for team deathmatch, bombing runs, mummy mode and a chatting lobby. I already had an idea of what bombing run and mummy mode was going to be like, and I didn't feel like chatting it up with random strangers at that moment, so team deathmatch was my pick.
At the start of the match, there were five default weapons to choose from such as an MP5 sub-machine gun and a G36 assault rifle. Seeing as I'm a guy that likes to get up close and personal with enemies, I went with the M3 shotgun. My time spent playing team deathmatch in M.A.T was pretty straight forward: kill the enemy team before they kill you and your team, and the firefights that went down felt like your typical war shooter fare. I and my teammates were pretty much killing enemies without any real strategy, but it was to be expected.
Been there, done that.
The accuracy of the weapons was off by a mile. Every automatic firearm I used was only useable in burst fire, which makes sense and all, but the recoil and spread when going full-auto was incredibly unreal.
I also noticed that the game's respawn system was messed up, too. Players only seem to get 2 seconds of invincibility when they respawn back at their home base after they're killed, so exploiting this for spawn camping and cheap kills was easy as pie.
After playing a couple of rounds, I felt that I was ready to write this game off, but I did manage to notice something interesting during my battles: Players in M.A.T Online can apparently dance during battles. Why? Because dancing in battle lets you slowly recover your HP. While is seems incredibly out of place, I thought it was an amusing little feature.
Dance the pain away, solider.
After my battles, I took a peek into the item shop. There wasn't much in there, but what was there was a handful of different weapons and services you could buy. There were also different outfits available to buy that will change the look of your character's head, top and bottoms. Most of the outfits available were casual outfits rather than combat gear, so most players that bought the outfits could fight terrorism while looking good at the same time.
One of the other game modes that I took a look at was the chatting lobby. I suppose this is where the whole country and state location thing comes in for the social aspect of the game. Entering a chatting lobby dumps you into a place called "Club Suba" which is some kind of night club for players to meet, greet and dance around like idiots. Around the night club, you'll find a bar area, a stage with a piano on it and a nice looking pool table. It would have been nice if I could have made use of these areas, but unfortunately, they were just for show.
Nice pool table. Too bad no one can use it.
One huge area in the chatting lobby that wasn't for show was the huge boxing mat in center of the club. The boxing mat area lets two players fight it out with their fists in first person. You don't get any prizes or anything like that for fighting in the ring, so it's pretty much for bragging rights.
Settle your disputes in the ring.
I decided to have a go at it with a random stranger in the bar area. The controls for fighting in the ring were a no brainer: Left mouse clicking throws quick left punches and right clicking throws a slow but powerful right hook. Although the controls were simple, landing punches on your opponent was a real pain. I lost pretty epically to my opponent by a huge landslide (the guy keep hitting me below the belt, though!)
Now it seems like chatting bar is supposed to be one of the draws for M.A.T, but seriously: Who the heck would play an FPS title to socialize? Maybe if they added a few things such as making the bar more interactive, it could be nice. But at the moment, it seems so pointless.
The sights and sounds of M.A.T were all fairly generic to me in more ways than one. The maps that were available to battle on only gave me a choice between generic deserted city and generic deserted neighborhood district, not to mention that the design and layout of the maps looked like something that could have been made as a custom map for CS 1.6. All the guns in the game sounded appropriately like guns (just barely, though,) and the grunt noises that players made whenever they took a hit was simple and annoying to listen to after a while.
So that's my view on M.A.T Online at the moment.. To be perfectly honest, the game seems to be nothing more than a shameless CS clone trying to bank on Valve's success. However, some of the features such as the chatting lobby and dancing mechanic thrown in will at least give the game some difference from its competition. Also to be perfectly honest, I'm curious for what Suba Games plans to do with M.A.T in the future to see if it will grow into something other than CS 1.6 ripoff #20345348