Renaissance Heroes CBT Impressions – Old School FPS with a New Groove
By Michael Sagoe (Mikedot), OnRPG Journalist
In a sea of modern war shooters, old fashion arena style FPS games have taken a backseat in both popularity and general appeal, but ChangYou’s latest title is set to bring back classic FPS action while mixing the old in with the new.
Renaissance Heroes is a multiplayer online first person shooter developed by Bridea, which is set in a fictional 16th century Renaissance where warriors, scientists, thieves and other combatants are on the hunt for the blueprints of the Da Vinci Machine.
Fun fact: Bridea is the same development group behind the now indefinitely suspended Huxley, a previously planned futuristic MMOFPS. It’s a bit disappointing that they decided to scrap their first original game in favor of something less ambitious, but hey: at least this game isn’t stuck in development hell like Huxley was.
Closed beta for Renaissance Heroes began recently with their servers now available 24/7 (was previously available from 4 to 6 PM PST only). With my schedule all over the place, now was the perfect time to jump in.
Upon logging in for the first time: There didn’t seem to be any kind of tutorial for players to get their feet wet. The only way for new players to learn how to play was to either play against bots in AI mode, or join a live match at random. Fortunately for me, I had plenty of experience with these kinds of shooters, so I was more than ready.
Renaissance Heroes features four different characters to choose from, each with their own special attributes, such as Rossi, an apprentice of Leonardo Da Vinci who has an increased damage buff for rifles and increased max ammo perk, or Aisha, a gypsy assassin with increased crossbow damage and increased max HP.
Game modes available in the Renaissance Heroes CBT had a variety of options, such as deathmatch, duels, hyper speed mode, single weapon only, etc. I was hoping to get a few good deathmatch rounds going, but the only rooms I could find were either team deathmatches and bot battles, so I tried starting my own deathmatch room, but no one would join.
Team deathmatch it is, then.
The first couple of matches I played were set in a public fountain and bath called Haman, a very small map built for instant close quarters combat.
Those first matches with Rossi were a complete and total steamroll, mostly because my mad skills carried the team, and I schooled my opponent oh-so badly. Just how badly did I school those players?
Well let’s just say I sat these kids down, I forced them to pay for their text books AND I overcharged on their tuition!
I know I shouldn’t be bragging, but in all seriousness, I was completely on fire just nailing headshot after headshot and kill after kill, and it was more or less the same afterwards when I switched over to playing as Aisha.
Later on, my string of victories started to run out as I was paired up against more experienced opponents. These players were bunny hopping, circle strafing like mad all over the place. They knew the importance of leading your shots, keeping your momentum going, juking crosshairs and controlling the power ups on the map. They really gave me a run for my money.
The weapons you’d find in Renaissance Heroes aren’t the kind you would actually find in the 16th century, so if you were expecting pistols that would take 2 minutes to reload, you’ll be disappointed. Here, you’ll find a semi-traditional arena FPS loadout: Rifles, Crossbows, Cannonball Launchers and Battle Hammers. The amount of weapon types available seems to be lacking, but each weapon has different stats and firing styles, such as the Vulcan Rifle that fires like a machine gun, and another rifle called the Zephyr that fires burst shots.
Crossbows are very much like rail guns found in Quake 3 Arena. Killing enemies with a crossbow shot from long distances is very tough, but satisfying when pulled off. Combine crossbows with a damage upgrade while playing as the gypsy assassin and you’ll be able to one-shot anyone that doesn’t have extra HP or armor on hand. Melee weapons are also quick and easy death dealers with attack swings that have huge hitboxes, give players double movement speed, and to top it off: You can also lob grenades with it. The last weapon type available is the cannonball launcher that can only be picked up as a power up on certain maps. They work much like rocket launchers with huge splash damage and can 1-HIT KO any opponent on a direct hit. The default cannon launcher only gives players three shots, so players will have to make each shot count.
The weapons in Renaissance Heroes (especially the crossbow and the hammer) may seem a bit overpowered, but once players start to get a grip on the game’s potential pacing, it won’t seem like it. Besides: it just wouldn’t feel like a classic FPS shooter without those insta-kill weapons.
While the game sticks its roots in classic FPS gameplay, it also had several features found in modern FPS games such as leveling up to unlock new weapons and items, weapon upgrade systems, achievement systems and more.
Overall, I’d have to say that I enjoyed Renaissance Heroes mostly due to the fact that I haven’t played a twitch-based shooter of this fashion in quite some time, so this was a refreshing change of pace for me. The gameplay is top notch and stays true to classic FPS gameplay, but I’m not quite sure it’s going to be enough to keep players interested in the long run, since it doesn’t have any other mechanics that differentiates itself from other similar titles. Time will tell if things change and improve, of course.
We still have plenty of CBT keys left, so be sure to grab one before its too late!