Combat Arms: Line of Sight First Impressions
TBD Overall Score
Powers offer a nice new dynamic to a very old genre, the graphics look great and the level design is well done
Base camping is all too prevalent, some of the more fun game modes weren’t available
Last week we tested the Closed Beta of Combat Arms: Line of Sight, the new MMO FPS from Black Spot Entertainment / Nexon Europe where you get to play as a mercenary that cannot only fire weapons but also use handful of superpowers. The lore and the story aren’t really that interesting or prevalent enough to concern ourselves with it, nor were the usual elements of character customisation that we typically focus on though, quite honestly, with an FPS we don’t really care about that.
Needless to say we didn’t exactly have our expectations raised all that high when we booted up the game for the first time. However, surprisingly the game actually looked and ran pretty well, a few launch teething problems where the servers went down about an hour after they’d launched for the beta, but the developers/publishers kept people up to speed on their Facebook page and pretty soon we were able to jump in and play.
With a truck load of cash to purchase weapons for the test we tried our hand at flushing out our gear, modelling our weapons and adding attachments and unlocking a few of the available spells. The system seems more complex than it is, lots of numbers and submenus and the lack of tutorials at first seemed daunting but just taking a breath, having a moment and it was all fairly simple to navigate.
So what was on offer? Well there are realistically five different game modes right now: One Man Army (Deathmatch), Eliminate (Team Deathmatch), Search and Destroy (Bomb Plant) and Conquest (Point Capture), though you do have the ability to alter the terms of each game such as the score you need to read each, what weapons are restricted, whether players can use powers, etc. Combined with this there were four different maps available, covering classic areas seen in other FPS games including “Snowy Cover-up”, a snowy Military outpost, “Savannah Flu”, which is your classic Middle Eastern themed map, “Rusty Cage”, a large warehouse filled with cargo containers and “Under Siege” where players fight across the deck of a battleship.
As far as the game modes go they were pretty simple, nothing we haven’t seen in every other FPS, and if the original Combat Arms is anything to go by then we’re likely to see a Capture the Flag, “Quarantine” (Zombie/Mutant survival) and perhaps a Co-op PVE mode. The maps were pretty well designed and looked great, Rusty Cage was the smallest of the available maps and was pretty intense, the network of cargo containers making a bit of a maze where players had to watch their backs. We played this mode as a standard game and then as a Sniper Rifle/Knife only game, which was interesting but got really annoying with the guy hosting the game pretty much sat in his base camping one of the two base exits, with him already in position it was pretty hard to remove him and no doubt he thought he was the **** getting all his lame camp kills. The other maps were a lot more spread out and so were met with a wide range of tactics and cooperative strategy, the levels have been really well designed and even the likes of Under Siege which is a pretty linear map gives a few corridors and upper platforms to utilise in battle to try and get advantage.
Combat is very fast-paced, most unmodified weapons seem able to kill players pretty quickly and unless you are an FPS pro where you rely on being able to one-shot kill the enemy before they one-shot kill you, they did seem overpowered being that once you were in danger it was usually already too late to get out of it. Some features were pretty annoying, and we’re not sure whether they were powers that were automatically turned on or in game settings, such as highlighting both your team and enemy team players in different colours really made combat too easy and lack any challenge. That said, the powers are an interesting element with abilities such as Blink where you can instantly teleport forward to dodge enemies, or fire off a clone of yourself with Decoy that will run straight ahead and distract your opponents. Then there are the more destructive abilities such as being able to cast fire, lightning and even summon comets against the enemy, pretty destructive abilities but given that there are weapons available to do the same amount of damage we feel it is often more beneficial to use one of the Scouting type powers such as being able to see the enemy on the map or even disguising yourself from the map altogether.
Other than the instant obliteration if you don’t get the first shot on your enemy, there were a number of other issues that we had with combat. First of all the lack of “bobbing” when aiming your weapon, instead been unnaturally still, felt like a throwback to Doom or Quake and not what we expect to see in a modern FPS and felt pretty unrealistic. The bigger annoyance is the ability to camp the opposing team’s spawn location, which really allows players to suppress the enemy and keep them beat down if players are at all tactical about it; it encourages spawn camping, which frankly isn’t fun if you’re on the opposing end.
Overall the game has a fair bit to offer, regardless of your politics on publishers and business models, the core of the game is fun and in our time playing it was extremely enjoyable, at times frustrating, but equally we had moments of fist pumping the air with celebration. In comparison to Combat Arms, CA:LoS looks spectacular and considerably more updated than its predecessor.