Piercing Blow Review
4.5 Overall Score
Plenty of maps giving more diverse gameplay, retro/classic mechanics and gameplay (if you like that kind of thing)
Botters, unappreciated installation of HackShield (which doesn’t work), bad graphics and old mechanics
This week we played Piercing Blow, published by Zepetto, a free to play MMOFPS with a classic/retro feeling to it that includes traditional features, some customization elements and numerous maps and game modes. We spent quite a few hours to take a more in depth look and try out some of the features in more detail and then form our opinion.
Well we got off to a bad start because as soon as we booted the game up it flashed up a HackShield popup that the let us know that, without telling us during installation, that HackShield had been installed on our computer. HackShield is pretty much a useless piece of software bundled into a lot of Asian MMOs that monitors players with spyware to try and stop them using hacks in their games.. only the games with HackShield usually still have an absolute ton of hackers and botters. To add insult to injury it’s pretty difficult to uninstall, with no options on the programme itself, nothing in your Control Panel and buried deep in your system files. Poor form.
Once we were in the game it’s fair to say that it looks about as current as Counter Strike, and that’s the original Counter Strike released in 1999, bad graphics, low textures; generally it’s the same kind of Asian MMOFPS quality we’ve come to expect so at least there were no surprises. Whilst many developers try to push this as a “nostalgia” kick and being retro, we honestly just think that the source material are so easily accessed and performance demands are so low that they just churn these games out because they’re simple to make and not as any homage to the glory days of MMOFPS gaming.
When in the game we ran through the tutorial which gives you the basics of movement, firing your weapon, interacting with the environment; if you’ve played an MMOFPS in the last 15 years then it’s the most basic of features and honestly doesn’t require a tutorial. Checking out the game we loaded up into the public lobby where there was a long list of active games in, showing how many players were in them and what game mode they were playing. The game has five available game modes, four of which are pretty much staples of MMOFPS’s; Team Deathmatch, Deathmatch, Bomb Plant (one team plants a bomb and the other tries to defuse) and Search & Destroy (both teams trying to reach a target whilst protecting their own generator from being destroyed). The solo and Team Deathmatch were the most popular modes, usually filled with players, we couldn’t be sat in the lobby for more than 30 seconds before we had a stream of invites harassing us to join games (it was so annoying we went into the game features to turn invites off).
The one game that never appeared on our list was the “Escape” game, so we ended up hosting our own game for it and went 1 on 1 with another player… this was not a good idea. In Escape one “team” (or in this case player) starts as a Human trying to reach the other side of the map whilst the other “team” are Dinosaurs trying to stop them. In this case I was the dinosaur, who could only use melee, in a huge open map against someone with a ranged weapon… five deaths later and I ended up quitting due to the pointlessness of it all. The game mode could be pretty fast and fun, more so if the humans were outnumbered, but no one seems to want to play it.
Combat is pretty much as you would expect, intense and short lived as often as not; one of the big issues for us is that there’s no matchmaking at all so we were bundled in with high levelled players, which in and of itself isn’t that big an issue, but their gear is. As players level up they gain access to new items, “Parts” that they can equip that give them boosts to stats and defences, things such as “head shot defences” means that the higher you get the better your gear and yet you are still playing against players stepping into the game for the first time. You either need to be patient or be willing to put down cash to get some good gear.
For the most part the combat wasn’t too bad and was relatively mindless fun, the only sour point was the seemingly overabundant use of aimbots; whilst we concede we’re not the best and some people are pretty amazing at these games, one of the most obvious signs of this was from a guy on our own team. During a Bomb Plant game as the defenders all but this one “person” had been killed and only one person left on the enemy team trying to play a bomb. Everyone else was in spectator mode watching the action, and by action it meant our defender running back and forth between two random points, occasionally shooting a single bullet in the rough direction of the enemy (even though there were walls between them) and hitting reload, weapon switch, switch back weapon, shoot, move… in a constant loop presumably waiting for something to happen, in this case a bomb being planted. The “player” ran to the point, got next to the bomb, shot at the wall and boxes for a little while for no reason, stood around for 10 seconds whilst the bomb ticked down and then only started defusing when they had a few seconds left… big badda boom. Good job HackShield.
The major saving grace about the game is the sheer number of available maps; 47 in total, which does keep things much more varied and interesting given the limited game modes. However, most modes only have access to certain maps, so with some of the modes being pretty unpopular it does limit the maps you get to play on. All in all it wasn’t the worst experience we’ve ever had and it was a pretty generic Asian MMOFPS, it delivered just exactly what we expected (but far from what we’d want). As a “retro” MMOFPS then fair enough, it ticks the boxes, but put it in the “F2P MMOPS” category and it floats somewhere around the bottom with the other rehashed, reskinned games.