This article was provided by our comic artist: Cody! NOTE: This review has been updated dramatically since originally posted.
What? Two games in one review? WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?
Before I jump into the review, I want to explain why I’m doing this, and why it seems odd that two very different games bare the same name. The initial game was created by two friends, Lee Vermeulen and Forest “LordHavoc” Hale; the game was based on Hale’s Darkplaces Engine, and was meant to be a multi-platform game, available to PC, Linux, and Mac users. In early 2005, the game would be released, free for download and play on the web, with nothing to be unlocked through any sort of micro-transaction system. The game continued to garner support and contributions from the community, releasing version 2.5 in October of 2009. In 2010, IllFonic announced that they would take up the flag to remake Nexuiz in CryEngine 3, and would be released on XBLA, PSN, and Steam, with help from Forest Hale. Lee Vermeulen would go on to work on Capsized.
So, how is the Classic Version different?
The classic is practically a different game, playing on various elements prevalent in other classic shooters. The jump mechanics are similar to that of Quake, save for the circle/strafe jumping. There’s a grappling hook that you’d see in Tribes Vengeance, and certain mods. For the most part, the game is essentially a real compliment to shooters past. The game centers mainly on being a purely multiplayer-based game, as well. No single-player campaign really exists beyond the training levels where you work with bots. There is no grandiose story to better define the world you’re running around in, leaving it to be simply a game you run around and shoot people in, and with character designs that are pretty random, with no real continuity to speak of. Where this might remove a lot depth in the overall universe that this takes place in, the game rarely takes itself seriously enough to warrant any real explanation beyond you take a gun, go into this arena-area, and shoot other people, who also have guns. It relies purely on its fun factor, the simplicity, the subtle complexities of its gameplay, and the idea that a person can just jump into it without thinking too much about the larger picture.
The game itself is varied as well, and there are still certain elements and features that give it more challenge than the usual point-and-click aiming. Mutators are prevalent, so you won’t always just enter a match, and start firing away. Certain Mutators like MinstaGib (You see what they did there?) and Low Gravity, can change the match significantly. Match types like Team Deathmatch and Capture The Flag show up again, along with a few new types like Race and Key Hunt. The newer modes aren’t exceptionally new, or innovative, they server their purpose and add to the over-all game.
As of the review, it’s only been released on XBLA, but should be released on Steam and PSN soon, and within that time span, there may be more added to the game. For right now, though, users with a 360 can jump right into the Multiplayer and run around in the trial version.
Now, what is this NEW Nexuiz all about? Well, the story here, is that two species, the Kassuvari and the Forsellians ( LOL “For-Sale-Ians”) have been engaged in a centuries-long intergalactic war that has been taking its toll on both races, and so a shaky peace treaty was created so that everyone could get back to their lives. Tension, however, was not unwarranted as both species still held much hatred for each other, so to stave off further warring, they created Nexuiz, a televised deathmatch that allowed for both races to put their latest and greatest warriors in arena’s, allowing both peoples to settle any underlying aggression.
What does that mean to you? Well, the game is pretty much based around 2 game modes: Team Deathmatch, and CTF. It contains 9 maps, and 3 character types amongst the two races you get to play, of which don’t have any variation in how you move, or how your shield and health are effected, just how you look. This is pretty much the sort of thing you’d expect in classic shooters, but the variety is VERY limited, and doesn’t give you much personalization like the original did. Now, you may be saying “Well, if there’s no real variety, then what’s the draw?”… Well, the variety is really in the Mutators that you can activate at will to affect gameplay and the level –effects. Such as adding jetpacks, low-gravity, switching out various sounds for poop-noises made by the dev-team, giving infinite ammo and invulnerability, and so on. This does indeed add variety, giving matches spice where they’d otherwise be redundant multiplayer games, yet I think the game could have really added some more interest if they’d capitalized on new ways to move around the levels, like taking from the Portal-craze to make things even more frantic and unpredictable. Also, for what little singleplayer there was in the Classic version, there is even less here, as rather than going through a tutorial campaign, you just get an option to practice with bots. I, myself, played a match with several bots set on ‘hard’, and found it to be something of medium-difficulty. Overall, the game feels nice, and the Multiplayer gave me more challenge, but it’s fairly average in that respect.
Now, I will say that I liked both games. Nexiuz Classic has variety and a good bit of content that makes feel like you’re average pre-modernized shooter, where as the latest Nexuiz uses a few of the classic-shooter tropes while giving it a modernized look and feel. That being said, I REALLY do feel that this game, like certain other items that I could point out, are a victim of updating the look while taking away from the gameplay and features of its predecessor, and feels like a dumbed down version of an otherwise great homage to shooters past. It’s fun, but it doesn’t bring anything new and falls short of any redefining qualities it could have had.
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