Warface Preview – The Good, The Bad and the Boring

Trion Worlds just can’t stop putting out games, it would appear. With their ever-developing MMO RIFT having an expansion coming up and their new End of Nations title still in development, you’d think that they’ve got enough going on. But no! It seems that they want to dip their fingers in the FPS pie, as their new free-to-play multiplayer FPS title, Warface, is already well on it’s way to release.

Whilst Trion Worlds are the publishers, we can’t forget the developers who happen to be Crytek Kiev, one of the home teams for Crytek. After the recent announcement that future Crytek games would be free-to-play models, we’re already getting a taster of just what those titles could be in the form of Warface.

I managed to get hands-on with Warface at Eurogamer Expo this year, and it’s the first public demo we’ve seen of the game here in the UK, and Trion and Crytek were eager to put on quite a show.

The Warface booth was huge, with a massive display of the artwork alongside more PCs and monitors than I cared to count. With this being the first time that some people had even heard of the game, they were hard-pressed to get the information out there whilst they could. I was amongst those who had little idea about it, having only read it’s name in news posts before.

I honestly didn’t know it was an FPS, or that it was free-to-play (Or anything at all, really. Other than the whole military theme, I guess) until I was in the queue to play it. I joined the queue out of curiousity more than anything else; I may or may not have wondered if there were free muffins or something at the end of the queue, unsure as I was as if it were a queue for a game or a queue for potential cakes. I was hungry, can you blame me for having cake on the brain?

Scrumptious cake aside, just what is Warface like? In a single word; Lacklustre.

What Crytek and Trion are promising is a AAA+ FPS that’s also free to play. What the demo delivered was a poorly built free to play FPS. I tried, but I couldn’t bring myself to like the clunky game that Crytek had dragged to Eurogamer to showcase. I can’t say I expected much of it, what with not having heard of it prior to this so it wasn’t like it had any expectations to live up to. The general experience was just rather boring.

Allow me to break down the pros and cons.

The gameplay is very generic FPS gameplay. Point at the enemies, click the button, watch them fall down. The FPS style is highly suited to fast, action-based gameplay with quickest-on-the-draw gunfights. Action should only slow down when teams get dug in.

Those are the things that Warface wants to be about. It’s not, which is the first problem. I’m not going to sit here and write that Warface  is outright bad, because I’ve only played the demo and the gameplay issues I had may only be part of the early development phase.

Regardless, this demo I did have to play felt quite shoddy, with a slow gameplay couple alongside clunky mechanics that made for a very awkward game experience. I should clarify that it wasn’t bad; it was just highly awkward to play as if the game was working against me slightly.

Also to be noted, the gameplay was -too- generic. Warface doesn’t strive to make itself feel unique nor does it do anything to really set itself apart from any of the other countless FPS titles out there.

I wouldn’t call this a major issue nor a flaw, but it still represents a problem; nothing here is special. There are plenty of free to play FPS titles available on the internet, so why should you invest your time in Warface over anything else? Especially when you consider the stiff competition in games like Team Fortress 2.

The demo just didn’t contain anything interesting at all. I was put in a team vs team battle, and I barely got that. The map was small and filled with corridors created from stacked storage containers, and could barely contain the twelve of us that were playing. Every time you turned a corner; you were guaranteed to run into another player just because of the lack of space.

Due to the actual design of the map, it was just a battle for who could stay highest with a sniper rifle (Our opponent’s definitely could), which made it very boring for our team. We were locked in a cycle of either sniping or being sniped. There was no point running forward and engaging the enemy in close quarters, because there’s some twerp with a sniper rifle waiting for you to do just that.

In all, Warface was just generally boring. I’m drawn back to my original description; lacklustre, because that’s what it is. For the demo, there was nothing that made me want to play it again. There wasn’t anything that made me think I should subscribe and download the game when it’s released. If I don’t enjoy the demo, will I enjoy the full title?

Am I being too nitpicky at this early stage? Or is this a sign of things to come? I can’t tell, but I can tell that Crytek and Trion failed to impress me with the Warface demo, and I’m going to need to see some serious improvement if I’m to play it ever again.