Pros: Graphics are nice and the superpowers add a great twist to FPS games.
Cons: At this point, some game modes weren't available. Base camping...
A few days ago, we were allowed to participate in the closed beta testing of the latest first-person shooter MMO from Nexon Europe/ Black Spot Entertainment: Combat Arms: Line of Sight where players assume the role of mercs not only capable of firing their weapons but also of using several supernatural powers. Given the genre, the game’s story and lore aren’t that compelling or important to draw our attention and the common options for customising your character either; and although we’re usually focusing on it nonetheless with our reviews, in the case of a first-person shooter, we’re really not that much interested in that.
Useless to mention that our expectations weren’t that high when we first started the game, so we were pretty surprised by the fact that it indeed ran pretty well and look great after the initial launch issues with server going down shortly after being launched for the CBT were solved. We were kept up to date by the devs/ publishers via the game’s Facebook page and able to enter the game and start playing quite soon.
Being provided with a huge amount of cash to pay for weapons during the trial, we tried to improve our equipment and unlocked some of the available spells while also modifying our weapons with mods and attachments. At first sight, the system seemed rather complex with all the submenus, the amount of numbers and the lacking tutorial; however, after taking a breath and a moment to consider the options, we felt it was pretty easy to navigate.
So let’s have a look at what the game has to offer. Realistically, there are 5 different game modes available at the moment Conquest (Point Capture), Search & Destroy (Bomb Plant), Eliminate (Team Deathmatch) and One Man Army (Deathmatch); however, it’s possible to modify the settings of each match, e.g. the required score to win, whether the use of superpowers is allowed or restricted, what weapons are excluded, and so on. The selection of game modes is added with 4 different maps available for play, which cover traditional locations already common in lots of first-person shooters: "Under Siege" which sees players fight onboard a battleship, "Rusty Cage", a huge warehouse filled with a maze of cargo containers, "Savannah Flu", a traditional Middle Eastern town and finally "Snowy Cover-up", a snowy military outpost.
Concerning the game modes, these were quite simple and nearly identical to what you come across in all the other first-person shooters out there, and in case the original CA title is kind of a role model, then it’s not that farfetched to also expect to see a coop PvE mode, "Quarantine" (Zombie/ Mutant survival) and a Capture the Flag mode in Combat Arms: Line of Sight as well. The maps looked stunning and were quite well designed, with Rusty Cage being the smallest map of the available one, which resulted in pretty intense combat across the maze of cargo containers where you had to always watch out. We participated in a standard game on this map as well as in a knife/ sniper riffle only match, which was pretty interesting but soon became extremely annoying, since the person that hosted the match was pretty much sitting at their base camping one of the 2 base exits. With the enemy already in position, it was really difficult to get him out of there while he was undoubtedly thinking of himself to be the **** getting all his lame camp kills. The other maps were considerably more extensive, allowing for cooperative strategy and a wider range of tactics. The level design is pretty well done and even with the quite linear layout of the Under Siege map, some upper platforms and corridors allowed for utilising them in battle to your advantage.
Combat is extremely fast-paced and we felt most unmodified weapons were seemingly overpowered as they could kill you pretty quickly, meaning that it was typically to late to get out of the situation when you realised you were in danger, unless you were an FPS pro relying on being capable of one-shot killing the opponent before they are able to one-shot kill you.
Some features were pretty annoying, and we’re not sure whether they were powers that were automatically activated or in-game settings, such as highlighting both your team and enemy team members 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.