Pros: Amazing vehicle customization, variety of maps and modes, great graphics and physics
Cons: Takes a while to build up a good selection of items to make viable vehicles, quick match times makes quick map rotations so can start to feel stale
We got invited to check out the current iteration of Targem Games / Gaijin Entertainment’s Crossout, a post-apocalyptic based shooter where we got to roll around in self-built vehicles with a bunch of scrap and weapons bolted to them and drive around barren landscapes blowing up the enemy team. With this particular invite we were given a promo account that pretty much had everything you could ever need to access the various features and build whatever type of vehicle we wanted due to the number of rare and epic quality components we were given (and hundreds of loot chests if we had the time/inclination to open them all).
From the offset it was pretty clear the only thing we didn’t have was experience, which was prevalent when it came to building our first vehicle. We were kids in a candy store with the amount of choice we had, so many frames, wheels, cabs, cosmetics and of course weapons, but we had very little knowledge of what might actually work so instead threw caution to the wind and just went for something that looked cool and a little original. It is pretty crazy the types of vehicles you can craft, from trikes, trucks, buggies and tanks, in all shapes and sizes with a huge variation on weapons, a combination of the extensive list of components and the multi-point connectivity it’s like being a kid again with our Legos out. There are, of course, limitations and these are a mix of the number of pieces a vehicle can be made up of (as they are all individual components that can be blown off in battle, you don’t want hundreds of them lagging up the game), the mass of the vehicle so it can only be so big and bulky, and the energy it uses meaning you can only have so many weapons and energy using accessories. What we ended up with was a sort of truck meets tank with a mounted gun turret. Oh, and a flamethrower.
In practice we had a really slow vehicle with predominantly short range weapons, we had no idea how to play, and this hunk of junk was an absolute nightmare to handle and it was only once we were in combat (as opposed to testing it on the garage airstrip) that we fully realised how bad a vehicle we’d made. It looked really cool though, and if you’re getting blown to pieces then at least have a beautiful corpse, right? Being so slow we were always the last one in battle, which meant either riding in and the fight being over and we’d been won, or the fight being over and we’d lost and were then useless because we were close combat and just got absolutely annihilated by the faster, ranged vehicles. For a couple of games we got carried, our “strategy” was generally just beeline to the front of battle and then try and kamikaze setting everyone on fire, which had mixed results, but it was clear we had to go back to the drawing board with our design and spend a little more time thinking things through.
Our next iteration worked a little better, opting for a long-range vehicle where we could keep our distance so didn’t have to worry too much about being in the fray, we mounted two types of rocket launcher. One was a typical aim and fire a couple of rockets, the other was a homing missile that once we launched our camera switched to the missile and we could actually steer it for about 6 seconds, and it went ridiculously fast so was crazy hard to aim especially when having to navigate it past your own teammates. As a purple item presumably most players don’t have access to it, but it was kind of bitter sweet in that it was a great weapon, but so often in those 6s that we were flying around on our rocket we’d come back to a death screen as someone had picked us off… Again, lack of experience held us back here.
Trying out the PVE Raids was another interesting experience, a bunch of co-op objective focused matches we tested out a convoy defence where we had keep up with a moving AI convoy that would be attacked at different points along the route. Again, our vehicle was just too slow and we struggled to keep up as the convoy kept moving, if we hung back getting into a fight with some NPC raiders it took a while to get ahead of the battle with everyone else so our teammates did most of the killing. Our second raid wasn’t as bad, defending an oil rig type structure in an enclosed arena style bowl canyon, able to keep at range and fire off our rockets we had a much bigger impact, but the enemies felt a hell of a lot tougher in comparison to the convoy (which felt ridiculously easy).
Overall we were pretty happy with the game, Targem have put out a pretty great free to play MMO and the level of customization and freedom to make some truly impressive Mad Max-esq vehicles won’t get boring any time soon. We had the benefit of having access to everything, so we think the process of unlocking new components would be a bit of a balance of excitement to get something new, but grindy trying to acquire it. With a big collection though it’s very fun seeing what cool vehicles you can come up with. The games are action packed and fast paced, with a match timer of just a few minutes it means even if you die early on and have to spectate (you can leave but gain less XP) then you aren’t waiting too long until you’re queued straight into your next match. The quick rotation does mean that you play the maps and modes a lot, and it does beg the question as to whether they’ll start to feel a bit boring being on them so often.