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Firefall - updated hands-on preview

By now you probably know all about Firefall’s competitive multiplayer. They’ve been showing it off at every industry event for the past year, and we’ve sung its praises more than once before. What we hadn’t yet seen was the much-touted cooperative, open world segment of the game. This stuff is the reason why Red 5 has been calling Firefall an MMOFPS this whole time rather than a competitive shooter.


During our demo, the wrapper was finally taken off the sci-fi shooter’s co-op/single-player content and we took part in several quests as well as some awesome random world events. Practically nothing about the quests will surprise you. They’re really pretty similar to the quests in an average MMO (at least the quests we played) except that it’s a first person shooter. This doesn’t change the substance of the quest, but it makes completing it a lot more fast-paced and fun. Rather than walking up and whacking an enemy a few times ala WoW, in Firefall you’re essentially playing a massively multiplayer version of Borderlands.

Regardless, that’s mostly a retread of old territory. However, occasionally while you’re questing, larger events will take place. In our demo an enemy ship flew in and began attacking the city hub we were in. At that point, it became a cooperative game. The whole city banded together to stop the invasion. The invasion plays out like a cross between Horde Mode and a game of Domination in Call of Duty. The enemy starts spawning NPC creatures all around the area trying to take over three key points.

The way the game handles this particular feature is pretty interesting. There are actual stakes if you lose the battle. If you fail to keep the enemy from overrunning the base you will lose access to that hub for a while. At that time, new quest givers will spawn outside the city who will give you new quests that will culminate in the retaking of the city.

Firefall isn’t just a run-and-gun FPS though. It’s also an RPG, and as such you’ll have access to a huge library of skills and upgrades that you can collect while questing. Then you can modify your personal loadout in the game’s forge.

Every time we see Firefall they’ve got more and more content to show off, and every bit of it plays great. We’ve had a blast with every aspect of this game. It’s truly a testament to the amazing success of the F2P business model that Red 5 is willing to part with this much awesome content without asking for a single dime upfront.

Keep an eye on Firefall because this is going to be the game to beat when it releases. Red 5 has crafted a game that we look forward to playing at every industry event. And with so little other competition in the F2P shooter market, Firefall has a very good chance to gain some traction and become the number one game in that space. Right now there’s nothing coming out that compares to the level of quality and value that Firefall is looking like it will provide. We can’t wait for this game to release so we can see if it makes good on its tremendous promise.

Aug 28, 2011

Topics

PAX

25 comments

  • JADENkOTOR - August 28, 2011 2:52 p.m.

    Badass
  • ObliqueZombie - August 28, 2011 3:50 p.m.

    I can't get over how much this looks like a faster-paced Borderlands. Nor can I stress just how AMAZING that is. I've been a huge FPS-RPG-Hybrid fan ever since BioShock, and now some of my favorite games include Deus Ex and Borderlands. This is shaping up to be a real gem in the MMO market, and I'll be happy to splurge on any of their micro-transaction items. However, I'm worried about the specs. I hope it's not too taxing on my poor ol' (but actually new-ish) laptop. I'd HATE to miss out on what Red 5 has been working on so hard.
  • ArbokDaKobra - August 28, 2011 4:30 p.m.

    Well it looks like i finally found a F2P game for myself. I thought it was gonna be AoE Online but it wasn't very good. If it is as good as it looks i'll be more than willing to part with a sizable sum of cash for this.
  • JBWill - August 28, 2011 8:59 p.m.

    I've been following this game for awhile, and I can honestly say I've never been more excited for a game in years. Tried it at PAX East and it was SO much fun. Can't wait to get my hands on it again. Oblique: They've told us they do their testing on 9800GTs, but are trying to optimize it for the lowest performance they can. They also recommend a dual core processor. No official requirements yet though.
  • Alx223 - August 28, 2011 9:02 p.m.

    Firefall looks like its shaping up to be game of the year which would be very impressive for a free to play game. Originally I thought I wasn't going to be playing the PvE that much, but after some of the footage and articles from PAX I have completely changed my mind. I have a bad feeling I will be sinking way too much time into this game.
  • Bomby - August 29, 2011 12:37 a.m.

    I know what you mean Alx... I have not even played this game yet and I have already put in almost as much time tracking down new info and news as I have playing any of me other games! And as far as JBWill's chance to actually play even if it was at PAX East I am still so jealous :p
  • Hrockle - August 28, 2011 9:06 p.m.

    Created an account just so I can post on this article. I've been anticipating this game for a while now, and since it is nearing release date I'm excited to see popular game sites posting about it. Arbok: The great thing is that you can't buy power from the cash shop. Red 5 has plans to sell only items for convenience and aesthetics. Has anyone else gotten their hands on playing at Pax Prime?
  • warstratigier - August 28, 2011 9:10 p.m.

    I am literally dying here in wanting to experience this game ever since it first showed up at last year's PAX Prime. They have so many wonderful things going on with this game and even then Red 5 has shown they have no intention on letting up on making this game as awesome as it can be. In my mind, not only will it be the best F2P game but its going to be the game for next year considering it will be released at the end of this year.
  • Glowbeans - August 28, 2011 9:49 p.m.

    Massively Multiplayer Borderlands is EXACTLY what I want to hear. All the videos look like that for me, but I've been waiting for someone else to make the comparison. I really dont think I'll mind killing rats if I am doing it with a giant laser rifle while zooming across the surface of a jungle world with a jetpack. Grind? What grind!
  • Glowbeans - August 28, 2011 9:51 p.m.

    Massively Multiplayer Borderlands is EXACTLY what I want to hear. All the videos make it look like Borderlands to me, but I was waiting for someone ELSE to confirm what I was seeing. It's good to know someone else does see it. And that makes me VERY excited.
  • Illian.Amerond - August 28, 2011 10:01 p.m.

    Just thought I would toss out that Firefall begins its beta key selection process Tuesday. As it stands any one signed up on the forums is eligible for selection regardless of how long they have been a member of the community. Yet that is not all, there is also other ways to get in the game as the whole process will roll into a Google + type of invite system where each member gets "buddy keys" to invite people they enjoy playing with. Hope you all enjoyed the PAX Prime and stay tuned for more fun as the week unfolds here at Games Radar!
  • iancoves - August 28, 2011 10:21 p.m.

    The PvE (amongst other things) really has me excited about this game, the open world seems so lush that traversing it with jetpacks and other cool vehicles sounds a sheer pleasure. I can't wait to smash out quests and dungeons with my friends or just go hunting/ exploring the dynamic world until events take place that need my assistance. I love being able to play anyway I like and even earn exp in PvP tournaments. the way Red5 have produced this game makes them an exciting dev team to watch.
  • hoder - August 28, 2011 10:31 p.m.

    This was a very exciting weekend for everybody that was interested in firefall. They showed off some great stuff at pax: the new open world pve, a new pvp gamemode, a new pvp map, the 4th battleframe, the ability to save your character for the entire weekend at pax, ... At the same time they set up a contest on the forums, threw in a livestream and posted lots of pictures and images on twitter. Been waiting for this game for a bit now, but this weekend was the most info and action packed one we had since it was announced. Big thanks to red5, hope you guys will keep this up. And ofcourse to websites like this that cover the game, the more you cover it, the more they can improve it and get it out there.
  • Uz3r013 - August 28, 2011 11:29 p.m.

    Lots of great information, videos, and images came from Pax. There is alot to take in and it almost feels like the game is already out :P I am looking forward to this game immensely and hope to be part of the beta in the coming weeks. Thinking back to everything I saw at Pax, I have to say watching the Chosen Invasions were my favorite part. What about the rest of you, anythin from Pax stick out for you?
  • 435 - August 29, 2011 1:22 a.m.

    They had the best carpet at PAX. It was SOOOOOOOOOOOOO skooshy and soft and wonderful on tired feet. Also, they had a kickass dubstep soundtrack playing.
  • SoulOfOrigin - August 29, 2011 3:19 a.m.

    To bad I couldn't come to PAX, this game looks really nice and fun. I'm really excited about the open world PVE with dynamic missions :) I can't wait to try this awesome game out, it just looks really polished
  • Manuito - August 29, 2011 3:24 a.m.

    I wouldn't worry too much about the specs, they've already said that we will be able to scale down the game considerably if we don't have one of the latest graphic cards. It actually looks like the drawing distance, for example, can be reduced significantly and that's probably going to allow most people to play Firefall without any graphic lag. I've been waiting more than a year for Firefall and the game looks better every day. I really like the idea of playing this game for several years, as it's going to expand continually with more terrain in the open world, battleframes, and many more things. There's not going to be a Firefall 2 in a couple of years... but it's going to be the same game growing a growing like a MMO (even if it's not that). That's something new for a shooter! Are you guys more hyped about the PVE open world (soon to be PVP as well), or about the instanced PVP?
  • ghost778 - August 29, 2011 9:19 a.m.

    More for the pve. Ill play the pvp now and then, but I wanna try those thumper missions and the world events. The thumper ones dont look that complicated, but I guess Ill really have to get owned during one to decide that.
  • FireWater - August 29, 2011 4:41 a.m.

    I have definitely been following thsi game for a long time, since the first announcement a year ago. It is definitely going to change the way both PC Shooter and F2P are viewed. I'm most looking forward to the PvP, what you are guys looking forward to?
  • ImOnTheRadio - August 29, 2011 5:33 a.m.

    The article was pretty good, but it would've been nice if you would've talked about the pvp side of the game too and to have the new PAX prime trailer inserted. It's nice to see that you atleast seem to know quite alot about this game judging from you explaining that the chosen attacking to the town and losing to them WILL affect to what you can do there etc. unless someone just told it to you as a side note. Anyway, nice article briefly covering most of the important stuff we've heard.

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