No, we don’t know how to say the name of the game either. The story we heard from the developer Illfonic is that
the creators of the original PC version wrote down a bunch of different names and chose Nexuiz
specifically because they didn’t know how to pronounce it. The general consensus
seems to be “Nex-us,” but that doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that
Nexuiz looks like an absolute blast... as long as you’re willing to forget the
past five years of FPS gaming.
Though Nexuiz looks like a modern game, it plays a lot like older arena-based first-person shooters, with mutators, rocket jumping, and other
classic mechanics taking center stage over cover and
iron-sights. Nexuiz is a throw-back to the old days, with two teams of four battling in six
team deathmatch maps and three capture the flag maps, all the while picking up interesting
weapons to blow up their enemies with. If that doesn’t sound all that unique, that’s
because it isn’t – where Nexuiz shines is in its mutators, which completely
change the game.
And we’re not throwing around “change the game” as a hyperbole,
that’s actually exactly what mutators do. There are over 100 in Nexuiz, split
up into three categories: personal, team, and global. Each changes the rules a bit, slowing
down time, making it so headshots are instant kills, switching everyone into third-person
mode, unlocking incredibly powerful abilities, or doing one of 96 other things.
In other FPS, these mutators would be assigned before the game begins, but in
Nexuiz they are picked up in the levels and activated on the fly, shifting the
flow of the combat every few seconds.
On one occasion we picked up a mutator
that warped the entire enemy team to our location, so we jumped off the edge of
the map and turned it on, chalking up a few more kills for our team. Another
time we unlocked one that turned our normal laser gun into a super weapon that
shot a consistent beam of enemy-killing light. And then our allies turned activated one that desaturated the colors, making it harder to discern
enemies from allies. And then someone turned on low gravity. Things get intense
fast once the mutators start piling up, and the developers told us that we hadn’t
even seen the zanier ones.
We were told that outside of the game, points accumulated
for successful play can be spent to customize mutator loadouts, letting players
tweak their chances towards getting better (or different) mutators on pickup.
While you won’t be able to influence it that much, you might be able to put enough
points into the Invulnerability mutator so that you’ll see it once a game,
instead of once every few games. For competitive teams, it means a player could
specialize in one type of mutators, increasing the chances that he would, for
instance, get as many support mutators as possible, instead of finding random
super weapons and enemy debuffs.
Nexuiz most certainly isn’t going to be for everyone, but
for competitive FPS players looking for old-school flavor, it’s right on target. The
price sounds appealing, too – the developers are shooting for $10 and an early
2012 release date for the game on PC, Xbox Live, and the PlayStation Network, giving hardcore FPS fans something to look forward to during