NPPL Championship Paintball 2009 review

  • Faithful to the sport
  • Won't get actual paint on you
  • Can tinker with squad stats
  • Bad hit detection
  • Boring environments
  • More loading screens than playing

Few things resemble real-life videogames quite like paintballing: 1) You dress like a member of Half-Life’s Combine; 2) It’s the only time hiding in ferns is acceptable; and 3) You actually get to shoot real living humans. And they bleed. Albeit in blue. For all intents and purposes, it’s COD 4’s Chernobyl level sponsored by Dulux. So why oh why is Millennium Paintball as enjoyable as a shot in the eye?

Mechanically, it’s a shocker. There’s absolutely no sense that there’s a body attached to the eyes. You’re meant to be diving behind cover and tucking yourself in as paint peppers the defenses, but often you find seemingly impossible shots snagging ghost limbs. Do we have a gigantic invisible shoulder no one’s told us about? It’s like playing a shooter in spectator mode; far too ethereal for the body-armoured brute staring out from the menu screen.

And toss away images of stalking your prey through the undergrowth, this plays by the NPPL’s rules – an official sporting body apparently tasked with draining all the fun out of shooting a fellow man with a pretend gun. There are inflatable barriers, AI teammates and flags to be captured in an arena-based event that doesn’t seem to alter from the first game of the tournament to the last. You pump stats into your squad, let them do the shooting and waltz up to the flag. Bing, bang, snore.

The fidelity to the official sport is the game’s biggest failing. Yes, those may be properly branded inflatable bunkers, but it makes for arena after arena of identikit plastic mounds. And the punchy nature of the two minute rounds makes for a bitty experience, more loading screen than playtime. And it’s tied up with a bizarre dose of macho posturing – thrash metal played over camcorder footage that was most likely shot by the players’ mums. Ah bless.

It reminds us of the time we went paintballing and received a shot to the knee. Stepping out of cover to acknowledge the loss, the bastard marksman capped the other knee. One insult after another; that’s Millennium through and through.

Apr 13, 2009

More Info

Release date: Nov 18 2008 - PS3, Xbox 360 (US)
Available Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360
Genre: Shooter
Developed by: Sand Grain Studios
ESRB Rating:
Everyone 10+: Lyrics, Mild Violence
PEGI Rating:
12+: Violence


  • TheIronMaiden - September 10, 2009 4:17 a.m.

    I don't paintball, I airsoft, but I can at least see the dedication and reality factor put into this title. Sure it's not for everyone, but for people who paintball/airsoft its a pretty cool thing to have on your shelf just to play every once in awhile. I don't think its terrible at all, not the greatest game I've played, but not the worst. But as previous comments have stated, haven't played airsoft or paintball especially, you'll never like this game.
  • kickassgamer94 - June 29, 2009 11:56 p.m.

    Well, im probably gonna get a lot of smack talk with this- but i dont think this game is that bad. Sure, the graphics could be updated,(after all it's a 360 game) sure the hit detection could have had more thought put into it. But other than that, I dont see much of a problem. People say that the environments are boring. Well, its a friggin paintball field for cryin out loud! they all look the same! what do you want? a dance floor with a stripper in the middle? its paintball! not a fantasy shooter! So stop with all the "boring environment" crap. Cuz if any of you have seen paintball before this, you should know that the fields look like those. There is a huge selection of markers, masks, jerseys, and barrels, so i dont think anyone could complain about lack of variety. Although being able to choose colors would be nice. Other than that, i think this game is pretty well done from a no-name company like fun labs. Overall, 7-10. and i agree with swimdork by the way. you all point out the pointless bad things to make it seem bad. Like loading screens. Of course there is gonna be short playing time! Its a small field with a maxium of 7 guys! so stop complaining if you guys dont know what you talk about! I for one actully play paintball, so i know what im talking about.
  • sixboxes - April 14, 2009 6:37 p.m.

    Every time I see the acrynom NPPL, all I can think of is "nipple". And then I giggle like the 12-year-old I actually am.
  • swimdork1 - May 12, 2009 12:43 a.m.

    okay first things first, they tried it turned out pretty good in my opinion. second real life tournaments are about the same length as the matches in the game, short and brutal. the critic probably never played paintball.third, the beginning footage gives you a peek inside what a tournament is really like, in a tournament people will shoot in the ear 50 times Ive seen it happen. yes i know there are some problems but you have to look past that.lastly for all the the gear you get to buy, if you dont play paintball then you dont know if one barrel is better than the other even if in the game they have the same stats, and you cant just look at the stats in the game you actually have to know what that gun is like in real life. The game mimicked the capabilities of the gear very well. also there is no problems that i can find with the way you get shot there are no impossible shot from long distances, its easily possible, you underestimate the accuracy of a paintball barrel. lastly the only way in the game to make a game last two minutes is if you order your team to stay put and not shoot. When I play I crush the other team in less than 30 seconds and I dont care so stop bitching about how the loading screen is longer than the game.
  • Kruiser - April 14, 2009 6:14 p.m.

    huh, I made that same bold claim on another game that received a 3. But alas the only thing more interesting than a game that receives a 3 is a game that scores a 2. So you are not the last, and likely neither am I. second
  • Cerbeross - April 14, 2009 6:04 p.m.

    first, and probably last as well

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