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WorldShift - first impressions

Dec, 13 2007

At first glance, WorldShift looks like another generic sci-fi RTS that’ll play just like the rest. But although it features the traditional three factions and an unnecessarily elaborate story that serves for little else than an excuse to make space marines and mutants fight, WorldShift has a truly unique hook that sets it apart from the sea of StarCraft clones you’re used to seeing.

Developer, Black Sea Studios is taking WorldShift into uncharted RTS waters by introducing loot and class-based gameplay usually reserved for MMORPGs. Tanks that hold the enemies’ attention, healers who keep everyone’s health topped off, and DPS players who specialize in dealing out damage are the bread and butter of a well-balanced party in MMOs, and the same will be true in WorldShift’s cooperative PvE missions.

The game’s three factions excel in these three areas of expertise, and you’ll need to capitalize on the strengths of each team member to take down challenging bosses. But none of the factions are limited to those roles alone. So while choosing the Tribe faction of mutants may make you a better at replenishing health, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be stuck playing the role of a heal-bot every time you join a group.



Above: WorldShift looks pretty impressive on the visual front and its big bosses promise to add some classy MMO-ish gameplay to cooperative missions

Playing through the single player campaign missions and participating in PvP and cooperative PvE rounds online will also yield loot, which can be used to power-up and customize your units. During our brief look at the game, we got to see a three-player co-op mission. The map was designed so that each player started off at different areas before working their way towards each other to battle a gigantic robot spider boss. Once the boss is slain, each player is awarded with item drops to upgrade their units.

These tangible and long-lasting rewards could potentially create the sort of attachment we’ve had with our past MMO avatars in the sense that your key units will grow stronger and become more customized to your style of play over time. If done right, it might add a whole new reason to keep playing this RTS long after you’ve finished the single player campaign and worn yourself out with traditional PvP matches. But it’s too soon to tell if WorldShift will be able to afflict us with the same sort of loot lust we’ve experienced in dungeons crawlers like Diablo.

Black Sea Studios is still playing the field for a US publisher, but considering its unique angle, we’d be surprised if this title doesn’t wind up making its way to the States. Expect more details on WorldShift as its 2008 release date draws nearer. In the meantime, click on the Images tab above for more screens that show off WorldShift’s detailed character models.

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