Auto Assault

NetDevil is risking disappointing subscribers' requirements of an online world in far less superficial ways than the visual, however. The intensity and speed of play tends to dampen any communication between players- there just doesn't seem to be time to talk.

Even worse, group play is a tactics-free, directionless fracas. It's certainly more entertaining and forgiving than playing alone, but it's impossible to coordinate or strategise, or indeed to see any pressing reason to. Unforgivably, it's currently not even possible to share mission objectives between members of a convoy.

Having only played through the initial levels in a tightly restricted early beta test, it would be dangerous to jump to conclusions - this, after all, is a genre where games can only reveal their full selves after many hours of play.

We haven't begun to explore the intriguing crafting system (which centres on the reverse-engineering of broken items), and can only assume that the three races' and four character classes' playing styles, virtually indistinguishable to begin with, will diverge over time.

Perhaps instanced environments will force team dynamics to the surface, too. But as it stands, Auto Assault could end up being an unusual and entertainingly direct MMO enjoyed by players at the same time, in the same place, but fundamentally alone.