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