Nexuiz (pronounced Nexus) is the remake of a popular FPS game and has now been released as a downloadable title running on Cryengine 3. The new version is developed by Illfonic and published by THQ and is available on XBLA, PSN and eventually Steam. It is an arena based first person shooter with heavy influences from Quake.
The game revolves around two warring races (The Forsellians and the Kavussari) and how their conflict has been put completely onto hold in favour of recreating important locations of battles or political influence and forcing them to fight it out in an arena. There are little bits of lore for each stage but nothing more than flavour text.
The game is strictly a multiplayer affair and is host to online multiplayer and offline bot matches. The enemy AI is reasonable enough to get you started with learning the controls and fighting it out to test the various mutators and weapons. Bot matches are good to start with but not that great to keep going with; it feels like it isn’t really needed or wanted, even though it needs implementing into the online multiplayer.
Online multiplayer is limited to 6 rather than 8 players for an unknown reason which should hopefully get patched sooner rather than later. For the time being though, there are nine maps in total; with three being solely for capture the flag and six team Deathmatch maps. While the TDM maps are very varied in sizes both vertically and horizontally; the CTF maps can be traversed easily in under 30 seconds from one end to the other. The maps do offer a reasonable amount of variation in design but not so much in looks or aesthetics; each map has clear areas of interest with locations of certain weapons or Powerups being in more open areas while lesser weapons are strewn in more easily accessible areas.
Weapons have some varied effects and you’ll soon realise that there are some weapons which are almost entirely useless when compared to others. The shotgun is your main weapon, has unlimited ammo, decent damage and can deal damage over both close and long distances thanks to the alternate fire mode. The Sniper is one of the more powerful weapons and kills in one or two shots sometimes. The Rocket Launcher is usually the best weapon to have as its high damage and the ability to detonate the rocket in mid-air with the alt fire makes it vastly superior to most other weapons. A second shotgun and a mortar also tend to be pretty reasonable but their more forgettable alt fires make them less viable. The other weapons tend to feel quite weak (especially the machine gun which will net you assists if you are lucky but will probably end with your death due to the low damage) but at least the melee deals a fairly large chunk of damage and locks on to targets for a lunge.
Mutators are the highlight of the game and are given to players for either killstreaks or for picking them up on the map. When you get a mutator you are given 3 choices; each has its own effect and the picture and colour of the background help to denote what it does. The background colour signifies whether it affects you, everyone, your team or the enemy team. The mutators range from genuinely fun and interesting modifiers to the gameplay; to ridiculous modifiers. The fun modifiers range from: jetpacks, low gravity, a random person exploding, everyone being forced to pogo (bunnyhop), random weapons and many more. Ridiculous modifiers range from colour-blindness, a giant whale appearing in the sky, retro graphic style, big heads; most of these are unlocked one you earn the achievement tied with it.
The aim assist is maybe a little over the top or unwelcome depending on how you look at it. The strength of the magnetism is a little high which doesn’t do the game many favours when so many of the weapons deflect off of surfaces or need to hit something to cause blast damage.
The loading times are rather long and people tend to drop out quite quickly at times if they are losing the game. This would have been perfect for the bots to replace the players that have left as it quickly become very one sided most of the time.
There isn’t really any “end-game” as the only thing you can unlock is the achievement related mutators or use points to add pips to unlocked mutators. Each mutator can have 10 pips assigned to it and each pip increases the likelihood of getting the mutator as a choice during battles. The mutators are split into five tiers and each tier costs more per pip than the last. The problem with this system is that you have to play a huge amount in order to get enough points for a first tier pip let alone the fifth tier.
Cryengine 3 is a very good piece of tech and while the visuals are technically proficient the world doesn’t feel that vibrant despite the heavy set of bright colours. This could in part be due to the murky colour palate used which makes the world seem a little dull despite bright lighting and shiny surfaces. A big issue is that a lot of the weapons look ridiculously similar to at least one other weapon. It can be infuriating in the heat of combat, as the weapon selection wheel is very awkward to use and the time you lose trying to locate the weapon you need leads to many deaths.
Music is more or less electronic and it varies from level to level on the quality. The sounds for weapons tend to be a pretty standard fair with the sounds of bullets getting fired off, energy weapons discharging and explosions.
Presentation and Audio
Colour-blindness (mutator) is the only true problem with the visuals as it makes it almost impossible to navigate in some of the darker map areas. Aside from that everything is pretty nice looking if a little murky; which is strange considering the colours used. Electronic is probably the best way of describing the music and it sort of works with the theme of the game.
Mutators make the game worth playing as the weapons get stale quickly as the shotgun is the best weapon to use in most circumstances and you rarely need to change. The lack of gametypes and a definable goal makes it very hard to keep playing after a certain point.
It has some brilliant ideas but the execution is only average; the lack of any meaningful goals and lack of gametypes mean it gets stale pretty fast. It really isn’t as ambitious as it seems to think it is and needs a little more to the game to keep people playing it.
It entices you with Quake style gameplay but when it comes down to it you’ll stay because of the mutators. Mutators keep the combat interesting while the weapons tend to be the opposite as the staple shotgun can easily fend off anything that comes at you with almost the same proficiency that the sniper and rocket launcher do. There is very little going on in some of the maps which probably isn’t helped by the 6 man limit that is in place at the moment but CTF feels very empty even though one of the three maps are laughably small for the gametype and the other two would be considered medium sized in most other games.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.