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War Rock MMOFPS Review

by: William Usher ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

This game has been around for quite a while and is usually one of the few benchmark MMOFPS games that many use to compare to other shooters. But how does the game stand on its own two feet as an individual competitor in the crowded MMOFPS market? Keep reading to find out.

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    Welcome To The War Rock

    A war indeed   K2 Networks’ War Rock is a game that certainly does live up to its name. Constant action, lots of gun fire and continuous explosions is what gamers can look forward to when playing the game. War Rock is a semi large-scale MMOFPS that sports up to 32 simultaneous players across spacious team deathmatch maps -- this is in addition to the tried and tested 16-player close-quarter combat scenarios. The game gets quite a few things right when trying new things and establishing a solid basis for maintaining classic gameplay elements, but many of this comes at the expense of gameplay stability. There are times when the game will crash somewhat frequently during large battles. The game’s main problem, though, comes in with what it wants to be; it has a tough time deciding if it’s an arcade action game or a simulation shooter. Keep reading to find out how all the features break down in this War Rock review.

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    See those planes? Yep, you can fly those   The best part about War Rock is the concept to toss in the fan-favorite Battlefield-esque gameplay mechanics with leveling, cash shop items and classes. It’s also rare that a game with a wide range of weapons, a handful of classes and enough game maps to keep just about any gamer occupied for hours on end, would also include a variety of vehicle types.

    Not only are planes, helicopters, tanks and boats available (many capable of seating multiple players) each vehicle type also has several variations. So there are ground-to-air tanks, ground-to-ground tanks, auxiliary tanks, attack boats, command ships, armored boats, carrier copters, Apaches and a ton of other vehicles I’m not going to bother listing here, except for maybe the motorcycle, which a lot of people avoid using. But I’ll explain that later.

    For the most part, the concept of War Rock is entirely solid. The demolition, team deathmatch and free for all modes help round out the experience for gamers who don’t always want to participate in the battlefield maps, and the ability to switch classes between respawns for specific tasks (i.e., Engineers for repairing vehicles, Medics for healing temmates or Demolition for blowing up vehicles) adds some necessary flavor and tension to each of the games, much like Team Fortress 2.

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    The command ship is big, real big   I wish I could speak as highly of the vehicle’s in-game functionality as I could the concept on which the game was designed. However, much of the game’s execution of multi-terrain vehicular combat and semi-realistic shooting sort of falls flat between a few glaring issues, namely with: frequent lock-ups, server connection terminations, glitches, as well as an overall instability and imbalance with some of the vehicles. Anyone who hops in an Apache is nearly invincible unless someone can hop in another Apache to take them down, and it’s the same with the tanks.

    Now, many readers might find it odd but the best functioning vehicles include the smaller helicopters, all the jet fighter planes, most of the boats and the carrier trucks. The Hummers could have been decent but instead they have a somewhat floaty feel to them, despite it seeming like there are weights bolting down the vehicle from reaching its top speed. The motorcycle suffers from the same problem and often gets stuck or jammed on objects, as well as the carrier helicopter and command ship. This is to be expected from a game boasting a lot of players in large environments with a huge variety of operable vehicles. However, the physics of the vehicles will more than likely frustrate a lot of gamers who would probably like to hop on a motorcycle to actually get away, which is something that you just can’t do given the slow acceleration and plastic physics.

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    Graphics And Sound

    The gun models have a lot of detail   Modern Warfare 2 this game is not, subsequently, anyone who has played Alliance of Valiant Arms probably wont’ be impressed with this game, either. Nevertheless, visually, War Rock should be pleasing enough to gamers who aren’t all about graphics. The animations are decent and the weapon models are surprisingly detailed. In other words, it's pretty much what you might expect from a game like Cross Fire or a lesser-detailed version of Karma: Operation Barbarossa.

    While the character models aren’t all that noteworthy, the vehicle designs, texture mapping and lighting all look pretty good. Don’t expect any eye-catching bloom effects, though.

    I would like to point out that the game does feature in-game music, in addition to the standard ambiance. The music is actually quite fitting to the warring atmosphere and helps build on the game’s intensity. Another cool feature about the sound is that gamers sporting a high-end Dolby Digital system will get the benefit of hearing all the action from every angle as if they’re actually immersed in an epic modern war. The sound team did an amazing job with the weapon sounds, the vehicles, the explosions and the overall player-created ambiance that comes from just battling it out with another team.

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    Sniping during a down pour can be tricky   The actual gun-play is fairly solid. My biggest complaint, though, with the in-game play, is that players who use the dual-wielding pistols can blow away several players with ease, as the weapons take more life than most of the assault weapons. It turns into Max Payne once a player dives into a room shooting two pistols wildly, which usually result in a kill. Thankfully, dual-wielders aren't common foes in War Rock and that helps with the game's overall balance.

    The real draw for War Rock comes with the varying classes, which offer up differing playing styles that will require a lot of player adjustment (i.e., the slow and cumbersome play of the Demolition experts, or the constant need to heal oneself as a Medic, etc.,) For gamers used to shooting games with class-based systems, such as Battlefield Heroes or Team Fortress 2, it shouldn’t take much of a stretch getting adjusted to War Rock’s setup.

    The rag-doll dying effects aren’t bad and the teamwork requirement is usually present for taking over bases or working together to take down a tank or attack copter. But the lack of a dedicated beginner channel means that a lot of new players will have to contend with veteran players, at the expense of being booted for not being good enough or receiving little or no help. This is probably the biggest drawback to the gameplay given that most new players will have to learn via trial, error and a lot of teammate swearing.

    For the standard modes such as demolition, team deathmatch and free for all, gamers can expect the same quality of gameplay as would be expected from the likes of Cross Fire or a less polished version of Combat Arms. I just didn’t like how the pace in War Rock was much too fast at times, yet it maintains the simulation damage effects similar to Operation 7 or A.V.A. This might put off some simulation fans who like tactical shoot-outs featured in Ghost Recon or Rainbow Six, especially considering that the game seemed to be designed for simulation gameplay.

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    Blowing up buildings is a good way to find campers   War Rock’s biggest drawback is the lack of a beginner channel. Not being able to participate in a tutorial also really hinders the game’s affability to newcomers. And even though the weapons have slight imbalances; the gameplay pace is a little too fast; and some of the vehicles have shoddy physics, the overall play experience can be quite fun.

    Despite a few connection drops and room crashes, the large-scale battle maps are probably the one thing worth playing this game for. Any gamer who enjoys the Battlefield games might want to check out K2’s free-to-play War Rock, even though it still has its fair share of drawbacks.

    Official War Rock Website