by: William Usher
; edited by: Michael Hartman
; updated: 4/17/2012
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Two popular free-to-play shooter games get the comparison treatment on which game comes out on top when it comes to features and functions.
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The MMOFPS battleground returns after being absent from the genre for quite some time. Nevertheless, this time around the comparison will be between another one of ijji Games titles, the first-person shooter, Genesis A.D., and Netgame’s tried and true FPS, Operation 7 Online. The battle will take place over the course of three rounds, with a clear victor being decided at the end of the fray. Who will come out on top in this session: The futuristic, multi-class based shooter or the realistic shooter with the proprietary WMS feature? Well, there’s only one way to find out and it’s to pit these two popular shooter games against other, feature-to-feature, barrel-to-barrel, headshot-to-headshot.
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Round 1: Weapon Balance
The very first round is one of the most important rounds of the match because without weapon balance you don’t have much of a game to play. They’re called a first-person shooter for a reason and it’s not because you’re running through giving high-fives and showing off your dance moves on the floor like in SubaGames Mission Against Terror.
Genesis A.D.: The weapon balance in Genesis A.D. is similar to that of ijji’s other two MMOFPS titles, Karma: Operation Barbarossa and Alliance of Valiant Arms. There’s very little to complain about, if nothing at all to complain about given that all the weapons in the game have their pros and cons and are perfectly suited for whatever situation they were designed for. The weapons actually break down into three different classes including the Assault class, the Supplier and the Sniper. Each category of weapon suits its purpose nicely, with various attachments such as scopes and grenade launchers available to add further functionality for each of the weapons on the game. There’s rarely ever any complaints on the game about weapon balance given that Genesis A.D. plays so smoothly, especially on the maps that are perfectly designed for the gun types on the game.
Operation 7: It’s really hard to talk weapon balance when a game boasts a proprietary weapon modification system where players can literally build their gun from the ground up using countless parts. Hence, the balance of the weapons is based on the player’s ability to piece together a functional weapon type and use it correctly. The difference between the two games are like night and day because Genesis A.D. ensures that the weapons available are balanced for all players in all class types, where-is with Operation 7 it’s entirely based on how the weapon is built and used. The categories range from shotguns, SMGs and assault rifles to light-machine guns and sniper rifles. Each gun can be outfitted with a number of modifications, including adding scopes, silencers, grenade launchers or stocks that can increase or decrease accuracy, control mobility or range, amongst other attributes. Operation 7’s gun balance is probably comparable to modifying a car’s performance in Gran Turismo 5 or Forza Motorsport 3, making it a distinctive shooting simulator.
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Verdict: Operation 7
This round is very, very hard to judge but I’m going to have to give it to Operation 7. While Genesis A.D. always manages even weapon balance amongst players and game types, the fact that Operation 7 allows players to alter the balance of the weapon gives it a slight edge over Genesis A.D. The fact that there are some players who use an M14 as a sniper rifle and others who use it as a semi-automatic close-range infiltration assault rifle shows just how versatile the game can be with the balance of the weapons. The added possibility of upgrading and changing parts also means that a weapon that didn’t work well before can be tweaked and modified to possibly work in a different condition. This is definitely not to take anything away from Genesis A.D.’s weapon balance mechanics, because they do work and work very well, exactly the way they were intended to.
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Round 2: Gameplay Balance
A game’s balance for in-game play makes a huge difference on whether or not the content the game provides holds up while actually playing in the game. This comparison breaks down how both games handle the pressure of keeping things stable, fun, intuitive and inventive.
Genesis A.D.: Given that weapon customization is kept to a minimum, the focus of Genesis A.D. is to maximize on the manipulation of the benefits offered from of the three playable classes. Gamers who like to snipe can do so and are rewarded for stealthily grabbing headshots or back attacks. To give tankers, or the Assault class a fighting chance, they’re allowed to rocket across stages using booster packs and heavy armor. The Supply class is an all-arounder who can sometimes boost but can mainly focus on mid-ranged attacks with fast weapons. Each class contributes something to a match during the CTF, demolition or deathmatch modes and this keeps every round fair, evenly paced, and quite exciting. The option to switch to any other class in between deaths also adds some strategic flavor to the team balance options.
Operation 7: Anyone who has played OP7 knows that the game is far, very far off from other MMOFPS games such as Cross Fire or Soldier Front when it comes to actual gameplay balance. The good and bad part about it is that the balance of the gameplay resides in the skill and weaponry of the players. If you put 10 elite players with short-range weapons on a sniper map against 10 elite players with sniper rifles, well, it’s game over for the short-range guys. Considering that the game lacks options to limit certain gun properties (such as no noob tubes) it means so long as the primary weapon option is checked before a match starts, anyone with any gun can join in on a game, no matter how unbalanced it makes the match. As fun as it is sometimes it’s also a little disheartening for some of the modes and maps or players who recently graduate from the beginner channel and move over into the standard "pro" channel.
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Verdict: Genesis A.D.
While Operation 7 has some interesting game modes and nifty gameplay options, it lacks a lot of the intuitiveness offered by Genesis A.D. to keep things somewhat balanced. The fact that once you enter a game in OP7 with a weapon you would have to exit the match in order to switch up to something more suitable, losing both experience and credits in the process. This is not to say that Operation 7 isn’t quite as fun as Genesis A.D., it’s just a matter of nodding towards Genesis A.D.’s attempt to moderate most matches between players with options that favor an interest in fairness, which some advanced FPS gamers may or may not appreciate.
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Round 3: Replayability
Replayability is a really important factor for an MMOFPS and is the whole reason why a game is worth playing in the first place. If there isn’t enough content, diversity and inventiveness in the gameplay then there’s the unsavory risk of having a cool character or cool items and nothing to do with them.
Genesis A.D.: In terms of replay, there’s hardly anything to scoff at with this game, especially being so early in its lifecycle. The game boasts some amazing PvP modes that range from melee-only to some very, very tactically charged capture-the-flag matches. An additional demolition mode helps round out the survivalists experience and the PvE mode, Viper Valley is a challenging, team-oriented experience that will test the grit and skills of the most battle-hardened FPS player. These modes are all quite good in their own right, and the ability to upgrade and buy new equipment adds some additional flavor to the meal. The only downside is that unlikeA.V.A or Mercenary Wars, none of the items are permanent and detracts from the overall feeling of replayability for the sake of progression. In other words, the weapons and items never really feel like you own them, and that can sometimes discourage players from coming back.
Operation 7: The replay factors are wholly located in the ability to level-up, go up against other players and upgrade or build new weapons. In fact, the proprietary Weapon Modification System can stream hours out of a gamer’s day due to the undeniably vast amount of options and figurations available. The fact that this is all housed in an RPG setting, with leveling and stats to monitor, means that gamers have to use wits and savvy when it comes to putting together the ultimate weapon for various scenarios. This is all complimented with a nice cache of team deathmatch, demolition, survival, and hold-the-line modes, which is a very unique alternative to the capture-the-flag paradigm.
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Verdict: Operation 7
While Operation 7 may initially lack the PvE modes that could have rendered it as one of the very best shooter games of all time, the fact that it still offers up the amount of game modes and many, many playable maps with alternate versions of the same maps makes it one of the most tactical PvP-based shooter titles available. And, of course, the ability to customize a character that not only affects how they look but also how they blend in for sniping maps or to camouflage in some urban settings adds to the realism and replayability for mixing and matching different looks on different stages for either playing as a infiltrator or a stealth operative. The WMS also elevates Operation 7 quite high, allowing gamers to build their perfect gun.
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After three intense rounds and a lot of information sharing it’s time to pick a winner and it’s quite clear that the decided victor of this encounter is Operation 7. While the game’s balance is entirely offset by the amount of players participating in a bout and the weapons they have on hand, it doesn’t detract from the fact that players have the freedom to modify their loadout anyway they see fit and completely change the landscape of the competitive combat field based on skill, teamwork, and using some kick-butt weapons to boot. This is not to say that Genesis A.D. is a slouch by comparison, but the overall rush of paranoia strolling through the sniper infested streets of Wisdom and Knowledge or the sheer feeling of dread associated with the trek across the fields of Hell-Way 3 are currently unmatched amongst many other shooters this genre. Coupled with the deep weapon customization system and RPG leveling qualities and that’s reason enough for Operation 7 to walk away the winner in this MMOFPS battleground bout.