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MMOFPS games are all the rage right now. A handful of them come out every couple of months and sometimes it's good to compare features in these games to see which one may or may not offer up what you're looking for in an online shooter.
For this match-up, it will be a classic battle of new-school (A.V.A) versus old-school (Combat Arms). The popular new shooter Alliance of Valiant Arms has been making its way around the gaming marketing block and picking up some steam among the online crowd; Combat Arms has already been there and done that. The real question is, by comparison, which game is better suited for the FPS gaming masses?
This battleground will have a few simple rounds that span the likes atmospheric immersion (or sound), weapon balance, and gameplay diversity. All right, enough meddling, let’s get this battle going.
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Round 1: Weapon Balance
For Combat Arms the weapons are as diverse as they are fun to use. The only problem is that even if you land a couple of hits with your favorite gun they don’t always work. I found myself using the M16 and AK47 for a lot of close-range combat (and found them to be more useful) as opposed to using pistols and shotguns during close-quarter encounters. While the weapons are easier to adjust to (and use) in Combat Arms, they aren’t entirely accurate for all occasions. The shotguns feel right for the PvE modes but seem to pack too little a punch in the PvP modes.
A.V.A weapons feel about right for nearly every mode and situation. The biggest problem is that keeping a steady aim will require a lot of effort on the player’s part. Nevertheless, rifles and sniper-rifles are nearly pitch-perfect for the rare long-range opportunities. The pistols are good in a pinch and shotguns will shred enemies at close range the way they’re supposed to. Even though Alliance of Valiant Arms doesn’t carry the same numerical cache of weapons as Combat Arms, it definitely has better firing and balance mechanics.
Verdict: What A.V.A lacks in weapon quantity it makes up for in weapon quality.
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Round 2: Atmospheric Immersion
Believe it or not, sound and atmosphere play a pretty big role in both games. For Combat Arms the surround sound functionality is not only an imperative feature for hearing what’s going on around you but it’s perfect for listening in to hear if someone is approaching or not. The sound design in Combat Arms – while not the most realistic for the guns – contains impeccable quality for the stages, footsteps, bullet shell droppings and ambiance. For example, if someone is walking overhead…it sounds like they’re walking overhead. This feature can be used to track opponents or listen in to hear if a nearby teammate needs help. The spacious stages and excellent sound design ensures that gamers are using more than just their sight to track down a foe.
A.V.A doesn’t quite fare as well when it comes to the atmospheric engagement as Combat Arms. While the soldier sounds, guns and explosions, sound intense and hyper realistic, they don’t quite immerse gamers the way Combat Arms does. The smaller stage designs and frantic shooting pace inhibit players from using all aspects of their surroundings and senses to their utmost advantage. This is actually a disappointing quality for A.V.A given that it would have been much more immersive if the clarity of the environmental sound played into the tracking and combat aspects of the game. When players walk on metal or step in the snow, jump from an object or discharge a shell, the sound is not quite as poignant as on Combat Arms and that strips away elements of the game’s intensity. The game still features more realistic sound and ambiance than the likes of S4 League or Gunz, though.
Verdict: Combat Arms doesn’t have the same quality sound effects as A.V.A, the way the effects are used makes the game far more immersive and atmospheric.
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Round 3: Gameplay Diversity
Alliance of Valiant Arms features a handful of modes that range from team deathmatch to team survival. In between are escort missions, demolition and a sort of team-escape mode. Escort provides the most fun given that it’s not about deathmatch or blowing up a building, but it’s all about protecting (or attacking) a tank. This mixes up the gameplay as players have to use a variety of tactics to keep the tank moving while the opposing team has to use a variety of tactics to keep the tank immobile. The game’s three classes (rifleman, point-man and sniper) all come into play and each weapon packs a significant punch during the escort missions.
Combat Arms doesn’t really seem to favor one mode more than another for its gameplay, simply given all the variety tossed in. The modes range from quarantine (which is similar to Timesplitter’s Virus mode: where one player starts off infected and must infect everyone else) to a quest-based fireteam mode, in which players must complete a series of objectives in a point-to-point based map. In between are various modes like free-for-all deathmatch, demolition and capture the flag, all of which can be played on any of the game’s various maps. Nothing on the game quite measures up to A.V.A’s intense escort mode, though, but Combat Arms certainly has a palette of fragging goodness to keep just about any FPS gamer occupied for hours-on-end.
Verdict: A.V.A and Combat Arms both have generic shooting game modes, and while A.V.A has the original escort mode intact, Combat Arms offers up a few more options and a few more maps for those options. In the end, Combat Arms walks away the victor here.
Want more MMOFPS action? Be sure to check out the Bright Hub MMOFPS Game Directory.