Project E May Changed the Definition of an MMO / MMOTPS
There has been a lot of debate over what determines a game for being classified as an MMO. Often times the correlation of an MMO is stigmatized with role-playing games, despite the fact that the emerging genres within the MMO category have become big hits as of late. While some may argue that games like Acony’s Parabellum or Nexon’s Combat Arms fail to meet the standard of being an MMO, they do actually suit the requirements of the description: persistent characters; stat leveling; items and upgrade; pvp; and guild organizations. In fact, another game which has come under scrutiny for consideration of an MMO is GameHi’s impressive looking MMOTPS (i.e., massive multiplayer online third-person shooter), called Project E, which mirrors the likes of Epic’s original Gears of War for the Xbox 360. It’s just one of many new MMO projects by the South-East Asian Company and it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on.
One of the things that make GameHi’s Project E an interesting MMO is that it allows for players to congregate on the servers for some frag-fests against NPCs or other players with intense, war-oriented combat. The game also grants players the option to choose from various character classes and loadouts and then partake in mission-based raids, loot runs and boss battles in fully interactive environments, for anywhere between 8 and 16 players per raid. In a way, it’s a lot like doing an instanced dungeon quest with a guild party, the only difference is that the game takes place in real-time, so quick-thinking and fast reflexes are a must.
Huxley or GunZ?
One of the things GameHi also pointed out about Project E – in regards to it being unique and different from other games – is that it crosses into the realm of offering everything that makes an MMO fun, yet it breaks down the questing into sessions that are entirely scenario based. So it’s like every raid is fueled by story-motivated scenarios, rather than just logging into the game and blasting down any and everything in sight.
Now the company has yet to clearly verify if the game will operate a lot like Huxley, in which case it’s an MMO with an evolving world where players freely walk around in non-combat zones with hundreds of other players – despite the fact that combat in Huxley is broken down into instanced areas with a limited amount of players being pitted against other players – or if Project E will operate like other online pseudo-MMOs such as GunZ or CrossFire, in which case thousands of players log into designated chat-lobbies and choose missions to go on together or against one another.
Whichever method of player-amalgamation GameHi uses, it certainly is the sort of game that has favorable highlights in several areas that could easily make it a breakout hit in the online-multiplayer category for 2010. For instance, Project E features dynamic RPG stat leveling, experience points and classes. So players can easily upgrade and maximize the effectiveness of their chosen class by questing or battling other players in PvP arenas. Some of the available classes include: Sniper, Combatant, Operator, Gatling, Heavy Artillery and Assaulter.
Each character class offers gamers something a little unique within the actual gameplay structure. Players will need to work together and use each of their skills effectively to defeat enemies, bosses or other teams. During the quests players will also loot just like any other dungeon-crawling MMO, defeating enemy mobs to uncover items, armor and upgrades.
One of the key highlights in the fact sheet that GameHi released stated that this game would be different from console-based action games because it would implement the extremely difficult boss battles from MMOs into the general battle concept. In a way, you could say that third-person shooting is being put into an MMO setting, or you could say that an MMO setting is being put into a third-person shooter. Regardless, the bosses will be monstrously huge in Project E and it will require all party members to team up, work together and use strategy and brute force to take down the bosses in the game. It certainly sounds like an interesting concept and seems to borrow a bit of the co-op mechanics from Insomniac’s Resistance 2 (i.e., up to eight-players could cooperatively do campaign missions together). The only difference is that in Project E team members will be vastly rewarded with rare drops for defeating bosses. So it’s not like fighting a really tough monster will go unrewarded.
Gears Of War Combat
As stated earlier in the article, the game’s combat is very much like Gears of War. The characters are fully customizable but they still retain a bit of that hulking, overly-muscled look that made Epic’s third-person masterpiece a treasured piece of gaming history. Weapon usage is also very similar to GoW, insofar of how the characters shoot, switch weapons and sprint. Ultimately, this is a good thing considering that most of the stages appear to take place in desolated urban environments and through segments of war-torn cities. So the gritty, movie-feel that Project E’s visuals emit really help sell the game as being an immersive, post-apocalyptic, online experience.
Now the only thing that has been sparsely discussed is the variety of weapons that will be available in the game. We do know that weapon classes will obviously be available, such as sniper rifles, shotguns, assault rifles and machine guns, but how many of each weapon will be available and whether they can be fully customized was not revealed.
There are a lot of neat features in this game that are definitely worth exploring and I’m sure MMO gamers looking for more action in their online experience will be stoked to play this game when it finally becomes available.
GameHi’s Project E will begin alpha-testing soon and will be widely available to North American PC gamers in early 2010.
For more MMOFPS action and games within this genre be sure to check out Bright Hub’s MMOFPS Game Directory.