Ready To Be A Mercenary?
Uforia’s recent journey into the MMOFPS genre is rendered in the results of Mercenary Wars, a modern era shooter with a bit of a twist to its gameplay. While most of the common era MMO shooter games consist of eight-on-eight team deathmatch battles, and occasionally feature the option to do PvE missions, Mercenary Wars takes the concept one step further by allowing players to intermix AI into just about any match. This creates a unique new atmosphere for the MMOFPS genre, but how well does the rest of the game hold up?
Gameplay (4 out of 5)
Much like any other MMO shooter out there, the core of the gameplay consists of shooting, reloading and killing. It’s that simple. Out of every MMOFPS I’ve played, though, Uforia has managed to make Mercenary Wars about as new-player friendly as humanly possible.
The starting weapons are easy to aim and the recoil is completely forgiving to non-hardcore gamers. The setup also allows players to customize each room by designating bots to either team or both teams. This also means that gamers can have an entire team composed only of bots while the opposing team consists only of players.
While the options sound nice the problem is that the game falls victim to a heck of a lot of bugs and glitches. During one bout all the players became invulnerable and the match became deadlocked because neither players nor bots would die. In another round the lag continually had players and bots appearing, disappearing and reappearing in various areas, which made it nearly impossible to get a kill.
In addition to this, the game requires players to connect to the host of each room, which means that the ping will vary to the host’s connection and – here’s the best part – the weapon firing is attached to the latency of the room. So if the room is laggy, your weapon will lag. That becomes a major annoyance during an intense battle. However, the gameplay balance, weapon firing and overall setup of the in-game atmosphere easily makes the combat in Mercenary Wars one of the best in the MMOFPS genre.
Weapon Balance (5 out of 5)
A lot of shooters have problems when it comes to balancing a set of weapons to a specific map or a specific mode to a set of weapons. On small deathmatch stages in A.V.A players wielding a shotgun were at an advantage and in the quarantine mode in Combat Arms, riflemen were at an advantage. In Mercenary Wars, all the weapons actually behave quite well in every map.
One of the high points for the weapons’ balancing is that the maps are very, very fine-tuned for each and every weapon scenario. There are also a heck of a lot of cover points throughout each map in Mercenary Wars that allow players to shoot and duck, or peep around a corner and lay down suppression fire; surprisingly enough, these tactics actually work.
My biggest complaint about the weapons in the game is that none of them can be modified. It’s a major pain given that there is actually a decent variety of each class of assault rifles, sniper rifles, sub machine guns and shotguns. However, given that none of the weapons can be modified, it really dampens the feel of owning a customized gun, suited to personal taste.
Graphics And Audio (1 out of 5)
Most gamers won’t be impressed with Mercenary Wars’ visual quality, and the game certainly doesn’t look as good as Alliance of Valiant Arms, Sudden Attack or Cross Fire. The guns also don’t sound very realistic but they sound doable enough. The graphics…well, they look kind of awful. The first-person hand models are simply hideous and the weapon designs look rather bland. The reloading animations aren’t entirely revolting but they really do look amateurish in comparison to a lot of other free-to-play shooting games out there. On the plus side, all of the stages contain a heck of a lot of detail, especially the museum stage, which almost has readable text for the descriptions for each of the artifacts on display.
The music in the game is a complete travesty. It sounds like low-quality, military fanfare that just doesn’t come together well at all. Now usually, I’m fairly forgiving to the aesthetics in a game, but Mercenary Wars’ graphics and audio are just epic fail.
Concept (4 out of 5)
Being able to peep around corners is a nice concept for a game like this, but its execution is rather poor, as players will actually have to stick their body out a bit too far to make use of it. The bots are a welcomed addition, save for some of the glitchy results of them running in circles or aiming whimsically around as if trying to play connect-the-dot with the clouds in the sky.
The only concept that actually seemed to work correctly was the personalized stat upgrades. As players level and unlock new content, the option to upgrade stats becomes available, including modifying running speeds, weapon proficiency and defenses for the head and body. It’s a fairly deep stat system that will see savvy players making good use of it for characters that might be able to run really fast but have low defense or characters who can tank a lot of shots but are slow as a tortoise. The combinations for building a character in Mercenary Wars is impressive, the only downside is that visually there aren’t a lot of options to customize the look and feel of the characters.
Overall (2 out of 5)
The concept of including optional bots works quite well within the frame of the game’s design, especially for the spacious maps and diverse locations. The cover points scattered throughout each of the stages and the character upgrade system were implemented nearly perfectly, but the game itself suffers from some major setbacks. The bot glitches; forcing players to host games with the possibility of unreliable lag issues; the shoddy leaning system and the lack of weapon modifications really hindered the game’s aim for greatness.
In time, and with a few patches, Mercenary Wars could easily become of the best MMOFPS games out there. If they manage to add a detailed weapon modification system like Operation 7 or Combat Arms, then there would be no denying that Mercenary Wars will be a great game. However, until the patches arrive Uforia’s Mercenary Wars could best be summed up as a fun experience with cool concepts that were executed rather poorly.