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Massive multiplayer online third-person shooters aren’t common or frequently released due to the difficulty of designing something that has mass marketing appeal, a sustainable server infrastructure, and easily accessible game mechanics. Nevertheless, the available TPS games that are out there may or may not be worth your time depending on what you’re looking for: are you into hyper-fast action that requires quick reaction times and finger-numbing gameplay? Or are you into the the accuracy-heavy third-person shooters that rely more on teamwork and in-game skill-sets? Regardless of your preference, this three round bout will pit two of the most popular third-person online shooters out there (i.e., Gunz and S4 League) against each in the categories of originality, gameplay and guns, giving gamers a heads-up on what to expect from both titles.
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Round 1: Originality
Gunz The Duel: Visually the game doesn’t do anything new in the shooter genre. The character models and weapons are all pretty much standard fare designs, with the exception of a few daggers and swords that mimic the fantasy aspects of weapons seen in games like Final Fantasy. The prime factors of originality for Gunz falls within the ability to run up walls; run sideways on walls; fight in mid-air with swords and dual-wield a number of single-handed guns and blades. To this day there are still no other MMOs out there like Gunz, and only a few single-player games come close to rivaling its gameplay, such as Devil May Cry and Bayonetta.
S4 League: Everything about this game’s themes and aesthetics are original. Character customization is unique and varied; clothing options take on somewhat of a sci-fi appeal and the weapons, while limited, are equally as appealing. What differentiates S4 League from a lot of other games out there is the ability to equip and upgrade skills as well as participate in a few game modes not featured in other games, such as Chaser or Touchdown Ball. Even though the game lacks much of anything new when it comes to the actual shooting mechanics the game has enough original content in its premise and setup to set it apart from the competition.
The Verdict: This is an unbelievably close call, but I’m going to have to give this to S4 League. While the wall-running and dual-wielding is a remarkable feat for an MMO action game, the fact that S4 League boasts heavy customization and the option to receive high-grade equipment by spending money to watch a little robot dance gives it an edge over Gunz.
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Round 2: Gameplay
Gunz The Duel: Multiple reticule options, a variety of different weapons and a multitude of stages to bounce around on and run through makes Gunz one heck of an experience. The sword and dagger battles will keep many players on their toes and the ability to cling to any wall by using a melee weapon can help for hiding from opponents or getting to hard to reach places in order to snipe or lay down far-off fire on foes. A battle between two gunslingers can be as fun to play as it is to watch, especially if they know how to use the walls, the dodging and the stage to an advantage. The downside to Gunz is that the game has become widely renown for the K-style, D-style and Butterfly techniques, which is sure to put off a lot of new players who will have no idea whatsoever on how to defeat someone using any of the aforementioned styles.
S4 League: There really are no other games out there like S4 League when it comes to the gameplay, mainly because it’s so finely tuned with the ability to use a variety of weapons that all do their respective amounts of damage. It has a visual style similar to Jet Set Radio Future but with gameplay all its own. The awesome Chaser mode and virtual reality themes combined with the easy-to-use skill system gives S4 a leg up on a lot of the other action MMOs out there. The aiming and shooting system is pretty easy to get the hang of and the match balance makes for some intense rounds, especially in the football-inspired Touchdown Mode. The major downside to S4 League is that the SP bar limits dodging since the bar also shares with player skills. This means that if you dodge a lot, you can't apply your skill or vice versa. If you happen to run out of your SP during a heated shootout, there isn't too much that can be done other than hope you can land a few headshots before your opponent does tries to do the same thing.
The Verdict: Even though you can land easy head-shots and have a lot of fun in the various modes in S4 League, it doesn’t really compare to the intense wall-running battles and mid-air sword battles of Gunz: The Duel.
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Round 3: Weapons
Gunz The Duel: What’s a game called Gunz if it doesn’t have a lot of fun to use guns? Well, the good news is that the game has a ton of a guns to use and many of them are great to play around with. Whether you like a variety of revolvers, pistols, sub-machine guns, assault rifles, shotguns or rocket launchers, the ability to use all the cool guns and swords in the game make it a pretty worth while experience. The only problem is that some of the guns are rendered kind of useless in comparison to the dual SMGs that will trump just about any other weapon until players reach level 20.
S4 League: Unlike Gunz, there are only a few weapon categories available in the game. However, there is a huge variety of gun types within each category offering different effects and attributes. The melee weapons also range from baseball bats to swords and each weapon is a huge blast to use in the game because every weapon is effective in its own way and for different occasions. There isn’t one gun in the game that doesn’t have its use and that’s one of the best parts about S4 League.
The Verdict: Gunz has some awesome weapons, especially with some of the uniquely crafted swords in the game, but many of the guns fall short of effectiveness against some of the dual-wielding SMGs. However, with S4 League, given that all the weapons – not just the guns – have a purpose in the game gives it a fair lead over Gunz. So S4 takes the round.
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The Winner: S4 League
While it was no easy feat, the winner of this MMOTPS bout goes to the highly stylized S4 League. Yes, Gunz has more ways to battle opponents and the ability to use the environment as a tool to avoid being killed or as a way to get the jump on opponents, but S4 League has an appeal to everything that it offers, including the melee combat, the projectile combat and the variety of skills. S4 is just an all around original experience. This is not to say that Gunz: The Duel is not a cool game or that gamers shouldn’t check it out, because both games are actually very enjoyable. Nevertheless, just about anyone can pick up and play S4 and have tons of fun.