Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Global Agenda: Decidedly Flimsy

You can easily to get caught up in playing the game and forget that it has no story (though it pretends occasionally to), involves an arbitrary vertical advancement timesink, has "loot" that is unappetizing, has a funky auto-matching system that is a crapshoot in general (even though I'm sure it is pretty good for what it is), mediocre level design, and uninspired PvP and PvE modes. The game is fairly generic and uninviting unless you actually want to play Global Agenda because you've heard specifically about the few good parts.

"If you ignore the gaping holes in this sweater, it's actually quite a nice article of clothing!"

GA is a tactical third-person shooter, but at night when no one is around it dresses up as an MMO. Sometimes, in fits of extreme fantasy, it fancies itself as a real MMORPG.

But this is nonsense. Whenever you get into a match, it’s clear the game is a shooter. It’s skill-based, relatively fast-paced, and tactical. HiRez would need to severely alter the game to make it a recognizable MMORPG—it’s never going to happen, and if it does it would alienate most of the players who play it now.

Regardless of how much HiRez and the game’s fans trumpet how the game is some kind of MMORPG/FPS hybrid, don’t be fooled. This game plays like a shooter, not an MMORPG. Tacking on character advancement doesn't magically make the game an RPG, let alone an MMORPG. Adding crafting and naming a cooperative mode “PvE'” doesn’t convince any but those who very much want to be convinced.

GA is a game trapped between two worlds. Overall the game is "blah". The individual aspects of the game don’t cohere well, the interface isn't particularly good, and I generally get a directionless feeling from the game's design--or perhaps its the feeling that there are too many directions and nothing is taken far enough. Is the game an MMO, or a competitive FPS? Is it supposed to be some kind of RPG? I don’t know—all I know is that when I play a match, I have fun playing a tacitcal third-person shooter.

I find playing in individual matches is fun, but everything on a wider scale is “meh”. The game is less than the sum of its parts. The difference between subscription-free play and the Conquest mode style that you pay to play is too awkward—Conquest isn’t particularly fulfilling, but it’s the only place you can play with a full organized team of players instead of being stuck in a group of 4 queuing to be thrown into pick-up groups of ten players.

I hope HiRez can move the game forward, though. I'm enjoying this skeleton of what a future GA should be.


Anonymous said...

That's a meaningful review. It's harsh... quite harsh... but honest and incisive. Well done.

Robert said...

I heard that's it is not even a real FPS. In that even if your aim is perfect, your skills and thus a random number generator determine if you hit or not.
Is this true?

motstandet said...

Most FPS have random bullet spreads or loss of accuracy as a result of "kick back". Yes, talents can help tighten the spread and accuracy, but you still need to put the enemy in the reticle.

I've never experienced a gross inaccuracy on account of the RNG. I missed because I wasn't aiming at the target.

Rer said...

Have you seen the updates planned for GA? 10 man queues for PvP are one of the many upcoming changes to the game.

Sure, GA isn't perfect, but I think you are being a little harsh on all of the elements.

Have you tried Double Agent or really participated in AvA? It has more meaning when you actually own a piece of the world in my opinion.

Logan said...

for what it is, GA is not too bad... if you go in expecting Planteside 2.0 then you'll be disappointed... but if you go in with reasonable expectations it's actually a pretty solid game.

but what's really important is that it has everything necessary for a decent, tactical 3rd person shooter... and it has a solid foundation to build on and add more MMO-like elements to really set it apart from other similar games... it's one of those games that is only going to get better with time...

this is also a game where having a heavy MMO background makes you extremely biased... the average player picking up GA will have a radically different view of the game than us MMO junkies.

i'm seeing a lot of GA hate on this blog lately... but the fact that you're giving it so much attention (even though it's mostly negative) is a promising sign.... i'd be willing to bet you guys will still be playing off and on a few months from now.

evizaer said...

If you go in expecting the game you get when you pick up any new game, you'll be happy.

As critical gamers, Mot and I see the idiosyncrasies and foibles in any game we play. It just so happens we're playing Global Agenda, so that's where we see issues now.

I give GA a generally favorable review, but with the caveat that it's not all here yet. The partial implementations of some of the game's features are quite flimsy, hence the title of the post.

Void said...

Good analysis of the shortcomings in Global Agenda. You were spot-on with all the things that really bugged me when trying to play it.

I think that the trend in MMOs to release before they are finished is really disconcerting. We are seeing it more and more.

I have a post up that discusses unfinished games in more detail.