The genre-bending MOBA title, Hyper Universe, entered its closed beta today.
South Korea’s video game giant Nexon, the publisher behind Maple Story, Lawbreakers (Cliff Bleszinski’s upcoming game), and First Assault (the online FPS based on the Ghost in the Shell franchise); announced today that their North American arm will be the worldwide publisher for the first title to come out of First Strike Games.
Fans of the free-to-play MMO RPG Riders of Icarus have something to look forward to as it is getting a content update, titled Corruption of Light, on March 22, 2017.
Nexon and developer Neople have released Evil Factory, a mobile top-down action game that combines a retro 80’s art style and an original electronic soundtrack with challenging modern arcade gameplay.
During its Early Access release, PC players branded Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – First Assault as a poor shooter that couldn’t even get the basics of the genre right. Despite the harsh criticism, a core fan base developed to support the title and help solve the issues. Now the game is free-to-play and will soon be exiting the beta stage as a solid multiplayer shooter for fans of the critically acclaimed anime.
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – First Assault is a tactical multiplayer shooter similar to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. If you’re a player that likes to run-and-gun instead of calmly checking corners, then expect to be killed a lot because it only takes a couple precise shots before you’re left staring at the respawn timer. If you want to become a powerful player then you need to choose an effective operative, customize a number of situational loadouts, and learn to play the objective with your team instead of as a lone wolf.
Each of the playable operatives from Section 9 features a unique skill for players to use across the three core gametypes of First Assault. To use one of these powerful abilities, players need to charge their skill meter by taking out opponents or contributing to the objective. Each skill has two tiers of power and it’s up to the player if they want to use the ability early to benefit their own situation or fully charge it to benefit the team. For example, choosing the always-elegant Major Kusanagi gives you the ability to become invisible and stealthily take out enemies. However, charging the ability to tier two will establish a skill-link, allowing other operatives to copy your skill and go invisible with you, adding more depth to the cooperative team play. You can also further enhance your operatives by installing temporary perks like sleight-of-hand and faster charging speed.
One of the most satisfying parts of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – First Assault is how you can customize your weapon loadout. Players are provided with a standard assault rifle, SMG and sniper rifle the moment they log in and can customize them by purchasing a number of diverse attachments—or completely different weapons—with the in-game currency. Thankfully, none of the purchasable weapons I tried felt over-powered compared to the standard issue equipment. Those who invest money in the game will have access to a more diverse selection of guns and skins, but a competent newbie will still be able to perform just as well and win firefights. There are no pay-to-win elements in this game.
The three core gametypes of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – First Assault are Team Deathmatch, Demolition and Terminal Conquest. Outside of the standard TDM, Demolition is a reskinned Counter-Strike game mode that has one team trying to plant a bomb while the other defends until one team wins six rounds. Terminal Conquest is the mode I had the most fun with, even though it is essentially the headquarters mode from Call of Duty. The reason why this mode was so much fun is because if you play the objective by capturing the contested points around the map, you have the chance to deploy your personal AI spider-tank, the Tachikoma. These child soldier-like AI’s pack a lot of firepower and are one of the most helpful forces you have during Terminal Conquest because they take the aggro away from your team. Each team can deploy only one tank at a time, but I enjoy their inclusion because it’s another addition to the gameplay that makes me feel like I’m playing in the Ghost of the Shell universe.
Outside of the Tachikoma though, there’s not much in First Assault that makes you feel like you’re playing a true Ghost in the Shell game. Even though the fan-favourite characters are played by their original English voice-actors from the anime, there’s no conversations or playful banter between them to make you feel like you’re really kicking ass as Major Kusanagi or Batou. The artstyle does look cyberpunk-esque, but I would have loved to see some beautiful cel-shading to really bring out the life of the setting and characters instead of the generic graphics we’ve seen done better from other shooters in recent years.
From the first-impressions I heard from early-access users, I expected Ghost in the Shell-First Assault to be another addition into the endless abyss of poor shooters. I’m happy that it has developed a solid foundation with thanks to the hardcore fan base, but as a fan of the anime, I feel disappointed that the soul of Ghost of the Shell appears to be absent. More dialogue or even a cooperative game-mode to make you feel like you’re playing as the infamous members of Section 9 would go a long way into developing the lack of character the game suffers from. That being said, if you’re in the market for a good free-to-play sci-fi shooter, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – First Assault is definitely a game worth recommending to newcomers and one that should be revisited by the first wave of players who gave up on it.
If you didn’t pay for the early access version of the game on Steam, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex- First Assault Online will be taking the next steps in its development by going free-to-play open beta on Thursday July 28.
Before the game enters this stage however, interested players will be able to participate in the free weekend event, “Major Reflection”, and compete for a chance to win exclusive skins. The game is being developed by NeoPle and published by Nexon. First Assault originally released on the marketplace to multiple negative reviews, but the game has undergone a number of new implemented changes influenced by Early Access players.
First Assault is an online, squad based shooter taking place in the same universe as the critically acclaimed anime, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Players play as eight cyber-enhanced operatives across three main game types. With the game entering its open beta state at the end of July, the game will receive a new update that includes a new original operative along with a new game type that involves the shooters newly developed hacking mechanics.
For readers unfamiliar with NeoPle, they are responsible for developing other multiplayer-based games such as Dungeon Fighter and the Korean exclusive, Cypher. First Assault is their first attempt at developing a first-person shooter as well as their first game involving an official anime property.
Nexon announced today that Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – First Strike is free for Steam users to try this weekend, from April 28th to May 1st.
Nexon announced Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – First Assault Online (First Assault) will be available to play on Steam in the near future.
Publisher Nexon has sold off it’s 15.08% of NCSoft for $533 Million. This move ends a four year attempt on the part of Nexon to take over gaming rival NCSoft.
Cliff Bleszinski is no stranger to mainstream gaming. While at Epic Games he worked on some of the biggest franchises at that company and most famously worked on Gears of War.
What do you get when you mix elements from games like Team Fortress 2, Counter Strike, and Quake: Enemy Territory?