Built by Crytek and launching back in 2013, Warface has managed to secure a solid following on PC. The military class-based shooter has managed to gain around 40 million registered users and has maintained solid numbers since launch.
While it did have a release on the Xbox 360, the climate for free-to-play games was not as vibrant as it is today. Now in 2018, Warface is taking another stab at the console market, launching for PlayStation for this August.
Walking into the gameplay session held in downtown San Francisco, I was unsure of what to think of the game. Save for a few, I have personally never been a huge fan of Free-to-Play games in the past. While I think they have merit and offer players a way to experience a game for no up-front cost, I often feel the overall experience is limited. Warface had not been on my radar for this reason. It always had the feel of another Call of Dutyor Battlefield style game. Yet, after around two hours with the game, it is clear Warface has a level of depth, craftsmanship, and quality that far exceeds its asking price.
Launching up the game at my station, I was struck by the visual fidelity on offer. Yes, free-to-play no longer means cutting corners or poor visual fidelity, quite the contrary actually, but the level of polish on display in the early build was still impressive. The overall experience from menus to the HUD and feel of the gameplay made Warface feel very polished, especially considering it was pre-release code.
There are some great touches that make Warface stand out from the competition, beyond the low barrier to entry that is. The reliance on classes and the way Warface forces you to work as a team make the overall experience rewarding and nuanced. Warface straddles the line between tactical shooter and the free-for-all games currently on the market, and it does so beautifully.
As one would expect, all the classes are typical shooter fare: sniper, rifleman, engineer, and medic. All have a very specific role to play on the team, and all need to work in tandem to triumph over an opposing force. The rifleman, for example, takes the role of the heavy gunner of the group and will replenish ammo should it be needed, but they have no recourse for healing fallen members, and their ability to take down distance targets is mediocre at best. It is only when you have a good balance and are able to work together that the true enjoyment of Warface can be found.
Jumping into some quick team-based PvP, I got a sense for how Warface played, and how the guns and movement felt. It was evident the team working on the game have some experience in the genre, and that attention to detail showed. Guns felt like they had weight, each with an identifiable feel, and movement felt solid. Overall, Warface stands heads and shoulders above most military free-to-play FPS options and even is within shooting distance of the AAA range of games.
A unique selling point for Warface is the Specialist Operations missions. These PvE segments take you and four other members of your team on challenging segments that can take anywhere from 40-60 minutes to run through fully. Jumping in and shooting down helicopters, fighting through the trees, and working to take down an invading force was truly enjoyable. While we did not manage to make it longer than 30 minutes in, it managed to sell me on the potential of Warface.
The second Specialist Operations mission the group tried was one with cyborg zombies. This was the one aspect of the demo that did not grab me. While the overall gunplay and team mechanics all felt good, the mindless zombie-like enemies did not do the game any favours. They felt out of place and tedious to deal with. This mission seemed to be an outlier, with most of the mission types coming across as challenging, tactical, and interesting. Not every game needs a zombie segment. It does nothing for the mechanics, and does not push with the game does well, squad tactics and teamwork, in any meaningful way.
While the PvP was enjoyable, it was this segment that really made Warface seem engaging, and I could see myself and some of my friends jumping into these sort of missions on a weekly basis, working to improve our scores and making it through the missions.
As with any free-to-play game, there is a concern that you will need to spend money to have any sort of enjoyable experience. Thankfully, the team at Warframe are standing by the concept that anything available to purchase will only be cosmetic. You can still have a fun, rewarding experience by just downloading the game and jumping in. The game has held true to this promise since the initial launch in 2013, so it is a good bet that they will continue honouring this concept moving forward into the console launch.
It is hard to dive into such a feature rich package with just two hours with of gameplay, but from what I have seen Warface on the PlayStation 4 is shaping up to be an exciting release. There are countless hours of content, thanks to the years of releases on the PC, and with more being pushed out continuously, new players to Warface will have no shortage for gameplay experiences.
Warface is releasing a closed beta for the PlayStation 4 this month, with early access launching August 14. The full release is slated for September on both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles.
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