Overall Score n/a
Full Metal Soccer
Itís time for me to wax philosophical, along the lines of, ďIf a tree falls in the forest and thereís nobody around to hear it, does it actually make a sound?Ē Likewise, if a multiplayer only game client arrives on the review desk and nobody is playing it, does the review count as a review, and furthermore does the client software even count as a game? Iím going to take the liberty of answering myself ďnoĒ and ďnoĒ on those two counts respectively.
The premise of the game is cool enough. Teams of players man armoured fighting vehicles and battle each other arena style with the sole aim of scoring goals. As in regulation soccer, a goal is registered when the ball passes over the goal line at either end of the field. But instead of a bunch of overpaid prima donnas rolling around on the ground every time a defender comes within a few feet of them, players are free to ram, shoot and blow up opposition tanks at a whim. It makes you wonder why FIFA donít adopt these rules in the real world. Even a hardcore Rugby League fan like myself would watch their silly World Cup if it were that good!
Sadly though, I never got the chance to play the game. The demo client software is supposedly fully featured and allows 2 full days of play to evaluate the game before purchase. Over those 2 days I logged onto the main servers over 6 times each day. On occasion I would leave the game client connected whilst I drove my tank around the arena for up to 30 or 40 minutes waiting for somebody, anybody to join my game. Not a sausage. Nothing for the whole 2 days.
It was fun for a while punting the ball around the field using the blast from my cannon, and then retrieving it using my tractor beam. I became a pro at dribbling the ball around using the prongs on the front of my tank. Trapped in a solitary existence, somewhere between David Beckham and General Patton, I learned the finer points of curling the ball around or chipping over obstacles by applying spin to the ball. With delicate blasts from my 88mm guns the ball became my brush on the canvas of the stadium. And nobody was there to see it. Cue the tumbleweeds.
The tanks handle quite well, WASD keys moving the main body along and the mouse used in typical first person shooter style to independently turn the turret and fire weaponry. I would have loved to have been able to test the combat mechanics and collision engine, but alas the missing ingredient of at least one other player cursed me yet again.
To make things worse the ground inside the stadium is covered with grasses and weeds that sway in the virtual breeze. Oh, the desolation of it all! Ironically, the stadium environment is very competently rendered and, despite a noticeable lack of anti-aliasing, looks very convincing. There are particle effects as your shells explode and the ball leaves something akin to a vapour trail as it flies around, making tracking it a much easier task.
Seriously, if youíre going to make an independent game multiplayer exclusively, then youíre taking a huge risk. Without bots or some other form of offline or even online single player mode the game will most likely fail miserably. The game was released in July, and if there is not a dependable player/fanbase now in October (which is apparently the case), then I think that itís fair to say that Full Metal Soccer is dead in the water.
Sad really, because it looks like it could be a really fun game to play. But it isnít a game, and this, correspondingly, is not a review.
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