Out in the killing field, you have a third party view behind your vehicle. In town you are on foot (with the character view that you create at the beginning when you start your character), again in a third party view. Movement on foot is ridiculously slow. It takes much longer to walk across towns to get from place to place because there is no "run" function. And while in your vehicle, you hardly ever reach speeds in excess of 100 MPH, which may seem fast, but some vehicles are very sensitive to the rough terrain, which cause you to bounce everywhere and sometimes lose complete control of your vehicle.
As I mentioned before, the game was initially designed for each class to contribute something to the entire convoy. Playing as a Bounty Hunter, most of my skills are of the defensive nature, causing blindness or stunning enemies. However, there is a good mix of skills for every class in the offensive, defensive, and passive nature.
When you die, the INC (which is just a big yellow ship) will come and pick you up and drop you off at the nearest repair station, free of charge. There are repair stations scattered around every map and driving over large pads will repair a portion of your health every few seconds (and this amount increases with every level). However, it still does take about 15-20 seconds to repair your vehicle, which seems kind of silly when the repair stations are all secluded away from enemies, and it would be better to just drive up and be fully repaired in a moment. Also, the game states that it will return you to the "nearest" repair station, when in fact it returns you to the last station visited. This is troublesome when you travel large distances and then die and have to make the trip all over again.
While the movement around in your vehicle is relatively quick, traveling long distances, especially across plains filled with enemies that will destroy you rather quickly, it can be difficult to travel across the map to get from town to town. The INC will transport you from town to town or map to map for a small fee (which increases depending on your level) and I have used this feature quite a bit, especially across places where I know I'll die if I try to drive through it. It would be nice to be able to travel from repair station to repair station, making it a little easier to travel inside maps if you really need to just go and get something done.
All in all, the game is relatively enjoyable to play. There are many challenges to face, and even though the missions can get a little boring after a while, there are always new monsters to face and new areas to explore.
Because the servers aren't yet hounded by a multitude of users, the lag is pretty good. However, sometimes when traveling from map to map, the game has timed me out and made me return to the menu and have to log in again. This is especially troublesome if I paid an amount of money to travel, and get timed out, and had to go back to where I began and not get that money back. The overall performance of the servers are fine; as good as they can be considering the graphics issues.
As I said previously, the user base is still quite low, but the people I have met in the field have enhanced the game play significantly, and the arena experience (PvP fighting in tournament style) is quite enjoyable, if you can manage to get on during a time when there's anyone around looking to battle.
My dealings with the people at NCSoft have been all positive. All my questions were answered and all of my issues were dealt with quickly and efficiently. There's a lot of great information on the forums as well.
When you purchase the game, you get 14 day free trials for a bunch of other NCSoft games (including a trial for AA that you can give to a friend), which I think is well worth the money and a great idea for the company to promote their other games. However, some users remain concerned about the idea of a highly instanced game carrying a box cost and a subscription fee.
I am currently playing a Human Bounty Hunter at Level 31, and have not been able to train myself to any crafting skills beyond 20 in any area for lack of finding items from junk vendors that allow me to train my skills. Crafting seems to be the major fault of the game, and the fact that the single player experience can get kind of boring when all the missions are the same. The game is very unique as a driving RPG, similar to the experience you get from Twisted Metal with a whole lot more options, and I would recommend it the next time a free trial rolls around, but as it exists right now, I would wait until the bugs are worked out before the game will get any major user base.
Andrew passes a special thanks to John, whom he gave his 14 day trial to and whose feedback helped shape the final review.