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One Hell of a Browser MMO

William Murphy Posted:
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Recently, the developers Supercell contacted us here at MMORPG.com to ask us to hop in the Gunshine Open Beta.  My first thought was: “I’ve never even heard of this thing.”  But after spending a good hour-plus inside the game, I think I can safely advise you all to go and check it out at your earliest convenience.  Browser games, by their very nature, may not be taken too seriously by hardcore gamers.  And yet Gunshine from Supercell is challenging that assumption.  Here is a ¾ view action-strategy MMO reminiscent of Shadowrun and the best games from Interplay and Troika’s heyday. 

The game is set in a somewhat near future on an artificially created island called Dawnbreak City.  Owned and operated by evil mega-corporation Labycore (headed by the sinister Sid Lovens), the city lures in its “guests” with promises of luxury, peace, harmony, you name it.  Once there though, people quickly find out just what kind of oppressive regime Lovens is running.  Crime, both organized and chaotic rules the city streets, and Labycore’s henchmen rule with an iron fist and bullets.  As a newly minted member of the Resistance it’s your job to bring down Labycore and Lovens and return peace and prosperity to Dawnbreak City.

The game’s action is entirely run by your browser, and your account can (and should) be linked up to your Facebook.  I say it should be because that’s probably the easiest way to get and maintain “friends” to team up with in Gunshine.  Like most Facebook-related games, there are small portions of the game’s map which can only be accessed if you have enough friends or have enough special armor or clothing bought from the game’s store.  Basically it’s a convoluted way to make sure you’re either playing with and sharing with others, or that you’re paying a few bucks here or there.  In my brief time with the game, the only area that wasn’t accessible to me was an area with four bazooka rounds I could have used but didn’t need to progress. 

And while I know the “cringe” is there when you think Facebook game, and spamming your friends, at least so far with Gunshine this isn’t the kind of game where you need to constantly ask for help to move on.  Your friends, should they accept your invite to become mercenaries, will be able to play with you and can be hired as “mercs” to fight alongside you making combat less of a chore and altogether more interesting.  Gunshine isn’t a typical MMO, as group play seems to be based off of the mercenary mechanic.  Even if your friends aren’t online, you can “borrow” them and the game AI will take control and emulate their playstyle.  This may be different as I get further into the game and experience more of the main city.  There is world chat though, and I’m told there’s a good deal of group content available later on too, with promise of much more to come.

The gameplay is pretty straightforward.  It’s all presented in a locked-angle ¾ view, similar to Ultima Online, but with some pretty awesome hand-drawn environments and decent 3D character models to boot.  It’s sort of a cross between cute and bloody as enemies hemorrhage and explosions make parts fly.  You control your character entirely with mouse-clicks a la Diablo, and your skills and menus are available via hotkeys.  There are three class-types ranging from tank to DPS and healer, and pretty much everyone will be using guns, explosives, and baseball bats… even the occasional clothing iron.  You can hold two weapons at once and switch between them with spacebar, so I was switching between firing off shotgun shells and walloping guys with baseball bats.  There’s also a bevy of consumable items from grenades to health-kits and bazookas throughout the game.  On top of what falls in-game from enemies, you can always buy some diamonds and spend them on stuff from the in-game store.  They’re mostly just the sorts of things to make the game easier though, and as far as I can tell Gunshine is all PVE so there’s no worry of “Pay-2-Win” from a competitive standpoint.

Gunshine is heavily quest and action focused, with a real slant towards presenting this story of the Resistance against Labycore.  I’m told there are several factions to help and fight for each with their own ideals as you get further in the game, and Supercell is promising an almost limitless supply of quests to go on top of their story-driven content.  The best thing I can say to do is to log on to Gunshine.net with your Facebook account and give it a try.  We’ll be doing a full review whenever it launches officially, and while I know there’s a lot left to test out in Gunshine, it seems like Supercell has made one hell of a fun browser MMO. 


William Murphy

Bill is the former Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.