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E3 2006 Preview

Danielle Vanderlip Posted:
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Waiting for Huxley: Danielle Vanderlip's E3 look at this MMOFPS

I know I’m a bit late on this one but I’ve had to play a little catch up on a few things. This is one I didn’t want to pass up writing about however since I’ve been taking a look at it since I first learned of the game. I’m talking about Webzen’s MMOFPS Huxley, loosely based or at the least inspired by Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World”. Don’t get confused though, this is not a “Brave New World” but just an inspiration. The storylines are not the same but it is a “Brand New World”.

Huxley touts itself as a cross-platform interactive game using the Unreal 3 graphics engine and will be available on both the PC and the XBox 360. Players from PC and from the XBox will be able to go toe to toe and maybe at last we’ll find out who are the better FPS players. Players on PC will be able to choose the side of the Sapiens or the Alternatives. On the XBox 360 players will be able to play as a part of the Human Liberation Organization (HLO) and fight against the Sapiens and Alternatives in order to “unshackle the oppressed Hybrids”

While Huxley is an FPS it also has the MMO aspect going for it. There will be in-game quests that allow players to learn more about the world they live in as well as obtain new skills and weapons. Here’s a little snippet from their site that tells a little about the storyline.

In near future, Nuclearites bombard the World. Destructive earthquakes, massive tidal waves and dramatic climate changes wreak havoc around the globe, isolating continents and driving the human race into chaos. Those who survive the destruction dream of tranquility, but an eruption among the human race and the appearance of horrible mutants drives the world into further disorder. Racism and oppression cause rebellious uprisings and war that divide the landscape between two powers: Sapiens and Alternative, At the heart of the war emerges a powerful energy source the Lunarites created by Huxley, a scientist and possible savior.

Both factions seek glory and victory, fighting mercilessly for the Lunerites and their very existence.

At E3 I got a chance to lay my hands on the game itself and try out the small section they had up for people to check out. Once more, our gracious host was Chris “Vosx” Mancil and I was anxious to give the game a go.

I need to explain one of my strange quirks when I try a new game. I do things oddly. That’s the only way to explain it. I purposely am a gimp for the first bit. Someone on the floor came by as I was checking the game out and while Sean “Ashen Temper” Dahlberg and Chris were on another machine looking at the game. He seemed to believe I was a total newbie and started giving some advice. I don’t mind getting advice when I’m actually trying to play. I mind when I’m just testing the waters a bit. I think perhaps he had the assumption that I needed advice as I attempted things like jumping through a window. “You can’t jump out windows,” he said. I had tried shooting one out and no dice. “You need to turn around to get out,” He said as I gimply attempted to back down the stairs to get the feel for how it handled down the stairs and around the corners as if you’re in a firefight. “It’s ok,” I said. “I used to play competitively. I swear there is a method to my madness,” I had to tell him.

The game handles as smooth as you’d like. It has that intuitive Unreal Tournament feel. It’s a bit awkward on the backup but I’m not sure how much of that was because I had an observer that was assessing whether or not I needed a straight jacket.

The environments are what you expect in an FPS as well. It’s high quality and clean with some great textures to give it that realistic feel you’ve come to expect in a game. It’s a nice piece of work. Also outside were ships you could use for transport around the map. I have to admit one of my weaknesses is flying. I do all right enough but I bumped into more than one building as I worked on getting a feel for the lift of the thing. I was told that you could not fly over the buildings but had to go around. I think that was wrong however because later I was able to once I had enough loft to actually clear from a distance away. Maybe it’s all just down to the handling.

There’s not a whole lot I can tell you about the game beyond a few minutes of play. There are capture points you can get and of course defend as you move about. The demo we saw was limited but when I took my hands off the keyboard I had those after ‘twitches’ we all know and love after playing a good FPS. Does Huxley rate as a good FPS? I think it could very easily especially with the MMO aspects tied in.

This game is on my watch list. It looks good. It feels good. One of the few things I didn’t like that I’ve gotten used to with games like Unreal Tournament was the alternate fire on weapons. Huxley didn’t have this capability. I’m sure it’s something I can get over provided I am given enough variety of weapons and skills, which I’m assured Huxley, will have.

When will Huxley release? They claim to have it ready for 2007. I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt since they actually had a working demo in their booth and it looked good and felt good. I think they are well on their way. With the right handling this could be THE MMOFPS people have been waiting for. I am in the ‘Wait and See’ club but I’m hoping the seeing will make many others and me believers.

Editor's Note: Danielle Vanderlip is the Assistant Community Manager for Shadowbane and covered E3 for us.

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Danielle Vanderlip