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Hands-On Preview

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Driving (beta)

Humans (press)

Biomech (press)

Mutants (press)

Auto Assault: Hands-On Preview (Page 2 of 2)

Players must be in town, near one of three crafting plants with significant training to create items. Players are given lists of commodities required to fix a broken item they’ve found. Once engaged in crafting there is some excitement. Sometimes, no matter how well trained, crafting fails.

The skills in Auto Assault are based on the character class and race. Players progress through a normal “tree” format, which means that they can only have so many skill points in one area and must have one skill before they can progress to the next. Each character class has skills that aid in all forms of gameplay, from combat to crafting to support, and can be tuned efficiently to develop a well-rounded character.

So that’s how it works, but what do players do with their time? NPCs are everywhere, and I mean everywhere. They’re in the towns, out on the map, in the darkest crevices someone wouldn’t think to find NPCs. Why’s this matter? Well, 99% of them have missions for you.

When players approach an NPC and talk to them, a window appears that outlines the mission they have. Once accepted, it goes into the character’s journal which helps keep track of what missions have been accepted and need to be completed. This is important as players tend to have a lot of missions on the go at once. As each mission is selected, the HUD shows where to go and what must be done to to complete each phase.

The controls of the game are very straight forward. Players move forward with the arrow keys (or good ol’ WASD), and can see front weapon range in front of them (opposite for the rear). The turret weapon, which can target anything around the character, is controlled by the mouse. Every vehicle has a targeting system that allows its turret weapon to be locked onto a specific target so they can keep firing at it even if without facing it. This is also controlled by the mouse.

The rules of combat are governed by an RPG system. While the game has fast-action combat, it is not an FPS. Character, not player skill decide whether or not the shot actually hits the target and how much damage it does. That is not to say player skills do not matter. Combat moves quickly.

The HUD shows character skills, hit-points and power levels, as well as other bonuses chosen by the player to take advantage of, such as temporary boosts to certain systems, at a temporary loss to others.

Each of the three race approaches the world from a distinct outlook on the world. The way the story unfolds reflects this. Similar elements are obviously there in all three outlooks, but with a distinct slant. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be hard to follow the whole story and all of its elements, because every NPC throws out so much information. Some just have missions to complete, but others tell stories that help expand the overall plot and sometimes radically change its direction. However, there are a few major main NPCs of each race that deliver the main story, and players have the choice of how much story they want to read.

Outside of the actual story and missions, there is also a built in arena fighting portion of the game, where players pay an entry fee (of money from the game), enter the area and fight for prizes. On the beta servers, NetDevil has been holding tournaments. Hopefully these continue past launch.

Now, here’s the best part of the game. Players can never die. In certain areas of the game (mostly where NPCs are), there are repair pads that players park on to repair their vehicle for free. When a character’s health meter reaches zero, an airship lifts the wrecked vehicle out of the field and returns it to the last repair pad visited, absolutely free of charge.

Auto Assault has no friendly fire. Players can target other PCs out in the field, this is only for the sake of trading and identification, shots cannot be exchanged. The PvP options are limited to instanced areas.

When a character destroys an enemy or an inanimate object and it drops something they want, only they can pick it up, at least for a specific amount of time after it appears. Ninja looting is not an issue.

Auto Assault has something for nearly everyone. “Shoot ‘em up” type players will enjoy the fast action combat, crafty “plan your attack” player should fine a good depth to their experience, socializers have team-based missions, casual players can get some quick content and crafters have a surprisingly deep and complex system to explore. Auto Assault definitely captured my attention and left me wanting more.

- Andrew Cranston


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