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Hands On Preview: Fuel-Packed & Ammo-Laced

Johnathan Irwin Posted:
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You guys may not know me well enough yet, so here's a little info. I love the idea of the post-apocalypse in gaming worlds. Whether it's the Fallout's bleak but culturally retro outlook on life after a nuclear war, a biblical comeuppance as in the Darksiders series, or an often overlooked one that I like to call a Motor Hell; where circumstances have for one reason or another lead pockets of humanity to use cars, trucks, and anything else with an engine as the modern day chariot as they fight for survival over dwindling resources. We've seen it in Mad Max, in various auto combat cames like Twisted Metal, Roadkill, and Vigilante 8, and even the now forgotten Interstate 76. Now, we have a new addition to keep an eye on, and this fuel packed and ammo laced package is called Crossout.

Tribes Of The Future

It's pretty safe to say that if we don't all blow eachother up, the next most likely thing to blow human civilization apart would come in the form of rampant disease. Such is the case when a deadly pandemic hits the globe, in an event known as the Crossout, decimating governments, infrastructure, and society as a whole the world over. 20 years later, and survivors of the plague have evolved, shells of humanity now riding the hellscape that was once the beautiful wilds and bustling streets of the earth they once knew. These survivors now with a tribal mentality, form roving bands of hell-on-wheels as they build machines of death from the ground up and do what humanity does best; kill eachother. It's a bleak future, but it makes for one hell of a fun ride.

Craft. Ride. Destroy.

That's the mantra for Crossout, and it's as fitting as it could possibly be. Starting from a basic vehicle, players will start unlocking parts as they play the game through PVP combat missions, and PVE Raids as well as daily and weekly quests. Starter vehicles are often targetted by veteran players who can pick out a newbie when they spot one, but there's often enough AI in a match as well that you can level up at a decent pace and still stand a chance of winning (especially when accompanied by veteran players yourself.). Since I started playing, I've gone from a starting truck to a slightly beefier version of said-truck, to making my own machine of death that I affectionately call a Deathcrawler due to its slow speed, but hard punching firepower

Combat itself is as gratifying as it is frustrating. Some people will decimate you with vehicles that seem like they should absolutely not work. More than once was I slaughtered by a player riding around in what I could affectionately call a clown car, that somehow did in my Deathcrawler by using melee weapons to pin against me and milk my health down because of a blindspot I wouldn't have predicted anyone using a vehicle small enough to reach. But, more than once did I slowly enter the battlefield raining hell from afar and annhilating anyone foolish enough to try to go toe-to-toe in a frontal push towards my vehicle.

Crossout, is a game for the player with a mind on strategy as much as it is for one with a mind on looks. As I build, rebuild, and take new creations to the drawing board I'm always trying to come up with the 'perfect' design to get an edge on the competition. But that's the beauty of Crossout, so far I've seen that any design always has room for improvement. In other games, there's been a clear definite where after a while you'd see people utilizing the exact same set up to where the game doesn't even feel fun anymore, it's just everyone copying eachother.

Of Crossout, I can say I've not seen that here. Even when encountering the clown-cars of my demise, they were always switched up in a way that I could almost hear a player seeing another design and going "That's good, but here's what would make it better" and then putting their own spin on it. Vice versa, for my own Deathcrawler I've seen other people with their own crawler designs that all vary to try to maximize both firepower and armor given that speed had to be sacrificed.

I wish I could say that the PVE gave me as much of a thrill as the PVP, but in PVE it doesn't really matter how you build your vehicles as your team is likely to just slaughter the AI with overwhelming firepower anyway; but it is a good way to test out your mobility and how quickly you can wear down an enemy target. I do hope they improve on it in the future, and make these 'raids' feel like actual raids and not just an afterthought to the PVP content.

A Bad Feeling Or A P2W Nightmare?

It's too early to tell, but with a game that is to include a marketplace that involves both trading and currency and archetypes that will be buyable in the future, it's easy for that option to go from a convenient way to get things quicker to necessary. I've seen many fun games end up suffering due to currency based advantages, and while I'm hoping this won't be the case I can tell you right now; being given one of the Archetypes when given access to this to preview, did put me at a distinct advantage in that I had more parts to customize with earlier on, including a massive cannon which I still use on my Deathcrawler.

On The Horizon

With an Open Beta coming soon, more players will be able to jump in and spin their tires and we'll see the population boom. For the most part, I think Crossout is a unique enough alternative for those who want a car combat game to welcome many with open arms. It's that worry about the currency shop I can't shake just yet. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy the rest of this closed beta and I hope to see some of you readers in the open beta.


Johnathan Irwin