By – Carlin Au
An old school shooter built on the amazing CryEngine 3. Sounds like a magnificent idea, doesn’t it? Surely, a combination of the new and old is bound to produce something beautiful. I’m afraid it’s only a gimmick as the engine just creates a blur around everything the player sees. Not exactly viable for a fast-paced Quake-style game. This coupled with a small amount of players, Nexuiz simply falls short.
Lately, a lot of old school shooters have returned like Tribes and Serious Sam. Though different from Nexuiz, it’s good to see that they’ve begun to make a return in the age of military shooters. Nexuiz, an arena FPS, does well in its effort to bring back that fast-paced action seen in games like Quake. The weapons are satisfyingly powerful, the maps are symmetrical for easy maneuvering, the player’s health doesn’t regenerate, and movement feels fluid. Obviously, Nexuiz has what any fan of the arena FPS genre requires.
One of my best experiences on Nexuiz came from playing on an unranked dedicated server that only allowed one shot kill snipers. It is exciting to play with rules like that, especially when the game mode is Capture the Flag. Normally when I take the flag, I just run like hell. Although, this time I went out to kill everyone on the other team to make sure I could run back safely. In a military shooter, I would play cautiously and coordinate with my team, but this game had gotten me to crawl out of my normal playing style. I played aggressively, killing with precision and scoring points for my team. Now why would I change the way I normally play? I realized it was because everyone I played with was on an even playing level. I didn’t have to worry about being outgunned by a higher leveled player, all I had was my rifle and my mouse. Everyone had just a rifle and their mouse. Being killed never felt unfair, because all I could say about it was, “they’re better than me.”
Ranked vs Unranked
Playing in a ranked match is a different story, though. It’s a lot like Modern Warfare 3’s multiplayer; to play in a ranked match, you have to use IWNet with dedicated servers that are unranked. It’s the same thing with Nexuiz; ranked matches are through P2P lobbies and unranked matches are through dedicated servers. It goes without saying that the ranked matches are probably worse than its counterpart. No control over the settings of the game, high latency, and whiners are all byproducts of ranked P2P networking. Not exactly as much fun as playing on dedicated servers, huh? The only thing playing in ranked matches does is affect your stats, which really does not matter because the community is too small to care for such things. On top of that, you’re forced to play the game the way the developers designed it – with dynamic mutators. Dynamic Mutators are random pick ups that affect the way the game is played. For instance, if someone uses a Melee Only mutator, everyone will be forced to use melee attacks only. If someone uses a Low Gravity mutator, everyone will be able to jump higher. These mutators can be aimed at everyone, yourself, your team, or the enemy team. It does spice things up a bit in a game, but I feel like it gets really annoying after a while with people flying all over the place or trying to melee each other, depending on which mutator is active. As if it wasn’t hard enough to kill people with a high ping.
Eye-Scarring Eye Candy
The game does look very pretty with CryEngine 3, doesn’t it? I was able to play Nexuiz on Ultra High at a resolution of 1600×900 with an average of 49 fps. Not bad, eh? It’s pretty cool to see an old school shooter on steroids. Although, like I said before, it’s not viable for playing on. Some people may be able to tolerate the amount of blur and glow in the game while still be able to play effectively, but I don’t think people used to the old days could. Playing a game of Nexuiz on Ultra High is a lot like shining a bunch of lights in your face and trying to keep track of each one of them while they zig-zag in front of you. I do think that new players looking for something other than Call of Duty and Battlefield could jump into Nexuiz to get a taste of what it was like to play a game like Quake or Unreal Tournament.
Conclusion – Is It Worth Your Money?
Nexuiz is a great arena FPS with a few avoidable flaws and one big drawback – its community is too small. The weapons, symmetrical maps, fluid player movement, and non regenerating health system recreate that fast-paced action players experienced in the old days. While you can experience the classic arena FPS, servers running dynamic mutators really shake things up by giving players special abilities whether it’s aimed at you, your team, your enemy, or everyone. With around 100 mutators, dynamic mutators makes the game a bit more interesting, although sometimes unneccesary. CryEngine 3, much like dynamic mutators, is great for people who can handle it, but not so much for people who aren’t used to looking at high quality graphics in constant motion.
For $10, it’s not bad at that price. The only thing that would turn people away from this game is small community. It does have bot matches, some of which are quite challenging, that may be good enough for some. Nexuiz has some really great arena FPS gameplay, but not enough people know about it.