As you can guess from the title, Realtime Worlds has gone into Administration. Now, when you first hear about this news on National TV News you know it’s a big deal. In a news post on the official site, Realtime Worlds has stated that due to the Administration process it is possible to keep the servers up and running (and patches coming in) with the hopes that someone buys the game out.
Now I did pre-order the game, but due to mitigating circumstances (like the flakiness of mobile broadband) I’ve been unable to play it after the first week. However, during the beta I was mildly pleased with what was essentially the essence of Counter-strike, the driving of GTA and the customisation of… well… there really hasn’t been anything like it at all. Not unless you count Warhammer model painting, and even then you can’t dress them up in Pizza Delivery outfits, or Union Jack Punk wear, or Star Trek Uniforms.
The game itself was panned by reviewers as being unfinished, which I kind of agree with, complaining about the lack of gameplay modes and the poor quality of some that were there (Escape missions being the worst offender).
The game is mostly PvP, you get sent out on missions to hunt down and foil the plans of Criminals, or, if you’re a criminal yourself, go out and do crimes, or foil the Enforcers attempts at solving crimes. These manifest in a number of mission types. Area control types (of which there are about 3 different sub types, like single area, 3 area, or best of 5 areas), Item control types like Deliver the package(s) or fight for the package (where whoever has the package has to drop it at their base, but has a big honking target on them), World McGuffin types, like arson, spray logos, defuse/detonate bombs. All of these are great game modes that encourage no-holds barred fighting on the streets. Where it falls down is the final (and most common, as they’re normally finalés) type: Chase/Kill missions where the objective is to take down x enemies. While this may be good on paper, what it actually encourages is camping or fleeing. Hiding in inaccessible places or getting in a car and running away (this also counts for grab and hold package missions that run on a timer rather than a drop off). Hiding and camping wouldn’t be so bad if there weren’t a plethora of 1-entrance only rooftops. Like the top of City Hall in Financial (which normally has two or three groups hiding up there). They pop their heads out at their leisure and snipe down any oncomers, all the while watching the one way in, which is, essentially, a jumping puzzle.
Why is it a jumping puzzle? Because one type of customisation allows you to spray your logo on billboards, and part of the billboard thing is actually GETTING there. This means the city is full of difficult to manoeuvre terrain, like air vents, or boxes, or scafolding, many of which lead to rooftops holding billboards which can easilly double as camping spots. Solutions are many. My favourite is making every roof accessible, meaning if they camp one you can climb another and unload ten shades of hell from all directions.
The other problem is fleeing. There is a mission type that encourages fleeing. It’s escape missions, and it’s always enforcers doing the chasing. If the criminals can go long enough without causing any trouble (you know, shooting things, running over things, stealing things) they win, if the enforcers get the criminals to cause trouble and the time runs out. The other way to win is to kill x number of the enemy, but, in my experience in beta, 80-90% of the escape missions resulted in running.
The game is fun though, when you get a proper mission. The customisation is excellent, the weapon selection is fantastic and varied (including Less-than-lethal for the enforcers) and it has great potential.
It just needs someone to come, pick it up and run with it.