|Written on 08/31/12 at 09:19:38 EST by Darkbee|
AssaultCube is an open source, first person shooter. Enough said, the end! Well, not quite, that wouldn't make for a very interesting review so I'll try to expand on that just a little. The first thing to recognize about AC (as it shall henceforth be known) is that it's not the most graphically impressive. It's not the most modern first person shooter. It doesn't have the most weapons, or the most power-ups. It's not about more at all, it's about less. As we all know less is, well, more! AC's strength lies in its simplicity and ability to get to the meat of the game instantly, without the need to master dozens of weapons, or spend hours planning tactics. You just kill people, which I would think is what you would ultimately want from a first person shooter.
With that said, there are strategies and variety in game-play that gives you options to extend the playability of the game. First and foremost, AC is an online multi-player game. While there are single player modes, the bots are not the smartest, in particular with navigating the various maps and they will frequently get stuck or remain "trapped" in certain areas of the map depending on how large it is or how it is laid out. As with pretty much all games of this type the real fun comes in pitting yourself against real, live human opponents. The game claims that you can play AC over a dial-up modem, while I haven't tried this I have found that I can download files and play the game at the same time quite comfortably. As I said, if you have no friends or you're feeling particularly anti-social you can play the single player modes, even team modes with some bots on your team versus another team of bots. Naturally, if you'd still like to play other humans but aren't quite ready to venture out into the big, bad Internet you can always play a LAN game.
AC features all the traditional game modes you might expect like Team Death Match (and all vs all DM), Capture The Flag and single-shot kill modes. It also features some other interesting alternatives such as Pistol Frenzy in which you only have unsurprisingly a pistol and grenades if they are available for pick-up. In addition, there's also the Last Swiss Standing game mode which is like Pistol Frenzy except instead of pistols you have knives. What about the standard primary weapons you might ask? Well aside from the pistol which you always have (except for Last Swiss Standing) you can also choose to equip yourself with one of five primary weapons: Shotgun, Submachine Gun, Assault Rifle, Carbine and Sniper Rifle. One slightly unique "feature" (as far as I know) is that you can only play one primary weapon at a time, however you can change a weapon between spawnings. As you might expect, each weapon has it's relative strengths and weaknesses with the Shotgun and SMG being more close quarter weapons, the Assault Rifle being a mid-range weapon and finally the Carbine and Sniper Rifle being low-rate-of-fire, long range weapons. The only other weapons you can pick up in the game are grenades (holding a maximum of 3 at a time) and the "Akimbo", which is a time-limited, rapid-fire, dual-action pistol combo. Other standard pickups include health, ammo and armor.
As I said at the very beginning AC certainly isn't the most advanced FPS, there are undoubtedly others that are much more sophisticated but then this isn't the goal of the project. AC is based on the Cube game engine and so inherits its limitations. In particular, the Cube game engine tends not to do well with wide open spaces with high detail, as such maps work best when they are more confined with some tight corners. However, this doesn't mean that all maps are simply endless mazes with plain walls. People manage to work with the engine to produce some good quality maps. One advantage to this is that it means you don't need a particularly tricked-out PC to play the game. Even modest hardware, NVidia's Geforce 6 series with a 1Ghz processor for example should be more than adequate to play the game. You will of course have to sacrifice some graphics detail and adjust settings accordingly. If you have a serious, hardcore gaming rig well then expect to turn everything up to the max and watch it fly.
AC is not without it's issues. In the past, because it's an open source game and thus people are able to freely modify the source code to their liking, it did have a problem with cheats and hackers, where people would make themselves be able to run faster or modify weapons characteristics, or health, you name it. Thankfully, some anti-cheat mechanisms have since been put in place which helps to alleviate these types or problems. However, as with any online game there are some people who are intent upon nothing more than spoiling it for others. As such there are people who go around intentionally killing their own team mates. This needlessly spoils the game and I despise these type of people with a passion. Anyway, not to get off track there are counter-measures in place that potentially allow other players to vote team-killers off of the particular server or even to have them banned. I say potentially because server administrators have to enable, or configure these options. I don't want to make it sound all bad, and I must add that these type of happenings are occurring with less frequency as AC evolves and is improved upon. The fact that it's still in active development is positive and there is an active and vibrant community supporting it. In fact, there are many clans that play AC and if that sort of thing is your bag then you may well enjoy AC for that kind of rivalry and camaraderie.
Overall then, AC is not the best, it doesn't claim to be. It's simple, unhindered, fast-paced fun. It's a game you can play for 5 minutes or 5 hours depending on what you want. There are options for those that like to hang back and pick people off from the sidelines through to those that like to steam into a hornet's nest with guns blazing. The community is helpful and friendly, and you'll always find games going on, night or day. Mindless violence has never been so much fun, so don't be square, be cube... Assault Cube.
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