Platforms: Xbox 360 (Reviewed), PlayStation 3, PC
Release Date: 29/02/2012
Price: 800 Microsoft Points
Nexuiz was originally released as a free to play game for the PC way back in 2005 and it had a decent following. The game was heavily based on Quake and it even utilised a modified version of the Quake engine.
This new Nexuiz released recently for the Xbox 360, and soon to be released on the PlayStation 3 and PC, is a completely new game built from the ground up. Nexuiz is a digital download title that can be purchased now from Xbox Live Arcade with a release on the PlayStation Network and Steam platform scheduled to happen in the coming months.
Nexuiz is a first person shooter that focuses solely on the multiplayer component, in much similar vein to first person shooters like Quake III and Unreal Tournament. There isn’t much to the story and premise of this game, as it’s basically about this brutal arena based war between two nations, the Kavussari and the Forsellians. Their never ending conflict is broadcasted across the entire universe as a combat sport.
The moment you fire up the game, you’re presented with just the multiplayer mode and the offline bot training mode. No other bells and whistles, this is a to the point first person shooter where you simply have to play against human opponents.
Visuals and Audio:
Nexuiz is powered by the CryEngine 3, most known for being used by Crysis 2 and the recent console port of the original Crysis. The results are pretty cool, as the graphics look appealing and everything moves and animates without any problems. There is the occasional flicker and screen tear but nothing serious or glaring. The graphics engine does the job decently enough with some cool looking environments and nice effects. What matters most is that the game performs smoothly and consistently, which is good considering its multiplayer focus.
Aesthetically speaking, Nexuiz is like a mix of Quake III, Halo, Unreal Tournament, and Tribes. You can really see the influences of those games within the art direction of Nexuiz in terms of the character, weapon, and even level designs. That’s not to say that the game completely rips off from its influences, because it still manages to have its own unique style.
The music of Nexuiz is fast paced techno that really compliments the sci-fi setting of the game. The tracks are catchy and intense, they mix well enough with the fast paced nature of multiplayer battles.
Overall, there is nothing particularly remarkable or unique about Nexuiz in terms of visuals and audio, but what’s there does the job well enough.
As soon as you start up Nexuiz, there isn’t really much on offer in the main menu. There is a bot training mode where you’ll spend a bit of time just to familiarise yourself with the game and its mechanics. Then it’s just off to online multiplayer.
Nexuiz mainly offers a team-based multiplayer experience, where players get assigned into one of the two teams, the Kavussari and the Forsellians, and battle it out. The main modes of play are team death match and a capture the flag. Both these match types can be played on nine different maps. Unfortunately that’s all there is in terms of the modes of play, while both match types and the nine maps offer some enjoyment, it still feels rather bare bones for a modern first person shooter release.
In terms of the actual core gameplay system, Nexuiz feels like a mixture of Quake III, Halo, Unreal Tournament, and even a bit of Tribes. The mechanics are sound, and they offer a fast paced and functioning shooting experience. Even though it borrows much of its mechanics from other shooters, it does so nicely and still is fun to play. There are nine weapons on offer here, each with primary and secondary functions, and the strange thing is that they all feel very familiar. I’m pretty sure that if you’ve been following first person shooters for a while now, then chances are that you’ve already used these weapons, particularly in games like Halo, Quake, and Unreal. Nothing fancy or unique here, but the selection is good and offers enough variety.
The most standout feature of Nexuiz is the ‘Dynamic Mutators’. These are pick-ups that you will find in each arena and the effects that they have on gameplay is pretty unusual and impressively varied. The effects of these Dynamic Mutators are numerous, and can be anything like turning everything into black and white, jumbling up the game’s controls, forcing everyone to hop uncontrollably, giving you access to all weapons, unlimited ammunition, and many more gameplay altering effects. The Dynamic Mutators alone add a lot of entertainment to the multiplayer, and often makes Nexuiz feel like a fun and casual party game full of random laughs and unpredictable elements.
The net code, in my experience, is superb, as even with a slow internet connection at the time, I was still able to enjoy a smooth, fast, and virtually lag free online. I also had no trouble finding the right number of opponents online, because for now it seems there are people playing this.
There is nothing fundamentally wrong with Nexuiz as a shooter, in fact it plays and functions just fine. However, when viewed in context of the current first person shooter scene and market, the problems with the game becomes clear. A game like Nexuiz, which offers absolutely nothing in terms of single player and relies solely on multiplayer, is contingent upon community support. Will it have consistent long term support? At the moment you can find matches but then with games like Halo, Call of Duty, Killzone, and even the free browser based Quake III still enjoying a strong, active, and ever growing community, I feel Nexuiz will not get the support it needs. If that happens, and it reaches a point where very few people are playing it, it will become pointless.
Nexuiz is pretty good for what it is, in particular the Dynamic Mutators are a lot of fun. However, at the end of the day, there is nothing really on offer here that you cannot find elsewhere. In fact other titles will probably offer you a lot more in terms of gameplay, modes, and features. In the grand scheme of things, and considering just the current state first person shooter market, Nexuiz doesn’t have much of a presence and will be something that players will have fun for a while before going back to the current leaders of the market.
Nexuiz, as a relatively cheap digital download title, is a fun shooter with some cool ideas and has a really good online multiplayer mode courtesy of the smooth net code. However, compared to all the other alternatives out there, the game pales. The biggest problem is that Nexuiz is that the game contingent upon community support, and while you can find players online right now, only time will tell how consistent this support will be.