Friday, October 14, 2011

Warm Gun - 4.99 (Emotional Robots)

Multiplayer games on mobile devices have become a pretty big deal, especially within the first and third person shooter genres. I remember starting off with Eliminate, then moving onto Archetype, Exo-Planet, NOVA and Modern Combat. Now multiplayer fanatics have a new title to obsess over; Warm Gun by Emotional Robots, the first to use the Unreal Engine and it’s amazing graphics capabilities.

When Warm Gun was first released, it had quite a few framerate issues, making the game almost unplayable, even in it’s offline mode, but the developers over at E.R. released a patch updating the performance extremely quickly, and now gamers have a semi-playable version to blast away and talk smack through, though it still needs some performance tweaking, and because of that, it’s pretty hard to find someone online to play with. Not to worry though, because the Emotional Robots dev team is still hard at work to optimize the game and are trying to make it run as smooth as possible before doing anything else in regards to adding content.
You are able to play on or off line. In offline mode, you are able to choose between 5 different environments, each with different places to hide, open areas to battle it out, and different stories to climb up to and jump down from. You are also able to choose between 4 different characters; The 49’er, who has a pistol, shotgun, and Molotov cocktail. The Blacksmith, who has a HUGE hammer, massive machine gun, and exploding cans. The Shaman, who is equipped with an electrocution stick, SMG, and exploding bottles, and last, but not at all least, The Preacher, who wields dual pistols, a riffle, and also has exploding bottles. Each of the characters has their own strengths and weaknesses, and which one you pick and get comfortable with will depend on your style of play, but rest assured, there is a character for you. Offline Mode runs very smooth, and is a great place to learn the maps, and each of the different characters, and until the multiplayer mode picks up, and more players get online, as well as the framerate issues get fixed, you can expect to play in Offline Mode quite a bit.
Online Mode is the same for Offline Mode, except which map you play in is chosen by the game, and where you will see the biggest issue for the Emotional Robots team; lag/framerate isues. Because of the framerate issues, it makes it very hard to play online. Your character will jump around quite a bit, and dying when there is no one in front of you, and then all of a sudden a character appears there after you die is a very common occurrence. Also something that most players do not like about online play is that you are not given any stats after your match, so you’ll have no idea what your kill/death ratio was, or anything like that. However, one thing I was very glad to see is that there is no leveling up or experience points in the game, meaning that no matter who you’re matched up with, the game starts out on a level playing field. You will never have to worry about being matched with level 10 or 20 characters while you are a level 1 or 2, or anything like that, so once the issues are fixed, and there’s people actually playing online (as of now, you might be able to find one or two people playing online every 8 or 9 times you start up the game), the online play could really be something special. Also, online battles go through GameSpy, and not through GameCenter, which is better than great news, as GameCenter multiplayer matching is hell to deal with, and GameSpy servers are prepared, and stable enough to handle the onslaught of players that Warm Gun is expected to have in the future.
So, now to the graphics. As always, using the Unreal Engine results in some amazing, console-like graphics. The shadowing is great, and offers nice places to hide, the buildings and objects all have some amazing textures, and everything in the game has quite a bit of detail. The smooth running offline play is something you could feel great about showing off to your friends, and gives hope that more talented developers will start using the Unreal Engine in the future, as it really makes the long loading times and basic looking graphics of Game Salad and other engines pale in comparison.
For controls right now, there are 3 options. One joystick, dual sticks, or 3 joysticks, and all are able to use swiping on the screen to move, as well as tapping on the screen to fire. You can hold down the second or third joystick on the last two control options and keep firing while moving your crosshairs with pretty good precision. However, when moving around, and swiping on the screen, once you let go, you will keep spinning a little bit, making the precision for finding a character, stop movement and start firing pretty frustrating. The developers are looking into this though, and are working on implementing more of a Modern Combat type control scheme.
The big question, is Warm Gun worth the price? $5.00 for a Universal version, using the Unreal Engine, and, after the issues are taken care of, and people start actually getting online, what could possibly be the best multiplayer experience, surpassing even Modern Combat 2. It’s probably better to look at is as an investment. The developers are extremely active on the Touch Arcade forums, and are listening to feedback from every member who is posting there. They are hard at work on fixing the performance issues, as well as making the controls nice and tight, and giving players as many control options as they can, giving players the option to start up and host their own games, and adding more content to the game. When it is completed, what you will have is one of the most amazing online multiplayer FPS titles to ever come along on any mobile gaming device. Right now, it’s nice to have it to learn the maps, and characters, in preparation for when the game is stable enough for smooth and solid online play. If you’re a huge fan of multiplayer gameplay, Warm Gun is a must buy. If you’re still teetering on the idea of buying it, you should check out the companion title, Warm Gun: Carnival of Bullets; which is a sort of training course for Warm Gun. In it, you can get use to the controls, check out the brilliant graphics, and get to know the characters. You will not have access to the original title’s maps, but you will be able to get a really good feel for the game. But if you want instant gratification, you might be better off waiting for an update or two.

Warm Gun gets a score of 7 out of 10.

Version Reviewed; Version 1.04
Reviewed On; 4th Generation iPod Touch - iOS 4.3.3


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