Ballistic Overkill Early Access Preview
By Richard Jewell
Released on October 8th, 2015 on PC (Steam)
Developer: Aquiris Game Studio Publisher: Aquiris Game Studio
Hey PC users, we got another Steam Early Access preview for you today! Ballistic Overkill is a team-based, fast-paced online multiplayer battle arena shooter where every class is capable of bringing the pain. As the developers like to say: “No wimpy support classes, in Ballistic everyone is a killer!” Having had the chance to sink in hours of game time while sampling each and every class, I 100% agree with that statement.
There is a total of 7 different classes, each with their own unique skills, weapons, and play styles. Each character can customize their loadout with two different weapons and two different skills at a time. Most of the skills each class has access to are unique and increase the effectiveness of their class’s weapons and specialties. However, you will not have access to all the weapons and skills available to a character class until you level them up. Completing matches grants you the experience required to do so, Call of Duty style. This can be a problem, though, as I find going into a match against high-level players when you’re just starting out feels very uneven. I found myself getting smashed over and over by veteran players with access to high-powered equipment and abilities and it really dampened my enthusiasm. Let’s take a peek at the classes we’ll be wreaking havoc with!
First off is the Berserker. The Berserker is a rushdown expert. He uses submachine guns and shotguns to mow down enemies in close range. The Berserker’s specialty is high mobility and damage, and killing enemies gives him an even bigger boost to his stats. This class is perfect for people like me who just like to run headlong into all the action. Vanguard is an assault specialist with high HP and is effective at every range due to the large variety of weapons he has at his disposal. He can also recover grenades by walking over dead bodies. Wraith is a ranged assassin who uses sniper rifles for long ranges and pistols when up close and personal. He doesn’t appear on the map and can turn invisible while standing still. In other words, he’s a sneaky bastard. And speaking of sneaky bastards, Shadow is another one. Shadow uses close ranges pistols and SMGs and can also equip a sword. He turns invisible while sprinting and takes reduced fall damage. When he gets in close, he will mess your day up. The Grenadier is exactly what he sounds like. He is the only one that can equip a grenade launcher, his grenades cool down faster, and he is super-resistant to explosive damage. He’s a real blast to play as (Sorry, I can’t resist a corny pun). The Tank is pretty much just that, a walking tank. He primarily uses LMGs, has the highest HP in the game, can also regenerate HP over time and is immune to backstabbing. I recommend using him when you first start playing. His survivability makes him a good choice for beginners getting used to the game and unfamiliar maps since you’re probably going to live a lot longer with his high HP. Last but not least is the Marksman. The Marksman is an intelligence specialist who gets more useful information on his map. He’s a bit of a mixed-bag. His stats are average, and he has a mixed variety of weaponry. He isn’t really good or bad at any one particular thing and that makes him more adaptable for higher-skilled players to take advantage of.
The four game modes available to play on are pretty standard fare for anyone who has ever played an online shooter. They are Team Deathmatch, Free for all, King of the Hill, and Capture Point. The carnage takes place across ten unique maps that range from small close-range affairs to bigger maps suited for the sniping crowd. Two good examples of this are Wonderdome and Overhead. Wonderdome takes place in a dome-shaped area full of wide-open areas and walkways with long lines of site perfectly suited for those who prefer long-range combat whereas Overhead is a map in a small, indoor arena full of shipping containers that encourage the use of close-range weaponry to dominate the enemy team. The variety of map sizes ensures that there is something for everyone, no matter what their style of play is.
Graphic-wise, Ballistic Overkill is a good-looking game. It doesn’t have the draw-dropping graphics of games like CoD and Battlefield, but the character models and environments are nicely detailed and smooth looking. More importantly, the game runs at a good pace, without lag or slowdown. I haven’t encountered any technical problems so far that would cause gameplay problems. There is nothing worse than trying to play an online shooter and having to deal with technical issues like dropping out of a game or slowdowns. Problems like that are death on games like Ballistic Overkill, so luckily that’s not an issue here.
There are also lockbox drops which allow you to collect a variety of weapons skins of varying rarity for your arsenal, along with Steam Market integration so you can buy and sell skins over Steam. The drops also work in a season format so that every couple of months the season changes and different drops are available. Combining skin collecting along with leveling up characters and unlocking all their skills and weaponry adds longevity and replayability to a genre that would lose the player’s interest in a matter of weeks if it were just the same old vanilla gameplay over and over again. Hopefully this helps retain a player base because I feel like this could be a game that people play for years to come, much like Valve’s ever-popular Counterstrike.
Even though it is considered an Early Access title, Ballistic Overkill has all the polish of a full game. If you’re a fan of team-based arena shooters I recommend you grab it while it’s still in Early Access since it’s pretty cheap right now. The price is going to go up once it is out of Early Access, which should happen sometime in the coming weeks. You can view the Steam store page here http://store.steampowered.com/app/296300/
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