October 29th, 2012
Fun with Friends | alot of potential | Refreshing new take on FPS combat
Needs some polish | Buggy | Long wait times for matches
“They’re right behind us!” Our pilot shouts, I pick up my mallet and run along the ship. “I can’t see them, bring us around!” our mains guns are forward facing; we’re sitting ducks until our pilot can turn us to face the attacking enemy ship. I climb into the rigging as their flamethrower licks our ship with hot jets of flame. “We’ve lost the engines!” “The balloon is down!” I lift my hammer to frantically hit our balloon pump just as our ships breaks into flaming pieces. Guns of Icarus brings an aerial twist to first person combat.
Guns of Icarus is a first person game in which crews of four pilot steampunk airships to do battle in the skies. The six ships available to choose from cover all the usual combat game staples from the hulking tank, the slow but powerful Galleon, to the quick but fragile Squid. Each of the six ships has multiple weapon mountings allowing for further customisation of the ships. In game however, this customisation boils down more to personal preference than tactical choice, only a player who has invested a lot of time would be able to notice the differences between the ships in combat. The main difference in the ship models is the locations of the guns, and on an unfamiliar ship, finding the right gun at the right time can be difficult.
Guns of Icarus is a game in which the airships fly and die by their crews, without crew members to man the guns you have a large floating balloon which will quickly become a large flaming pile of wreckage that used to be an airship. Guns of Icarus has three distinct player classes, each with their own role on the airship. The pilot is the guy who flies (sails?) the airship and has powers to help boost the airship’s speed, defences or to hide it when a dogfight goes awry. The gunner deals with the majority of combat and has skills to increase the effectiveness of the ship’s weapons. And finally there’s the engineer who’s job is to keep the airship up and the guns firing. The interaction between the classes in Guns of Icarus is refreshingly different to most combat games as in order to stand a chance in combat the crew needs to diversify and work together, trusting each other to do their jobs.
Guns of Icarus allows you to level up your chosen character class, however the process for doing this is not made clear and is based on achieving certain seemingly arbitrary tasks rather than through the traditional method of awarding points for killing, fixing, killing some more etc. This is one of the biggest hurdles the game has to gathering new players as after a few matches there is little feeling of progression or reward.
Guns of Icarus isn’t the Shiniest of games and for a game about flying airships into battle, it is true that rather a lot could have been done to improve the vistas. However, that said, the aesthetic feel of the game is overall very good, the graphics are very nice and goes a long way to building Guns of Icarus’s steampunk world. Not having the sort of graphics which require liquid nitrogen cooling systems and five graphics cards does open the game up to gamers with older PCs which in a multiplayer game can never be a bad thing.
“Pressgang your friends”
Guns of Icarus can supply you with A.I crew members if you’re a little short on friends however the game is only really fun if you can get a team of friends together on voice chat. Using bots or with a pick up group, you will always feel that you are missing something from the game.
Even if you do manage to pressgang your friends into playing with you, there is a long wait time for matches to fill up, which is frustrating if you only have a short time to play.
The decks need swabbing
Guns of Icarus is a fun game if you have a group of friends to play with but in order to reach it’s potential it does need some polish. The main bug I suffered from, caused mouse look to not work until I frantically changed into windowed mode and back to full screen every time I entered a match, hardly game breaking but a definite irritant. At the moment, Guns of Icarus is defiantly worth a cautious buy, especially if you find it in a Steam sale, but with a little polish, it could be so very much more.
Game’s website: http://gunsoficarus.com/