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Review: Rekoil: Liberator on Xbox 360

Before we begin I must state that I don’t have any allegiances towards Call of Duty, Battlefield, Halo and any other First Person Shooting games out there. I like them all individually, some featuring modes that I prefer over the others and hearing an arcade FPS game was coming out on the Xbox 360 got me pretty excited. I’ve day dreamed numerous times about what would exactly be needed for an arcade shooter to survive in this already triple A shooter heavy market.

You’ll need:
Something Fun, explosions and guns usually does the trick, you’d need Replayability, usually a formula of wanting to better yourself in the next round usually done with unlockables that rewards the player for hard work, and finally you’d need Balancing, having a heavier weapon makes you less mobile and vice versa to force players to approach a situation with different tactics.

Rekoil, now available to buy on the marketplace, attempts to include these points listed but it isn’t executed in a successful way. Instead you’re left with a broken FPS with a price tag that asks for way too much, and by too much I mean it should be free to download. On paper everything about Rekoil sounds good, ‘7 different game modes’, ‘40 different weapons’, even the screen shots look amazing (which I’m sure isn’t from the same version or even the same
format that’s out now). So why does this game fall at so many hurdles?

Graphics

Going back to the previous point about the screen shots looking “amazing”, I did a little digging around and even came across pre-released in-game footage which too looks better than the version that’s available to buy for the 360. I find anything along these lines as terribly misleading as you’re shown something that promises what your experience could look like. Instead, we’re giving a game that looks pretty average to be polite and resembles character textures from Goldeneye back in the 90s on the Nintendo 64. Trying to be nice and
saying this is only an arcade title and that we shouldn’t expect too much from such a release is something I’d usually defend a game with but from the time other older arcade games look much better rules out this excuse.

What is it that we look for in regards to graphics in a FPS? Since the current big shooters out there have already set a high standard on the brink of photorealistic environments it’s understandable that smaller companies might not have the resources to achieve this. By standard we look for high res textures, believable character models and weapons with a nice shine or rustic looking matte.

Rekoil’s weapons for a start just about resemble the real life model it’s based on. It wasn’t satisfying to wield the guns that all felt the same within each class. The levels themselves didn’t look smooth and felt unfinished. I know this game is supposed to be a FPS in a raw form and focuses on the gameplay but for 2014 this simply would not do.

Music and Sound Effects

There is a single soundtrack that plays through the menu of the game which whilst joining games glitches by doubling up becoming an intense mash up of unnecessary noise. The short track itself was just about bearable bordering on torture with every loop it does when unsuccessfully finding games to join due to the unpopulated lobbies. Ok, music within games isn’t a needed thing but when used correctly, like in film and TV, can set a mood and/or intensify a situation.

Rekoil features nothing during the matches at all which creates a strange eerie silence whereas other shooters out there have an ambience track which has become the norm. The in-game sound effects are another issue that draws you out of any immersion you might have somehow found yourself in. From the weapons firing sounding just incorrect and dropping sound altogether to grenades not making a sound if not in your proximity, Rekoil single handily lets down what years of development in immersive sound effects have strived towards. If the sound and atmosphere were spot on then the graphics and gameplay would at
least be excusable.

Gameplay

The gameplay, backbone to what usually makes or breaks a game’s experience was playable but wasn’t fun or daring. Similar to what you’d find in the more eSports orientated games an non-customisable class system is present and the weapons are strictly locked these set classes. Choosing the Assault class lets you play an all rounded character that deals with mid to long range fire fights whereas the Rocket class is slower in movement, longer reload times but bigger area of effect damage. The balancing here is the only thing spot on and limiting
people to these loadouts is pretty much as old school as it gets. What I found out that wasn’t fun or daring is the sense of achievement as very little skill is required when a majority of the kills I got were random and very hit or miss.

Many gunfights featured my opponent and I running towards each other and whoever started to unload their gun into the other first didn’t always win the shootout thus promoting me to not try harder next time. And on the flip side getting a long distance one hit kill with a supposedly short ranged shotgun seemed like I was cheating at times.

The weapon stats are detailed in which guns where better for which situations but I found having the base standard Assault class with the AK47 worked well, worked as sniper at long range achieving random hip-fired headshots and torn enemies apart at close range like a shotgun, broken and pointless. I’m a big fan of having a health bar in any game as opposed to the step-out-of-battle-andrecuperate-your-health-like-nothing-even-happened type of health system that is in almost every title. Rekoil does have a health bar but what’s the point of having one when there’s no health packs to replenish what you’ve lost? This quickly became my biggest issue with the game especially when there’s an achievement for getting a 15-kill streak in a single round.

Miscellaneous

Somewhere amongst the description of the game you’ll find out there’s some kind of story shoehorned in about a world devastated by a pandemic but if this game is online multiplayer only and doesn’t explain what exactly went on then was it really needed? Who are the Minute Men and the Dark Water teams? Why are they fighting each other? Do we actually care? And if there’s a story how do you explain the random maps from city-based exteriors and a subway to a sawmill and a bizarre Wild West village? I’d love to find out how they relate
even though the layout per playable maps wasn’t too bad themselves, perhaps the only decent bit of design in this entire game.

Several things that’ll need revising would be the spawning system. You can die and respawn in the heat of a battle in some game modes, sometimes unfairly behind your enemies which causes unbalanced fights that are all based on the luck of the spawning draw. There’s been times I’ve come back in with only my knife equipped rather than my primary gun, and this happening with a poor spawning system puts you at a disadvantage as you flail your melee knife attacks toward someone gunning you down.

Verdict

Rekoil: Liberator is available at the insultingly steep price of £11.99, which as mentioned earlier should just be free as it’s clearly not a completed game for the Xbox 360. I’ve taken into account that it’s trying to be the basic FPS experience with no perks, kill streaks and fancy decorations but as it wasn’t executed correctly I’d recommend everyone to stay away from this game. It was hard enough trying to find available games to play online as it was rarely populated with players. Anyone that doesn’t own this game is better off without it. Rekoil doesn’t even fall into the guilty pleasure category of gaming and I’d be happy
never to speak of its name again.

Have you played it? Were we too harsh? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.