Most of the time when I try and find a new game, recently I use websites from moddb.com to find something new, different or a spin on some other games. Awhile back on Steam I found Frontline Tactics; a turn based strategy where you are in command a squad of soldiers to quell a terrorist group in an arid region. Aside from the the tile hybrid mechanics of moving to a square and the modern art style, there is nothing really to set it apart from any strategy game.
This week I found one called Lost Sector or Lost Sector Online. It’s in the alpha stage with a English translation which is fairly understandable. The game is a turn based strategy focused on PVP and PVE combat. The premise revolves around a civil war after another war through the city of Broxton into chaos; you as a citizen of this city is primarily to just kill people. The storyline isn’t flushed out for the game but I assume they kept it open ended for people to roleplay their own stories.
Aspects of the gameplay are highly similar to other MMORPG’s; you level up and unlock new weapons to buy. On top of this, the idea of looting and upgrading weapons is spectacularly the same; you need special items to improve your weapons and items, which costs time or money – this case, money. When you start out the tutorial is fairly short, spanning one mission which lasts a few minutes to let you get familiar to camera controls, movement and combat mechanics. After moving to the exit zone of the tutorial, it takes you to a city map which displays PvP zones and enemy encounters you can have as well as their level requirements to enter these instance; for the most part, this screen seems to facilitate in finding safe zones to heal in and find certain instances. Here’s where the MMORPG component comes in play. Within the safe zones, you can interact with other players. There is not trading facility so trading is dealt peer to peer within safe zones. In the first safe zone you encounter, you are treated to a very large map that the game calls The Factory which contains the basic necessities to play through the low levels PvE encounters. NPC’s in this zone are placed distant from each other so it does require a fair amount of in-map travelling which is moderately slow considering the time to traverse the map would be about 30-50 seconds. These safe zones serve as a lobby essentially with the ability to browse the local shops for medical supplies, hire mercenaries and armaments.
In the first 5 levels, I noticed a few things about the combat which seem to be troublesome. When you jump into a PVE instance, you see the basic interface you would see in most FPS adapted to the RPG genre. You have your active weapon, ammo, radar and the active aid items you have assigned to your character. As a turn begins, you have about 3 minutes to use your action points. Actions points (AP) resupply every turn and are used for movement and actions like switching weapons and opening loot bags. At any time you walk into sight range to an enemy, movement is interrupted which allows you to take alternate action if you want to take it. It seems the sight range for these encounters are line of sight where your character can see them directly. When attacking there seems to be an interesting mechanic to it. You get a few options when attacking which can be switched with the Q and E keys; these actions are mostly either a high damage and high AP costing attacks, moderate damage with moderate AP use and a melee which is the lowest amount of AP with a very low damage output. When you have a action selected, you see the cone of fire, accuracy and AP cost for the attack. At a certain range either too close or too far, the accuracy and damage is reduces respectively. You pretty much rinse and repeat until you finish the instance. I’ve tried quitting an instance but it seems at the moment in alpha, there is no way to exit combat – not even if you quit the game since you start from where you left off. Also in combat the only winning factors is who fires first and who does the most damage which get troublesome when you get to level 3 when you are forced to play against the AI in a 3 on 6 or in some cases 3 on 7 with a powerful mob that can tank 3 sniper rounds attacks.
At the moment the game isn’t fully translated and has a lot to improve upon. The community is also very Russian so you would hardly encounter English speaking players. The server is apparently in located in Russia and coming from an indie developer, the server lags during prime time around 2-7 PM EST. Definitely kind of a fun game to pick up and play casually. If you do and you find a “Shooter90”, feel free to add me!
Until next time, keep on fragging!