E3 2012: We check out whether this reality-show-driven shooter can still stand out among the banal sea of F2P shooters.
With many free-to-play shooters clogging up the PC space, do we really need one more? Sony Online and developer Acony do not seem to think so, as they're showing off their upcoming multiplayer first-person shooter Bullet Run, where killing in style for points holds precedence over straight-up killing and tactical camping.
For instance, each of the six maps offered is built to be small and confined so that it'll be easy to come across opponents within a few seconds of faffing about. When the shots are fired, killing someone in midair with a headshot will grant you more points (or audience heat in this game's case) than killing someone standing there through normal means. Killing multiple enemies in a row while not dying will net you a killstreak bonus, be it a speed power-up or an RPG launcher that mysteriously appears in your hands.
Furthermore, killing your opponents while getting powered up with one of your four mapped special skills will net you more heat; these fame points will let players have access to more skills, perks, and more customization options. An Acony representative said that players can pick up to eight of these skills: the berserker power-up lets you put up your dukes for maximum melee damage and lets you do a one-hit kill rush attack, while the neurofang skill lets you temporarily control a bug that paralyzes a player for a short bit of time so that you can return to where they're at and kill them in a humiliating fashion for lots of heat points.
Speaking of which, taunting with the Q button not only doubles your heat points but also refills the cooldown of your skills instantaneously. The obvious drawback is that you'll be vulnerable while gyrating and doing lewd gestures in front of or on the corpse of your enemies. The risk/reward mechanic here may seem trivial, but it's always useful to find some way to recharge your skills whenever possible to keep yourself alive and well armed.
The game's mechanics definitely fit with the future reality TV show aesthetics Bullet Run attempts to present. Spy drones fly by on occasion in the middle of a match to capture the match, while colorful banner and billboard ads are all over the aforementioned maps. Alongside this, the Acony representative hopes that with this color palette, the game's low-barrier system requirements and free-to-play model, Bullet Run can reach an audience with some level of FPS knowledge, no matter how small.
The closed beta will offer both Team Deathmatch and Dominion modes, with the latter having rotating king-of-the-hill-style mechanics. The game will feature a couple of new modes within the beta period. Despite all of this pizzazz, this game may not change the mind of anyone looking for something groundbreaking in a shooter. At the very least, Bullet Run will grace our presence this summer in full form; the closed beta will be happening a couple of weeks after E3.
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