User Rating: 3 | Gunz The Duel PC
You may think this game is something like a poor man's Matrix Online. You'd be wrong. It's like a five-year old homeless orphan child's Matrix Online. (Actually, that's mean to five-year-old homeless orphans. Sorry.) I saw this in the GameSpot Cheaper By the Dozen and thought, "Hell, this looks awesome. Loads of weapons and clothing and items and a massive repertoire of moves. Plus, it's only just two years old, so I bet it looks pretty slick too." I will never make this mistake again.
First and foremost, I have to speak about the graphics. NO GAME MADE AFTER 2002, no matter how indie or low budget, has any business looking this bad. Everything is so low-poly, the textures are so grainy and repetitive I'm not ashamed to say I actually screamed slightly when I first entered the game world. Rooms appear as cubes, nothing more. A sphere would probably look something like like a 20-sided die. The animations are smooth, but the characters look extremely stiff, like they're giant action figures. When I play GunZ, I don't feel so much like I'm in a fighting game but more like I've been transported into the bedroom of a bored child who printed some pictures of buildings off of Google Images, taped them to some cardboard boxes, and is busy smashing some katana-wielding action figures together in and around said boxes. Really, with games like Gears of War being released in the same month, and games like Warcraft III coming out FOUR YEARS EARLIER and looking ten times better, anything that looks this bad is just an embarrassment to the developer and even the players.
Okay, let's end my rant about the graphics. On to the gameplay. Moves that did any real damage were difficult to perform at best, face-meltingly frustrating at the worst. It seems your best option is something like trial and error, seeing as the game completely lacks any sort of tutorial or coherent singleplayer mode. I understand this is supposed to be a multiplayer game, but games that just fling you right into the game world with nothing but a key command list and a few unwieldy weapons, it gets meaner every time some pro who's achieved GunZ nirvana comes flying out of the sky to smash you with a couple of dragon swords. A lack of instructions does not make a game challenging, it makes it bad.
Now, on the other hand, the moves that you eventually manage to bash out on the keyboard are very impressive, and the fact that you can't even see the veteran players move is a good example of how much potential the game's got. The combat, when you get down to it, is pretty impressive, complete with running up walls and landing on your enemy to deliver a death blow with a kodachi, and diving backwards, managing to stay horizontal as you blast away at an opponent with high-powered automatic weapons. So basically, if you want to play a game with awesome combat, you have found your gem. If you want to play a game that looks good, plays well, and is fun, keep looking. The poor man will win out someday.