Tag Archives: cyberpunk

Something Peculiar About Deus Ex Mankind Divided

dxmd-header-0

I’m pretty far behind on the big games of 2016. I let go of always having to stay on top of the latest thing, so I only started Deus Ex Mankind Divided around the end of September I believe. As I take my time through the game though I’m noticing an odd oversight Eidos Montreal made that some of the reviews don’t mention.

I imagine the reviews don’t mention this because the critics had to run straight through the game’s critical path to get it done in time. For the same reason I don’t have to play all the big games right as they come out I, like most normal consumers, have been able to just mess around in the sole hub area in Mankind Divided. As of this writing after about 15 hours of gameplay I haven’t even started the first mission of the main story. Continue reading

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Why You Should Try NeoTokyo: Part Two

968full-neotokyo°-screenshot

I feel like I should do another post on NeoTokyo because my last one wasn’t really about why you should try the game but rather what it is. Here’s my best attempt at describing what the game feels like and what actually sets it apart.

A major thing about this game (and maybe all tactical shooters) is how it manages to be tense and fast-paced while also requiring careful and patient play. It’s not for the kind of people who like to run all over the place gathering kills, but rather people who try to carefully control the map to complete an objective, even if that objective is killing the other team. The reason it’s one of my favorite multiplayer shooters is because it’s built around that more strategic style of play.

Last time when I said NeoTokyo sometimes descends into team deahtmatch by nature of its lack of respawns, I really should have said that’s what happens at least half the time. The sole mode of the game is about capturing a cyber brain — called a “ghost,” but it’s really that and TDM at the same time, depending on the situation. The meta game that flows out from NeoTokyo’s unique mechanics is what does this.

Basically, each team can begin thinking about the first one or two steps of their strategy as soon as a round begins. The ghost spawns in a different place each round, inevitably putting it closer to one team than the other. More importantly, the location of the ghost (even when someone has it) and all capture points are visible to everyone from the beginning.

Say a round starts and the ghost appears to be pretty close to your team — you already know you’re going to get it first, and from there you can try to reach the capture point or defend the ghost until you’ve taken down the whole opposing team. Matches with low player counts change the game completely.

Years ago I remember playing a two-on-two match where the pace turned into something very unusual for shooters, but oddly believable for tactical combat. Basically, each round would start with each team immediately trying to find the other for a couple minutes, followed by about five seconds of gunfire before the round was over. I thought that more than anything else highlighted the rhythm of tactical combat.

What’s odd about that feeling is that NeoTokyo is supposed to be a futuristic game. You have a cloaking device and some players have motion vision, yet its combat feels more realistic than most modern military shooters. It’s definitely a unique combination.

Then you have the differences between classes. Each one has specific jobs and play styles, but they aren’t as immediately apparent as, say, Team Fortress 2’s classes. Recon players can bunny hop and run around so they usually end up with the ghost, plus it’s easier for them to reach roofs and hidden high-up locations. Support players on the other hand are better suited for camping to defend points since they can take a lot of damage, aren’t fast, and don’t have cloak.

I’ll go ahead and admit NeoTokyo definitely has a learning curve. The website has a decent tutorial for the basics and those same tutorial images appear on screen at the start of each round. Some control nuances however don’t become apparent until you either stumble into them or look at the key bindings. The meta game only really comes into view through communication with experienced players.

For a free and low-budget mod, I think NeoTokyo is a really tightly-designed and unique game. Hopefully it can find an audience the way Source mods like Day of Defeat and Zombie Panic did.

BULLETS:

Tagged , , , , , ,

Why You Should Try NeoTokyo

neotokyo_recon_nsf

I was gonna blog about something else today — probably something decidedly American, but Steam blindsided me and finally decided to put one of my favorite lesser-known multiplayer shooters up for download. That game is NeoTokyo, something with a much more Japanese flavor.

Basically, this Source engine mod is Counter-Strike (or maybe Insurgency) meets Ghost in the Shell. It’s a very similar brand of round-based tactical shooter gameplay but with a heavy cyberpunk theme. It employs high lethality with no respawns (along with things like lean and ironsights) and is class-based. The game started out with a few maps back in 2009 but last year developer Studio Radi-8 upped the number to around 16.

Since its original release NeoTokyo has been free for owners of pretty much any of the Half-Life 2 games. I think it switched over to the standalone 2013 SDK base last year though so it might be totally free now. Problem is, the game’s servers have been dead for months. Ever since I saw the game show up on Greenlight I’ve hoped it would make it to the actual list of Steam games so it could get some real exposure.

Gameplay-wise the two main cyberpunk elements are the temporary stealth cloak which most players get, and the game’s main mode — capture the cyber brain. It’s pretty much capture the flag except the player who grabs the cyber brain can see everyone’s locations through walls in real time and is expected to relay that information to teammates. I’ve seen that completely change the pace of a battle.

Because of the high lethality and lack of respawns, people playing NeoTokyo pretty much automatically try to behave much more tactfully than they might in Call of Duty (it might just be people transplanting their CS skills). Also, rounds can very quickly turn into essentially team deathmatch since eliminating the opposing team also nets a win. This happens very often in games of 2-on-2 or less. Let me tell you, that’s been some of the most tense TDM I’ve experienced.

NeoTokyo’s classes are Recon, Assault, and Support, ranking in that order in progression from mobility to strength. Recon players get a long cloak, unlimited sprint, and night vision. Assault players get better armor and motion vision. Support players get the most armor and thermal vision, but no cloak. The game also employs an escalation system with its weapons.

There are some other interesting bits about the way this game plays. For instance, manually reloading before a clip is spent will actually throw away the remaining rounds in that clip. The game also advises players to consider surrounding lighting and surfaces when using the stealth cloak.

The biggest cyberpunk element of NeoTokyo is of course it’s art direction and overall theme. One of the best parts about the game is its soundtrack (iTunes link) which oddly almost never appears in the game at all. Part of the reason the game is free is probably because its maps are littered with licensed Japanese imagery like posters of anime and Japanese adult models. You’d think it would come off as looking like just another otaku game but in my opinion it works, likely because the game lifts primarily off of GitS and Akira as opposed to today’s “kawai” anime.

Oddly, NeoTokyo has managed to remain one of my central multiplayer shooters over the last couple years whenever I could actually find anyone to play it with. It’s been more strangely addicting to me than most AAA multiplayer games. I just hope the official Steam release resuscitates the servers.

BULLETS:

  • http://t.co/sz8i6ZhNhB The part of this article that really got me was the quote from Hiroshi Yamauchi and Miyamoto’s interpretation of it.
Tagged , , , , , , , , ,
Advertisements