A coalition of Twisted Metal meets Need for Speed Midnight Club is the best way to describe Gaijin Entertainments new “action-MMO” game: Crossout. Set in a dystopian world of automotive combat, Crossout brings innovative elements to the genre, that have never been seen before.
Calling this game an “MMO” is joke, as it is essentially just a third person shooter that consists of PVP matches that last no longer than three minutes. As a free-to-play game, Crossout offers the user with enough early game content to get hooked. Progression is based on character level, and the higher the level, the more features there are to unlock like parts, game modes, and different gang-factions to join.
The actual PvP battles are a blast, as there are a myriad of ways to destroy the opponent. From tanks to machine guns, each vehicle can serve a different purpose and like most shooters, each character will have a specialized ability like speed, range, or durability. One of the best parts about the battles is the interactivity between the vehicles. When a vehicle is shot, that part will be damaged; so if a tire shot, it will fall off; if a weapon is shot, it will fall off; anything that takes sustained damage, will fall off the vehicle so it is imperative to be constantly moving to avoid taking damage on critical parts of the vehicle.
One of the most discouraging aspects of Crossout is that they implemented a surreptitious marketing strategy that is geared towards getting the player hooked on the game, and then almost forcing them to make in-game purchases if they want to be competitive. This is done by making the game easy at first (the hook) by giving the player a false sense of success by matching them up against AI for the first five levels of progression. Then, the metaphorical rug is pulled from under them, as they are thrown into a true PvP environment, where the players with the most expensive vehicles are usually the ones that succeed.
Personally, I didn’t even realize that I was going up against AI; I just thought I was dominating players with generic names like James, Kathy, and John. It wasn’t until I was getting schooled by players named yoMamma53 and kidswithguns69 that I realized that I’d been duped, and that I wasn’t the most ingenious player that ever played the game.
Crafting a vehicle is by far the most entertaining feature in the game. Like most MMO’s, items are scaled by rarity, and the rarer the item, the stronger it will tend to be. With a plethora of different items in the game you can manufacture dozens of diverse vehicle models that all have different weapons, equipment, and appearances. I spent hours trying to construct the perfect vehicle: some with eight tires and some with only two, but at the end of the day it comes down to the players’ individual skill and knowledge of the game.
When crafting a vehicle there are a multiple factors that establish a vehicles value:
- Power score: A number given, that represents the overall strength of the vehicle.
- Parts: Parts consist of everything that doesn’t provide the vehicle with a power up. Tires, frames, and vehicle cabs are all parts and there is only a set-amount of parts that can be added to a vehicle. This provides a competitive balance and the higher the characters level, the more pieces are allowed to be added.
- Energy Parts: Anything that provides the vehicle with a power up is considered an energy part. Thrusters, weapons, and other various enhancements use up this resource. Like basic parts, there is a set amount of energy that each vehicle is allotted and the stronger the individual item, the more energy it will consume.
- Weight: Each vehicle has maximum weight capacity. Unfortunately, I’ve not gotten far enough into the game for this to be a problem yet!
- Acceleration/Speed: From what I understand, the lighter the vehicle, the faster it will go, although there are Energy parts that assist with this function.
There are four factions in the post-apocalyptic world: Engineers, Luynatics, Nomads, and Scavengers. As the character level progresses, new factions are unlocked and become joinable. Each faction has their own manufacturing blueprints which provide unique parts for vehicles. The blueprints aren’t just used for individual parts; complete vehicles are unlockable depending on the level, with each blueprint being unique to the retrospective faction.
I like to call this the microtransaction haven. This is the place where you inevitably break down, and end up spending real money to purchase digital goods. If you don’t want to be tempted by the fates, then stay away from the market, keep your head down, and grind out levels the good old fashion way! Other than harboring unrelenting temptations, the market can provide a place where goods can also be sold and traded. When leveling a character up, resources are awarded for victories in the PVP and PVE arenas. A surplus in resources will eventually accumulate and the market is the best place to unload these items. Just don’t look at the super rare engine that cost a million points and you should be alright with navigating through this vehicular Garden of Eden.
Gaijin Entertainment needs to make money somehow, and this is how they do it. The store is a place were in-game currency can be bought. Luckily, Gaijin makes it simple, as they only offer three packages for purchase: $20, $30, and $50 packages that all offer an insanely powerful vehicle and various amounts of in-game currency called “coins.”
Overall, Crossout is a fun game to play. It combines multiple genres and implements new styles of play to create a game that is both highly interactive and action packed. It is currently in closed beta and the release date is unannounced. As a F2P game I’d have to give it a rare thumbs up, and when it becomes available on Steam, you should definitely check it out!