Wednesday, 13 August 2014

First Impressions: Robocraft

I think I'll start this First Impressions with how the trailer described the game to me, just before I bought it. "It's Minecraft combined with World of Tanks," it said. And, I think that is quite an accurate description.

Of course, if I was being pernickety, I would say that it was Lego rather than Minecraft due to the way the bricks explode and break up in a distinctly un-Minecraft-y way. Anyway, onto the game.

The first thing you have to do is build your robot (hence the craft part of the title). This is done by using blocks, triangles and other shapes to build a chassis, putting some wheels on it, placing a cockpit on top and then chucking some guns on every other available space (warning: doing this will not result in victory and will probably just make you shoot yourself). Most of the first tank is done for you but, for the second and third, you have free rein (of course, you could just delete the first tank and start from scratch there as well)!

I have two finished tanks at the moment (and one that is a work in progress). The first one is the original one with a bit of added armour around the cockpit (due to, if that is shot, you die immediately) while the second one is a scout bike. Well, it started out as a scout bike but then I had to add stabilizers due to it continuously falling over, and more armour due to it being destroyed too easily. Then I added more guns, because, why not? It now resembles a streamlined(ish) tank with fins.

But this is one of the best things about this game, everyone's tanks look and act different! For example, one of my friends (who has been on the game a bit longer than me) tried to make a flyer that could carry my tank into the battlefield (sadly, due to the size of the contact box, this is not actually possible) and I have seen and heard of other robots such as an attack helicopter, and even a Millennium Falcon!

You unlock new parts by filling up the tech tree, which is unlocked through the use of tech points. The different parts range from better armour and wheels, to upgrades for guns, new guns such as plasma guns and rail guns and even rotors and thrusters as well as enemy scanners and shockwaves to knock you back up if you fall over! You can only put so many blocks on your craft, represented by your CPS. The CPS is increased every time you level up (achieved by defeating enemies online). The other thing you can level up is your tier (which is increased by putting higher-leveled blocks on your craft). Online, higher tiers cannot go into lower tier battles but, if part of a higher tier player's platoon, a lower tier player can go into a higher tier battle.

The battles online consist of two teams of 13 fighting it out on a random choice of four maps (two on Mars and two icy ones). You win either by destroying the whole enemy team or by capturing their base (done by standing on it). To destroy an opponent, you have to shoot it (sadly ramming is not a thing yet) and you can either shoot to do damage, shoot to destroy something like a wheel or a gun or just shoot for the cockpit in order to win. When you hit the opponent, you will generally blow something off of it, be it a wheel, a gun or just some armour. Once, my entire chassis was destroyed and I was just left sitting on a bridge with only a cockpit and 3% health.

Overall, Robocraft is a promising game with a great premise and (mostly) short loading times. Due to it being an early alpha game there are a few bugs (such as the servers and platoon systems not always working) but I have not really experienced many of these. I look forward to seeing you on the battlefield.

Goodbye for now, Harry

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