It’s a gristly universe out there and the great warriors of science fiction archetypes are set to make it safe for everyone. In Repulse published by ijji and distributed in the US by Aeria Games, the gaming group’s science fiction focused free-to-play first person shooter offering. This MMOFPS launched in 2012 February 1st.
According to the narrative of the game, the Earth is virtually uninhabitable due to constant warfare and over pollution. Who knew? The forced emigration across the galaxy means new planets, more humans to fight, and of course aliens…
From the outset the game looks and plays a great deal like every other MMOFPS on the market. Characters have no gender—pretty much all male—and are hidden behind mountains of iron plating, armored backpacks, and weapons piled higher than cords of firewood.
Graphics and Sound: A little bit brown, but it’s a standard MMOFPS
A first person shooter needs a lot of grace and speed and Repulse has spades of that.
It’s easy enough to get going and the UI provides a fair indicator of where your targets happen to be. In the game mode that involves demolition, there’s even UI highlights to show where to find the bomb spots (and a warning when one is set.) As for locating the enemy—and friends—there’s a radar map that displays them.
The environments are clean enough to run in and generally are just run-down warehouses and crumbling city edifices. Maps contain numerous exits, lots of spots to shoot from, high and low, and some of the more fun team deathmatch maps include vents for climbing up behinds people in entrenched areas. The fact that the maps make it difficult to camp (as a sniper even) make them even more thoughtful.
The only problem graphically with Repulse is that the graphics are extremely subdued. There’s a lot to be said for some better or interesting effects with weapons, color customization for characters, or even apparent loadouts. Everyone looks virtually the same in their armor—and you only know the difference when it’s a friend as an enemy is trying to plier you teeth out with their gun if you see them.
The result is that maps are made of brown and grey with a splash of yellow perhaps. I think that the game could benefit a great deal from a variety of maps that take advantage of color and a greater variety of customization for characters that lets them peacock a little bit more (if only to make them easier targets when they try to pimp themselves out.)
Gameplay: MMOFPS to the core, science fiction elements, and a lot of action
Repulse is a lot like every other free-to-play FPS game on the market: guns, armor, and guts. Although it has a little bit of a class-based orientation as well by giving players the opportunity to choose between three different archtypes: assault, sniper, and engineer.
Assault plays your basic run-and-gun trooper with a big gun and heavy armor. They’re the slowest moving and the heaviest hitting of all the classes—and in a way they get to equip the most fun weapons and show a huge array of firepower. As a result, this is one of the most common classes to see in the field.
Sniper exemplifies a the wait-and-shoot archetype who can easily leap up into high places with a rocket boost and turn invisible. I saw them most often with sniper rifles, trying to find spots to camp out (invisible) and get a bead on people down long corridors or in open spaces. More than once I found myself head-shot by one of these players.
Engineer has an odd sort of equilibrium between armor, damage, and movement and some character class abilities. They’re capable of healing teammates when they get injured and support them in firefights. They can also get helmets that give them an idea of friendly and enemy health.
As mentioned above, headshots do cause tremendous damage. I got more than one myself to take out someone that I needed to.
There’s a small variety of game modes that we’ve all gotten used to: team deathmatch, capture-the-flag (with a variation allowing people to tag other players to pass the flag on), and demolution. There’s also a game mode called “Invasion,” this is essentially a zombie mode where a single player becomes an alien and then “infects” opposing players. It’s pretty fun. Finally there’s also a mode called “Evac,” it’s all about rushing through the level, finding an item, and then making it to an exit point.
I found playing demolition to be a bit tedious—it included a “kill all enemy players” victory condition if the bomb didn’t go through—but team deathmatch I found myself actually managing to hold my own in fights. Not to mention, I could respawn and get back into the fight.
The game also has some “action” elements. For example, in particular matches—called “Adrenaline Pro” the game allows players to jump off walls, double-jump up walls, and perform other tricks. I didn’t find it used in the game all that often (although it’s good for getting into odd places) but when it came down to it, people still jumped, dodged, and slung bullets and grenades when otherwise not occupied.
Freemium: A plethora of time-lapse expiring guns, armor, and everything else
Here’s where Repulse gets interesting. While almost all of the weapons can be bought with credits earned in the game there’s also a for-pay currency that’s used for the item shop. However, I didn’t see one gun or other item (except for services) that could be bought permanently, every single one had either a 1-day or 30-day time limit before it expires.
The microtransaction currency that runs the game are Aeria Points (AP) and they can be used in lieu of the standard in-game credits. As a result, buying AP can be used to jump ahead of other players who are currently grinding their way up the ranks. Using AP instead of credits could get expensive quite quickly due to the expiration gimmick—but it also means that buying in might give a player the chance to pull down better kill ratios and thus get more credits to keep buying the expiring guns.
Of course, items are still tied to ranks (experience wise pretty much) and thus earlier players cannot buy their way into end-game or high ranking items. Although they could buy their way into heavier firepower in order to rise through the ranks faster.
Conclusion: MMOFPS, science fiction shooter, Repulse is a clear winner in the prize fight
Like any other MMOFPS, Repulse doesn’t really need the narrative to get people hooked on gameplay. The variety of maps, different game modes, and a well-honed gameplay setup make for a workable first person shooter. It doesn’t do very much to stand out, but we don’t have many games taking the infectious-zombie mode to its obvious extreme like Repulse does.
The ability to buy guns, armor, helmets, backpacks, and other items with credits or AP makes for a lot of potential customization; but the expiring time means that you’ll have to continuously play the game in order to keep up weapons, mods, and armaments. Either that or buy into the currency market.
Invasion mode is extremely fun so that’s definitely a reason to at least try out the game.
Otherwise, coming to Repulse expect a game that feels like every other MMOFPS on the market with a science fiction edge. Look for guns, guts, armor, and glory and if that’s what you’re looking for you’ll do well.