Firefall made a major showing at Pax Prime this year, from banners on the escalators, the giant statue just outside the entrance to the Exhibitor Hall to the sheer amount of square feet they hogged on the show floor. Created by the up and coming Red 5 Studios, who house veteran developers who have worked on World of Warcraft and Tribes, FireFall is free-to-play massive online cooperative shooter and I had the opportunity to experience the PvE portion of the game.
Firefall takes place in a beautiful post apocalyptic world where mankind has discovered a new all-purpose resource called Crystite. As they mined this new resource, it consequently leads to the arrival of the Melding, a hostile energy storm that starts to engulf the planet. From that storm a new bred of species emerges, The Chosen, a bloodthirsty race hell-bent of destroying the human race.
As you combat the Chosen and find an answer to the Melding, you’ll have the option of choosing various battleframes – classes – on one character. So far, we have the Assault battleframe, an offensive juggernaut that has the ability to cause massive AoE damage, the Recon battleframe, specializes in long-range attacks as well as utilizes mines and special ammo. The Medic battleframe, the healer of the bunch, no slouch on their own, they have the ability to drain other players health as well as, excess to a grenade launcher, and lastly we have the Engineer battleframe, the mechanical genius, they can deploy turrets and energy shield that they can upgrade and repair on the fly. For my demo, I started out using a Recon Battleframe.
My demo began in a dropship on the way to Copacabana, a beautiful resort town that somehow escaped the Firefall; upon landing, I set off immediately to explore the town. The town comes with all the amenities I might need such as, a Battleframe station where I can swap my class, vendors, ammo and health stations – similar to Arena FPS -, and turrets. Navigating is easy, every class has access to a jetpack that allows for faster and smarter travel and while on the ground waiting for your jetpack to charge up, you can sprint. I approached a S.I.N – Shared Intelligence Network – tower where players receive mission details as well as populate their map of the surrounding area.
Being dispatched to figure why the water supply pumps are being clogged up, I set out to the sandy beaches. Upon arriving to the pumps, I interact with the valve, as soon as I turn it, Aranhas pop out and I have to fight them off.
Combat in Firefall is very FPS like. You have to manually aim you weapon, manually dodge and maneuver. The RPG comes with your skills. Each class has multiple skills they are able to utilize but can only set three at any given time. On the Recon I had an ability called Resonating Bullets, this ability lowers the damage the next 4 shots but in return it places a mine on them that explodes after a set amount of time, I could also deploy a long range mine to anywhere of my choosing as well as.
Eliminating the immediate threat it turns out, they have been breeding and clogging up the pipes and upon further investigation, I’m sent to destroy some nearby Aranha nests. At this moment, I head back to town to switch out my Battleframe since the encounters where bits more close quarted without a good spot to use my sniper rifle. Since I had already tried out the Recon and Assault battleframes at Pax East, I decided to give the Medic Battleframe a go.
Each weapon in Firefall has a primary and secondary fire and each class has a secondary and primary weapon. The primary weapon for the medic is a healing gun that shoots out a green beam that heals others players, in return healing myself, but the secondary fires a red beam that sucks health from the enemy healing myself in the process yet again. If all else fails I can whip out my secondary gun, a grenade launcher and go to town.
I head back out to the field and proceed to completing my mission by eradicating the Aranha nests while supporting allies around me with some green beam love. As I finish off the remaining enemies, I get feedback from S.I.N. that there has been some interference with the system. Now I notice a gigantic dropship approaching. Keep in mind I’m still finishing up my current mission, but the dropship keeps on creeping towards the town.
Suddenly the dropship is on top of us, the once beautiful resort town with sandy beaches and plumbing problems turns darks with an ominous aura feeling the air. The Chosen are upon us and it’s time to defend the town. Should we fail, the town is taken over and we no longer have access to the resources of the area, essentially creating a no-play zone until people come together and take the town back.
Going into defensive mode, players, myself included are tasked to defending two turrets and the S.I.N tower, while the dropship deployed pods that spawned Chosen hostiles. The action is intense, not only are we trying to blow up the dropship but also repelling the invaders and destroying their transport pods. This is a dynamic event where players are rallied together to complete this event, so I see hundreds of people flying around the city franticly doing their best.
Killing off a majority the pods, everyone focused on downing the ship. When its HP hit zero, it blew up and we were rewarded with loot, I obtained an awesome Recon battleframe; thus, ending my PvE demo. I had a blast and even though it is a free-to-play game, the level of quality is high and very polished. The game is very flexible, I’m not stuck on one battleframe through my character’s career, and there are PvE and PvP offerings to wet the appetite of anyone with an eye for shooters. I can’t wait to get some more hands-on time with the game.
Red 5 has just started sending out invites to their beta program. Functioning much like the G-mail beta, players who are invited will be given an extra code to pass on to their friend. From there they will keep ramping up the numbers until launch day sometime in December of this year, performing a character wipe and officially opening the game to all.