Published on September 3rd, 2013 | by Chris Scott0
Summary: Interesting doesn't overload the fact that it is a game that relies on people playing it and creating it to thrive and no one is.
If the success and longevity of the LEGO brand has proven anything, it is that people love to create. Video games offer players the opportunity to step into the fantastical adventures of others but oftentimes they fail to offer the ability to actual craft one’s own tale. Sure, there are games with user creation tools that offer users the opportunity to create, but they are often separate from the game and more complex than the average person has the time and patience to master.
Minecraft came on the scene and changed the standard, molding the game itself around creation instead of offering it as a tacked on feature. Since taking gaming by storm, many have tried to tap into its popularity to varying degrees of success. Guncraft is the latest of these pretenders to the throne, this time mixing the aesthetic and destructibility of Minecraft with competitive first person shooters. The results are interesting even if they leave quite a bit to be desired.
Guncraft doesn’t do anything special in terms of first person shooters. If you’ve played one of the modern standards you’ll feel right at home with Guncraft. What is different is the ability to totally destroy the environment and create new cover when needed, block by block. It adds an interesting dynamic to the game. After all, who doesn’t want to destroy a pillar to get at a hiding enemy?
Unfortunately what this feature lacks is any sort of physics model. Destroying key points in a structure have no effect other than the blocks supporting it are now gone. This makes destroying the environment more like taking an eraser to the playing field and eliminates any true tactical advantage in environmental manipulation. It’s a shame the game lacks any true physics model because some of the levels designed for the game are works of art and seeing them crumble would add some enjoyment to an otherwise barren wasteland of the servers.
The lack of an active user base is really a shame because the Survival/Meteor mode, Guncraft’s most popular mode, is actually a lot of fun. Survival/Meteor is a standard Deathmatch mode with the added threat of either a lava field rising out of the ground or a meteor shower raining down from above. Players don’t kill each other but rather freeze them for a short period of time in an effort to be the last one not swallowed by the lava or hit by a meteor. It’s a truly interesting take on standard game types but the lack of more than eight to ten people consistently playing is a big issue.
And those eight to ten people amount to about a third of the entire Guncraft player base, which, even if you aren’t good at math, isn’t a very large number of people. And while competitive shooters rely on an active user base, games focusing on user generated content are even more reliant. Being as the other half of the appeal of Guncraft is the user-generated content, from maps to weapon skins, this is a major issue. Unlike Minecraft, which handles its user generated content smartly, by making the game about it, Guncraft’s major creation tools are outside the core game. It makes sense, being as Guncraft is primarily a first person shooter, but it also means that only the most diehard of fan creators are going to utilize the tools and as such it really is something of a wasteland.
The game is an interesting wasteland to be sure, filled with great ideas and amazing potential. But interesting doesn’t overload the fact that it is a game that relies on people playing it and creating it to thrive and since no one is playing it, those great ideas and amazing potential are just wasted aspects of something that could have been cool but instead isn’t worth one’s time.
Note: This review was written with material received from the publisher. For more on our review process, please read here.