Published on January 12th, 2012 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
CES 2012: NEXUiZ Hands-On Impressions
Platform: Xbox LIVE Arcade, PSN, Steam
Release Date: Early 2012
A fast-paced shooter running on the CryENGINE 3 usually doesn’t describe an Xbox LIVE Arcade title. But, in the case of the THQ published NEXUiZ— it is not your typical FPS. We got to chat with Lead Artist Chris Holden at CES 2012 to discuss the upcoming title. If you were looking for an arena shooter reminiscent of the Unreal Tournament days, then you might find a home among mutators, quirky weaponry, and most of all–speed.
NEXUiZ is being developed by ILLFonic and published by THQ for console and Steam. Previously created by Alientrap Software, ILLFonic is bringing the title to console as it will be making its way to the XBLA via Microsoft’s House Party Promotion. With an already ample supply of quality games coming to this year’s February 15th kickoff, after spending some time with it at the 2012 Consumer Electronic Show (CES), it will be a tough decision where I will empty my point piggy bank.
For the most part, NEXUiZ is a very fast-paced shooter filled with a slew of real time game changers. The Kavussari and the Forsellians have a truce to only pit their best warriors in various arenas rather than on the field of battle.
The weaponry of the game is reflective of its quick kills and might have you change your strategy based on the death-card you were dealt. The game hosts a slew of mutators, over 100 in fact, which change the environment around. Things such as the Color Blind mutator take all of the color out of the environment. It might not seem like that big of a nuisance, but this makes it hard to determine friend from foe or what the closer power up is.
Some of the other mutators include names like theVampire, which elicits the same effect-but instead turns the whole screen red. Others are player specific, such as Helmet Head-which helps the owner avoid head shots, or Body Swaps, which trades player bodies. If you were looking for something like invisibility–there is a mutator for that. After a pickup of one of these game changers, the options are displayed amongst the arrows on the d-pad. As stated earlier, there are over 100 different mutators, but some can also be unlocked through challenges and will queue in the map for usage. If it weren’t enough that the screen was fading in and out of color, teams may also be zipping around the screen on jet packs with the right pickup. You’ll be glad to find that there are weapons necessary to take them out of La La Land and bring them right back down to Earth, –er, whatever planet we were on.
There are over nine weapons total, a shotgun varies depending the team you are on. Don’t be too discouraged by the seemingly small number of available weapons. Each weapon has a secondary fire option which can be accessed with the ‘LT’. This means that you can say goodbye to iron sights and hello to a steady open-fielded right thumb stick. From the Rocket Launcher that allows you to steer the rocket and detonate, to a scoped rifle begging for a sniper to wield, there are plenty of ways to augment your typical shooter experience. One of my favorites immediately became the SMG/UZI inspired Ravager and its quick clip unloads. The Mortar was also helpful in a planned discharge for the right escaping bounding enemy.
If you were wondering just exactly how to defend from all of these killer devices, the game is shaping up to be a little different than your standard shooter. Most FPS’s on the market rely on regenerative health or shields. In this case, we see shield pick–ups readily available to help a bleeder out.
Something else that you might find a little different is the lack of a sprint button. Wait, so a fast paced shooter with no run? It might have been almost impossible to throw that device in the mix of gameplay. A few rounds into the game you will come to the same realization that it is simply not needed. Instead of a sprint, players can time “bounds” in order to move about the map quicker. There is enough room to make it down narrow pathways and bound to transporters, and enough stopping room to make it to the device to launch you into midair.
While the game is still months away from release, it was comforting to find that there were already plenty of testers playing through the confirmed nine different maps of the game. Chris also acknowledged the future plans of the downloadable content and that they were coming very close to completion of the overall game.
At this point, NEXUiZ is shaping up to be a great looking title. Although it does look pretty good in person, the screens on the Xbox LIVE website are a lot more polished than the running version at CES. But, graphics aren’t everything.
Even with the game running on the CryEngine 3, it is still a wonder if the mutators will stay the same based on feedback from the community. I could tell right now that the period for the Vampire and Color Blind mutators were a little lengthy. At this point, some may seem a little more overpowering than others, and some just downright annoying. Considering the realm of fickle video game players, I’m guessing I won’t be the first one to say this.