With Mad Max: Fury Road riding hot in the cinemas it’s the best possible time to open the Alpha for a new post-apocalyptic battle game with scrap metal vs scrap metal. Crossout will be that game, creating an arena for you to focus on building and re-building your cars and trucks for maximum Michael Bay effect. At Gamescom we had the pleasure to play this upcoming Action MMO Crossout Alpha ourselves.
Road to Apocalypse
While the game is heavily focused on online PVP, there is actually a story setting which focuses around a viral epidemic known as ‘the Crossout’ which exposed itself around 2021 with symptoms similar to rabies and drove people to extreme violence. The source behind it: what else; aliens!
A planned biological mutation occurred ahead of schedule, and kick-started dormant genes which weren’t supposed to activate yet. That is, for a few hundred years. Imagine the headache! As a result humanity hallucinated, went mad and either died or committed suicide on a massive scale. A handful of people found ways to survive and found themselves polarizing into two factions: those who aim to preserve the ways of the old world prior to the apocalypse and the others who aim to misbehave.
Craft, Ride, Destroy
Let’s head back to the actual gameplay. Crossout will have three major elements to focus on: first of all the crafting phase in the Workshop, the extensive Test Drive phase and finally explosive PVP in online battles. Crossout seems to focus less on the people riding the vehicles, and instead puts more effort into arena-combat.
We spent around fifteen minutes removing and adding various elements to our vehicles from spiked bumpers to rocket launchers, chainsaws, power-drills and machine guns. Their weapon arsenal promises a lot of fun. The game will rely on physics, and so we had a highly useful testing area (Test Drive), which is an ideal space to test the effect of your vehicle.
The Test Drive provides a ready variety of terrains, enemy dummies and best of all: ramps of different inclinations from respectable jumps to absolutely insane wall-climbing angles. For a while we tested our engine on speed, breaks and agility, the vehicle’s center of gravity and arsenal. It’s easily possible to create tens of thousands of combinations with this game and we have no doubt more features will continue to be added. My neighbor had a smaller buggy and was easily more nimble than me on the test terrain. Inside the Workshop is a safe environment akin to many vehicle-based games and while it offers an easy overview to adjust your creation, it’s not extensively innovative. I will say that they put good thought into navigation and available features.
By testing the two rocket launchers I fitted to the vehicle I quickly discovered these do not move independently from the vehicle’s driving angle and therefore I had to be driving straight towards the enemy to reach them. On the plus side, I basically destroyed the fake enemies in one shot. Still, I wasn’t convinced because it would delay my aiming greatly if I had to adjust to the target’s constantly moving cars, so I went back to my Workshop and exchanged one of the rockets for a machine gun. At least I’d be able to defend myself now.
To battle! The environments we played in looked good and gritty, but not yet finished. They are borrowing a great deal from dirty FPS maps we already know. There will be several types of platforms and maps to play on, so during this playthrough I wasn’t able to see or judge all of them. While the map offered a good variety in obstacles, height and terrain I also saw some players getting rather stuck when they were half poised on a higher level, and their wheels no longer touched any surface. I decided to shoot this sitting duck with much pleasure. Of course I hadn’t considered my vehicle armor or defenses and this supposedly harmless duck aimed at my weapon set and shot away both my machine gun and rocket launcher.
Okay so what now? I was now effectively a box driving around without offensive arsenal. Good to know that you can disable enemies, that actually ups the stakes. But what was I to do now? I decided to turn into a beautiful explosion around the next corner, that’s my version of the story. I’m not certain how the developers want me to behave when I lost my weapons, there are likely map-related goals as secondary objective but I didn’t have the time to find out. In conclusion: beware, certain elements of your vehicles can be targeted and shot specifically to disarm you. It will take players a great deal of skill to identify the enemy’s most harmful element and neutralize it. This may be the weapons, but may also be something else, and will affect the machine’s performance immediately.
During our play-through we weren’t able to see or investigate all the features, but have gotten a good grasp of the options. Several untested element include an ‘antigrav field’, various platforms and maps, gathering items from the maps, vehicle performance stats (great for theory crafters), flying drones, stealth generators, personalization with colors, patterns an stickers, ingame auctions, and direct trading options. Of course I would also have liked to test the entire weapon arsenal as well.
At this moment I’m not certain about community elements, whether there will be guilds or teams. I sincerely expect so since this game seems to aim for the eSports stage with its competitive drive.
Few Words, Heavy Action
I feel that this game will offer players different strategies which most suit them. It leans heavily on the Mad Max setting of finding objects in a world with a great lack of resources and making the most of it either on your own car or else in the market. Just like Max himself, the game is one of few words and high in action. The battles are intense and can be very quick. It will be suitable for some quick fun, but also for really intense crafting evaluation to form the most ideal modifications for your unique play style.
Crossout, Gaijin Entertainment, Gamescom, Gamescom 2015, Hands On