Offensive Combat has been resurrected and is now Offensive Combat: Redux. I have to admit never having heard of let alone played Offensive Combat but in preparing for this review I found that it was pretty much a cult classic browser game that had a pretty large following.
I am sure the people that loved this browser game didn’t have a PC that could play “proper” games or were the sort that walk around grinning and laughing to themselves all day because if I had a gun to my head and was told to say something true that I was not negative about it, was that it was an online shooter with customisable characters.
I was sent this game for free and I have to say, I still feel like I overpaid. Let’s begin with the only thing I can find to say positive about Offensive Combat Redux. There is a great deal of character customisation. The devs have at least got this part right. You can buy different body parts, head, legs, chest, arms and hands and you can buy these parts with money you earned in game. It was nice to see that there were a huge number of items so that I could completely revamp my character without being forced to cough up real money.
Moving on to gameplay and I will first question the Offensive part of the title. Farting, wanker signs and poop emojis are not offensive unless you are eight. Yet, this appears to be the game’s hook. Being offended is clearly subjective. For example, a skin headed neo-Nazi is not going to be offended by the word “Jew” but a survivor of the holocaust would be offended just by the presence of the Nazi. So I don’t find farting offensive, it’s a natural action and I have two small children, they fart while sitting on my lap at least once or twice an hour. I make the wanker sign every few minutes when driving so the only things that are offensive in when in the game are the same things that are offensive in all other online games, 15-year-old American boys. After killing someone who was about to capture my flag I was told I was a “Jew, faggot, whore” I responded with the obligatory, “haha you are so salty” but I was again met with “your mother is a hooker and screws pigs”. Pretty offensive but when you play online as much as I do it’s hard to avoid these actually offensive little boys.
The lack of a campaign mode means that this is an online only game. You would think that would mean getting your network setup sorted would be an important thing to focus on. It clearly wasn’t as trying to get into a match so that I could be offended meant waiting an average of 4 minutes but I have heard people waited as long as 8 minutes.
When I finally managed to play I was shocked at how bad the controls felt and how inconsistent they were. For example, on one map, I forget the name, I was able to leap from one building to another through an open window. On the same level, I could not move past a pipe embedded in the floor and about halfway up my leg.
At least there is more customisation to talk about. Each weapon has a tech tree and you can choose to add different sights, barrels, ammo, stocks or even skins. I really get the feeling that so much time was spent making all the shiny stuff for you to have fun customising your character and weapons that Three Gate AB forgot to make their game fun to play.
You cannot customise anything during a game but you will have plenty of time between games to look through all the options. Some weapons don’t have slots for certain items but what is there, is extensive.
Movement and gunplay are surely the most important aspect of a shooter, especially if you are playing online and this is the biggest failing of the game and an area that Three Gate AB clearly don’t understand. I felt like I was playing in treacle, my character didn’t respond to my key depressions and whilst the mouse movement was OK it wasn’t snappy enough, no matter how I changed the settings to really feel like any decent shooting game out there. There are power-ups that are dotted around the map and I was approaching one when I saw an enemy on route to the same. I stopped, opened fire and then tried to move to the side so I could take cover. What happened was I missed every shot, didn’t move when I expected to and ended up charging forward to grab the power up and take cover behind a whole building. The enemy player tried to shoot me but he too missed every shot. In the lobby later, we were both told that you cannot aim directly at someone, you have to aim down and to the right a little. This was an early build and I am sure it has been patched but it’s this level of lazy coding that springs from every pore of this game. How odd to send this game to a reviewer when something as basic as aiming is off?
There is nothing new or innovative in the level design. I am pretty poor at learning maps but these were so simple that I was able to predict player paths with almost 100% accuracy after playing a map once. There was no fun, no surprises, spawns are broken, enemies appeared to be able to spawn camp with ease or get into one of the impossibly low sniper towers and dominate a lane.
Deathmatch was tedious, Team Deathmatch was tedious and capture the flag had flags on it but only ever contained the same players. That is not a joke, the same people appeared in nearly every match. This wouldn’t have been that bad but at least 3 players were hacking. This isn’t sour grapes or anything of the sort, they said, this game is so easy to hack, then told me where I was and shot me as I moved out from a building, without looking at me. I think everyone I was playing with agreed the game was terrible and so didn’t mind abusing it. In fact, I suspect some people were trying to get banned so they never had to play it again.
Graphically the game looks to have been designed in the early 2000s and being happy with what was accomplished the devs said “why update” meaning that everything looks terrible. Some of the weapons don’t actually look like the weapon they are supposed to be and spotting players from a distance is pretty difficult. It doesn’t really matter though because as I said before, you can only hit them if you don’t aim directly at them. The graphics feel over saturated and I swear some of the models were basically small images that they just resized by dragging on the corner with a mouse. This combination means that you quickly decide you hate the young and want to kill snakes for money. I don’t know what that last statement means but its as confusing as you feel when you play the game. Everything is far too in your face and every time you get a kill your screen fills with over the top information. It’s as if a child has done a great drawing and is shoving it in your face shouting “DO YOU LOVE ME NOW DADDY, DO YOU?”.
Firing a weapon will treat you to some of the worst sound design I have ever heard in a game. One of the weapons has a sound effect and all the other weapons use it. There is one music track playing over and over and it’s awful. The character noises make me think of Duff Man from the Simpsons saying “OH YEAH”. If you have ever played the original Duke Nuk’em you will know what I mean. Luckily my headphones have a feature where I can take them off. I actually played a couple of matches with no sound. It was nice.
It’s ironic that the only offensive thing about Offensive combat: Redux is that Three Gates AB actually released it. I would go as far as saying I hate this game. I want to punch it in the face and tell it to shut up.
Every time “Cockshot” appeared on my screen I imaged a 12-year-old laughing and I thought to myself. This game is £14.99 on Steam currently and has a mostly positive score. I would like to say for the record those people are wrong.
Please don’t buy this game. There are free to play games that are deeper, have a better community and will give you far more satisfaction.
Dirty Bomb and TF2 spring to mind instantly and there are much more. Just before I posted this review I checked the stats here http://steamcharts.com/app/622170 and there are currently 2 players online. At the height of its popularity, there were a total of 97 players worldwide. Compare that to Dirty Bomb, which at the same time has 1,392 concurrent players and you can see where Offensive Combat: Redux is heading. This game is a failure. It is a poorly executed homage to a game some people liked in the past and it should have stayed there.