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Steam Early Access with Morph: Gear Up


Welcome to my new series, Seam Early Access with Morph, or SEAM for short. In this series I’ll take a look at games that are on Steams Early Access list, mostly the free alphas and betas, but also some of the ones you might have to pay for. I’ll state price, both release and early access, in each article.

For this first venture, I’ll dive into the recently begun project Gear Up. It is still in alpha and is expected to go into beta this summer. As an alpha release, it is obviously full of flaws and bugs and other fancy things that might be gamebreaking, so I won’t be listing any of that. As an alpha it will also be rapidly changing, so I won’t go into features that doesn’t work or features I don’t personally see a reason for either, this series will look more at the aesthetics of the game, the style and the direction they are taking it.

Gear Up at a first glance:

Before hitting that download button, I can see that the game is right up my alley, with mechs all over the place. It looks to be an action First Person Shooter (FPS) á la Hawken (another game that is currently in Beta) or Mech Commander, but with a more cartoony feel to it, much like Team Fortress 2.

The description promises it to be a tank game, where you control a customizable tank with your choice of several turrets. Features includes, but are not limited to, challenges, 32 player battles, arcade physics and a custom-built game engine.

Specs: (Windows for now, Mac and Linux is promised later)

Minimum:

  • OS:Windows Vista SP2 / Windows 7 / Windows 8
  • Processor:Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz or Althon X2 2.7 GHz
  • Memory:2 GB RAM
  • Graphics:DirectX 10 or 11 compatible Nvidia or AMD ATI card, ATI Radeon 3870 or higher, Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT or higher.
  • DirectX®:11
  • Hard Drive:1 GB HD space
  • Sound:Any supported by the OS
  • Other Requirements:Broadband Internet connection
  • Additional:Windows XP is not supported.

Recommended:

  • OS:Windows Vista SP2 / Windows 7 / Windows 8
  • Processor:Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz or Althon X2 2.7 GHz
  • Memory:4 GB RAM
  • Graphics:DirectX 11 compatible Nvidia or AMD ATI card, ATI Radeon 3870 or higher, Nvidia GeForce 9800 GT or higher.
  • DirectX®:11
  • Hard Drive:1 GB HD space
  • Sound:Any supported by the OS
  • Other Requirements:Broadband Internet connection
  • Additional:Windows XP is not supported.

Achievements so far:

  • Played the Alpha (Play the Alpha version of the game)
  • Multi kills for 2, 3 and 4 kills in a row
  • Killcounts for 25, 50, 25 and 100 kills

First impression:

The game is very bare bones as it is now, but still surprisingly playable. In the gameplay itself, I found no gamebreaking bugs. You play as tanks where you can select your body, turret, wheels (or legs), primary weapon and 2 secondary weapons as well as some visual customization. The game can be played with either keyboard+mouse, just the keyboard or a joypad and it feels natural in all three settings.

You unlock more customizable items with experience, you get experience for killing others, pretty straight forward so far, but from what I understand they will move over to a more leaderboard-based XP system in the future.

There are two game modes, Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch.

One grief I’ve found with the game so far is that more experienced players have unlocked better equipment, and at the moment there is no level equalization mechanics implemented, so everyone plays against everyone. This will make your victory feel so much sweeter thou, because it is still very much possible to take down the higher ranked players even as a total newbie.

Another grief is the weapon balance. You have so many weapons to choose from, but I found myself sticking to the regular, standard plasma cannon, because that was the only weapon I could deal damage with. There are a few better ones up ahead, but I only got to 1000 XP and the ones that were unlocked by then were far inferior to the plasma cannon. The minigun required extremely short distance and even then it took a while to take the tanks down. The shotgun couldn’t even hit at point blanc, the ion cannon were practically shooting air, the flame thrower is also very close range, and thou it hits better than the minigun, the damage were far too little to actually do anything. The sniper rifle might have been good, but it emits a big puff of smoke when you fire it, so you can’t really see where you hit to adjust your aim.

I am pretty sure these things will be fixed in the near future.

Final verdict:

I found this game very entertaining, and thou I’m not willing to take the risk and buy the premium pack just yet, it is on my list of things to support. It’s highly recommended and very enjoyable if you like fast-paced, action-oriented games. If you’re not willing to spend the €8.99 for the promo pack, at least try the free version.

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About Morphman the Clown

I'm the nice kind of clown that entertains you before I eat you

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