Mobile Forces Review
By Laurel Delude |
2015's SiN expansion pack, Wages of SiN, came with one of the best deathmatching multiplayer experiences around. HoverDM, as it was called, had specially made Quake 2 powered levels complete with hover bikes that controlled wonderfully and integrated into the base game marvelously. It was only then that the original SiN got the respect it deserved. It was only then that I learned the true potential of the vehicular-based first-person shooter.
Since that epiphany, every time I've sat down to play a title I've prefaced the experience by poising a few simple questions to myself and anyone else who happens to be in earshot: Where are the vehicles? When will I see the vehicles? How come I am not sitting in a vehicle? Can I drive that vehicle? Why are there no vehicles? Where are my crackers?
Games like Tribes 2 and Halo tore up the market, proving that my questions were not just my own. And, with the impending launch of the stellar looking Battlefield, the genre is really starting to heat up, clearly showing us what the scope of the meld between foot and wheel can mean for man (putting mines on the wing of a plane and then dive bombing it into a carrier while failing to inform the person in the backseat, for instance). So, it seems appropriate that a company like Rage, which prides itself on making some of the most intense arcade/action games around, would try its hand at the reigns.
Here's what's odd about Mobile Forces, Rage's team-based, online-centric first-person shooter with jeeps and peeps: It's the company's first effort at the FPS genre, and it shows. Despite all the shooting, the action, the platforming, and the so forth that the company has developed in its illustrious history, the game is as unpolished and unrefined a title as a first effort could ever be. It's a lot of neat ideas, but with little balance. It's like a pile of a cool with no Fonzarelli attached to it -- no perfected instrument that carries this cool around and lets other people enjoy it. Is the essence of cool without the vessel still good? Read on.
I got this game months ago, but it wasn't scheduled to ship stateside until...tomorrow, so I held off with the review, partly by choice, partly by force. See, it's hard to review an online action game when no one else but you is playing it. There were times when I'd get online and look for a server only to see nothing in the in-game browser. Thinking my game might be faulty or finicky, I'd vainly restart or attempt some other kind of hopelessly ineffective computer remedy. It wasn't until sometime later that I realized this title is simply not popular (released early summer in Europe). After giving it a few months, I gave up on the community and settled for what's there.
Imagine my non-surprise when I learned that what's there really, really sucks. Of the six servers that exist, none are functional. They all told me my version was out of date, and the ones that didn't couldn't because they were full (all one of them). Then, after patching the game, I was told that the servers were now the ones running an outdated version. So I figure there must be some kind of interim patch I missed. If only I could find the mysterious 1.05 patch that lies between 1.0 and 1.1.
Server issues were all provided I could first get the game to work properly. I had to do all kinds of bad stuff to get this puppy to go. Originally putting it on the computer and hitting the fangled setup buttons that come with fangled installation programs didn't work because the game didn't seem to like half of the systems I dared try to put it on (Windows XP, 2000, whatever). Then, after it installed on some of them the CD didn't feel like working on others (I guess sitting in a case for months is a dangerous thing to ask a game to do), so I eventually muddled through it by using a system I had installed it on weeks ago (cursing, kicking, and biting included).
The modes are pretty awesome, and are what you would expect to find in most games, but do not. Unfortunately, matches are still solo or team-based. That's not a problem, but what I don't like is that there are only two allowable teams per match, which means it's you vs. them, red vs. blue. Why more people don't pick up on some of the goodness that was found in UT (specifically domination) andcreater multiple team scenarios is beyond me.
Even without more than two teams ever being able to battle, taking on capture the flag, trailer (where commandeering a vehicle with an attached trailer and then dragging it into an enemy base is necessary) and others like captains (where killing the commanding fools of other teams is objective) and holdout (domination) is pretty cool. The problem is that even though the modes are sweet, other things about the game are not (namely weapons, graphics, networking, and community). If networking, weapons, graphics, and community are important those things are important to you, then perhaps you had better look someplace else, but if you relish vehicles and only vehicles, then here you can stay.