Developer: Plastic Piranha / Publisher: 505 Games / Played on: PC / Release Date: October 15, 2013
With games like Rise of the Triad proving there’s an under-served audience for classic PC sensibilities, Rekoil doesn’t sound as impossible as it might have a year ago. Get this: a shooter… that’s just about shooting. OK that’s a little extreme. Sometimes it’s about briefcases too.
Still, you get the picture. No levels, kill streaks, attack dogs… and hopefully no 12 year olds screeching in your ear. Given that the game isn’t out yet I can’t vouch for the screeching kids, but I can at least say the game is a solid shooter in the vein of Counter-Strike. A variety of realistic guns (shotguns, SMGs, sniper rifles, etc) offer the standard trade-offs between range, mobility, and reload speeds you’d expect.
Rather than superfluous glitz on the gameplay, Rekoil aims to impress with all the trimmings we used to expect from fully-featured shooters. Let’s take it by the numbers. Rekoil will come with seven modes: CTF (albeit with colored briefcases), Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Hold the Case (one flag CTF), Capture & Hold Domination, Cyberpunk (aka Search and Destroy), and a yet-to-be-named mode based on Half-Life mod The Hidden.
*pauses to breathe*
Rekoil will also ship with around ten maps, and while I only played on a handful of them the map designer on board clearly knows his shit. One map took place in a dilapidated drainage causeway. Chunks of protruding concrete provide just the right amount of visual obscurity to give snipers some chances to hit cross-map shots while longer tunnels run the sides of the map for flanking opportunities. I particularly enjoyed the lumber yard map featuring two facing warehouses with stacks of lumber in between. Each warehouse offers ideal sniping points while the lumber provides partial cover for incoming enemies angling for the briefcase.
Rekoil’s classic features extend deeper than modes and maps. With a map editor that includes all of the game’s content and full mod / Steam Workshop support, Rekoil might reignite the old OLD days of shooters. I’m talking the Quake days where joining a server was like flipping to a random TV channel at 3AM. Crazy maps and weird mods would rotate in and out of map pools every week, giving more profound of a reason to keep playing than leveling up your profile or unlocking a silly weapon skin. Dedicated servers provide the backbone of this experience, so naturally they’ll be supported as well.
While I expect a host of maps recreating high schools or work offices, Rekoil has a serious side as well. With streaming support baked into the game, Rekoil is targeting the serious competitor in addition to nostalgic geezers like me that spent hours with the likes of Unreal Tournament. I expect the mod scene will be a big factor here too — if the guns or maps shipped with Rekoil are somehow unfit for professional play, you can bet the community will fix them.
So whether you’re after those MLG paychecks or you want to mod your game so your rifle becomes an embalmed squirrel, Rekoil just may revive a style of multiplayer shooter you’ve missed. Look for it on Steam and Xbox Live Arcade on October 15th.