Mixed or average reviews- based on 66 Ratings
Apr 10, 2013In my humble opinion Shootmania is the first shooter in over a decade to actually hold a candle to its venerable ancestors in the same genre, Quake (3) and Unreal Tournament (99). For those of you who know these games well, just think of Shootmania as a well-executed mix between the two in terms of character-handling, weapon feel and overall game speed and sense (with a small twist, I'll get to that).
If Q3 or UT99 doesn't ring a bell, let's just say Shootmania is a very "core" multiplayer FPS. Across various team or FFA game modes (Capture the Flag, Dominion, Last man standing, just to name the most well-known, there's actually a lot more) you are pit in small-to-medium sized arena against other players with a single weapon and a couple of health points. And that's it! No power-ups, no additional weapons to pick-up (although some maps include particular tiles which provide life regeneration or control of a specific weapon as long as you stand on them). In some modes you will respawn immediately upon death, in others death means waiting for the next round, CS-style.
That's the beauty of it! By going back to the arcade-FPS fundamentals, Shootmania is both very accessible (no complicated multi-layered objectives or elaborate weapon selection to remember or unlock) and very hard to master, as it focuses solely on the most basics of skills precision, reflexes and tactical sense.
Some people are put off by the relatively neutral (some say bland) graphic design. While it is true the "ancient ruins upon green scenery" is far from spectacular, its merits are many it's rather undemanding and will behave well on lower-end rigs, I find it quite soothing (agreable relief from the frantic action) but most importantly the action remains clear at all times which is paramount in this type of game.
Shooting is well handled (no ammo but instead an automatic reloading timer preventing mindless spam), the controls are responsive and the weapon inertia is familiar. Movement is very satisfactory in its simplicity. At first, it's a basic WASD ZQSD scheme to move strafe, space to jump and you're all set. You will then discover and master wall-jumping and most importantly, the ability to tremendously boost your speed based on the use of the Space key and your character's intertia. Hard to explain, hard to master, yet very fun once you get the hang of it.
SM is a fairly community-oriented product, and while it means there's already a plethora of game-modes and an almost unlimited supplies of maps (ranging from great to "wtf?"), it also means the orientation of the game (and ultimately, his success) will heavily depend on its population.
I'm writing this review as the open beta ends, and I must say I'm disappointed to note that the most popular game modes include Royal (Last Man Standing with a twist) or Battle (Dominion with a twist), as I find them to amongst the least interesting. Simple case of player taste here. Alternatively, it's become quite hard to find, in Europe at least, good servers proposing iCTF (instagib-CTF with the railgun-equivalent) or any instagib modes for that matter. I'm also dubfounded by the success of modes such as Obstacle (a kind of obstacle racing, no shooting involved) which is arguably fun and original but in my view quite far from the game's original intent.
The population is a bit on the elitist side but the general attitude remains several orders of magnitude better than the modern military shooters will all know. In other words, you won't be flamed endlessly if you are a beginner, which is quite agreable in this gaming age!
Overall, if you are longing for "old-school" arcade shooters like Q3 or UT99 or are looking for an arcade shooter that rewards player improvement over sheer playing time, and a steep-but-manageable difficulty curve doesn't frighten you then give SM a try, it's definitely worth its moderate price.… Full Review »