Firefall PC Review

The world is on the edge of destruction. 4 years after an event known as M-Day, the day humans attempted the first faster-than-light travel using the Arclight, the Melding nearly engulfed the entire planet. With the last communities on Earth being lead by the United Armies of the Accord, the remaining unified governments, it is up to you to defend what’s left and fight back against creatures known as the Aranhas and the Chosen, a mysterious race seemingly connected to the Melding. Firefall, a free-to-play FPS MMO, brings intense action in a world riddled with obstacles and enemies at every turn. Since the events of Firefall and M-Day, the world as we know it is not the same.

Brace yourselves, electrifying alien Winter of Death is coming

UAOTA-logoAs one of the last renaming soldiers of the Accord, you are ARES 35, a mercenary led by Aero who’s affiliated with the Accord. Her job is to guide and update you through missions as you venture across New Eden, located near the coast of Brazil, near Fortaleza. Firefall is the event that took place in 2178, in which an asteroid passing Earth gets caught through the Moon’s gravity and hits the Earth. Before impact, the asteroid broke into many pieces causing thousands of impacts, decimating the planet. With the fall of many governments, including the US, the planet entered a dark age know as the Nine Year Winter.

During that time, scientists made a breakthrough and discovered Crystite, a crystal of pure energy that can be harnessed and help propel Earth into a new Golden Age. With the discovery of Crystite, humanity grew hungry for more. After tracking the trajectory of the asteroid, they located a planet they named Alpha Prime which was rich with Crystite. After colonizing the planet with 6 ships in rotation of delivering Crystite in 14 year cycles, the Arclight was built to bring shipments faster, cutting down the 14 year round trip journey to 8 days one way. In 2233 (4 years before the game) during the Arclight’s attempt at FTL travel, it crashed landed in Fortaleza, killing nearly 200,000 people. From there, the engines from the Arclight ruptured a hole in space, causing a mysterious cloud to appear. Known as the Melding, it quickly covered the planet, only leaving a small area surrounding the crash landed Arclight free from its grasp. As long as the Arclight’s engines remain running, the Melding doesn’t move in closer.

The Chosen can appear anywhere and at anytime.

The Chosen can appear anywhere and at anytime.

With the Melding come the Chosen, a mysterious race that is able to walk through the Melding unharmed. Though their source is unclear, it’s speculated that they traveled to Earth along with the Melding. Their intent is the destruction of everyone on Earth. Though they appear to be alien, they inhabit similar features to humans and even use the same technology that was created by humans upon the discovery of Crystite, such as battleframes and weaponry. Due to that, it’s speculated as well that the Chosen are humans mutated by the Melding. The Aranha also inhabit the Earth, accidentally brought from Alpha Prime. Upon arrival the Aranha have reproduced rapidly and scattered across the planet. Given the constant war between the Accord and the Chosen, the Aranha is an added nuisance to the people of New Eden. Their presence is not to be taken lightly seeing as they are usually found in large numbers and can easily prove too much to handle. With their numbers also come size given that several creatures can be just as big as you or even larger. Each encounter will test your abilities as an Accord Soldier, utilizing each ability and accessory at your disposal.

Batman wishes he had this in his Utility Belt

As ARES 35, you are provided with 5 main battleframes, a suit of armor and skills designed differently and each with their own abilities and weapons specific for each battleframe: Assault, Biotech, Dreadnaught, Engineer, and Recon. Equipped with jump jets that allow you fly for a short amount of time and 2 weapons, each battleframe offers a different experience based on the one chosen. Besides the base one, each frame has a higher tier offering a more powerful battleframe than the one prior. Every secondary weapon can vary though are usually assault rifles and offer unlimited ammo.

Assault Battleframe
The Assault Battleframe has 3 tier frames. Assault is the first frame you learn how to use and each recruit of the Accord is trained to use. Given equal balance of offensive and defensive abilities, it’s easy to learn and a good way to grasp the mechanics of Firefall. Equipped with a Plasma Rifle, it offers 2 fire modes, the first being a plasma blast while the secondary shot is a scatter shot for close range combat. Tigerclaw is the second battleframe which offers a different weapon, The Fusion Cannon. With a stronger impact it has a smaller area of effect than the Plasma Cannon, though the secondary shot offers a chargeable blast with a bigger area of effect. On top of that, the Tigerclaw battleframe is lighter and faster than the other two Assault frames. Firecat is the third battleframe which uses a Thermal Cannon which fires heated plasma shots that bursts upon impact. The secondary shot shoots smaller fire balls that can bounce off edges which can also ignite on impact. Of the 3 frames, the Firecat is the most powerful at the cost of being slower than the other two frames.

 

Biotech Battleframe
The Biotech Battleframe has 3 tier frames. Biotech is the first which focus on rapid firing and healing abilities. As a combat tech, you can heal others during combat as well as revive them quicker than anyone else. Built with a lightweight armor providing less protection, the Biotech is equipped with skills allowing it to slow enemies with poisons and self heal based on damage and healing dealt. The Biotech’s main weapon is the BioNeedler, firing sharpened needles at high speed plus a secondary buck shot for close combat. Dragonfly is the second battleframe, and is Firefall’s true healer. Since its main focus is support, the Dragonfly’s abilities are mainly healing attacks and area of effect healing. Completely lacking offensive skills, a Dragonfly on your team is what any healer would be in any MMO game. Armed with the BioRifle, it can fire at high speeds and offers a healing secondary shot providing moderate healing and minor damage to enemies. Recluse is the third battleframe and completely removes all healing abilities in favor of offensive gas attacks. Known as a walking chemical weapon, each abilities is designed to slowly harm enemies with poisons and area of effect abilities. The BioCrossbow is the Recluse’s main weapon firing high impact toxin-laced bolts at enemies. The secondary shot fires toxic grenades that release gas upon impact.

 

dreadnaught-frameDreadnaught Battleframe
The Dreadnaught Battleframe has 4 tier frames, the most of any battleframe. Dreadnaught is the first giving a balance of offensive and defensive abilities. Since the Dreadnaught is equipped with a heavy armor shielding itself from small arms fire, it’s slower than most battleframes. To offset this, the Dreadnaught has many heavy attacking abilities as well as an absorbing shield and increased health regeneration perk. Its main weapon is the Heavy Machine Gun providing devastating damage. Its secondary shot is actually a shield providing temporary protection from oncoming fire. Mammoth is the second and is Firefall’s true tank class.  Not like any other MMO tank, the Mammoth is not only designed to take a beating, but equipped with many  defensive abilities providing protection to allies as well. Equipped with the Heavy Plasma Machine Gun, each shot explodes on impact causing damage to enemies near the target. The secondary shot offers a faster shot which slows down enemies. Rhino is the third and  is considered a one man army. The Rhino abilities provide survivability and crowd control giving the Rhino an edge in combat. With its power the Rhino sacrifices defense with less armor plating than the other Assault frames. The Rhino’s main weapon is the Heavy Laser Machine Gun providing deadly damage even from a distance. The secondary fire is a focused laser beam for close range providing high damage at the cost of accelerated ammo consumption. Arsenal is the fourth frame and is considered the weapons expert of Firefall. Designed to swap weapons depending on the situation, the Arsenal frame can swap its primary weapon temporarily for close encounters or for clearing up enemy waves. The Arsenal’s main weapon is the LMG, providing fast and accurate shots. Its secondary shot offers armor piercing shots that can pierce through enemies as well as some shields.

 

engineer-frameEngineer Battleframe
The Engineer Battleframe has 3 tier frames. Engineer is the first which is designed to provide support to the team. Equipped with several abilities allowing it to drop a turret, including a player controlled turret, and supply stations which can turn the tide of battle. The Engineer’s main weapon is the Tesla Rifle, which increases its damage while maintaining contact with its target. The secondary shot is used to repair the deployed turrets/stations and has no effect on enemies. Bastion is an upgraded version of the Engineer, allowing multiple turrets as well as a sentinel pod which heals all turrets within range. With the ability to drop multiple turrets, the Bastion can solo most content in the game, including instances depending on the level. The Bastion’s main weapon is the Sticky Grenade Launcher that launch grenades that stick to any surface or enemy and explode after a small period of time. The secondary shot actually ignites all grenades that have been fired at once. Electron is the third frame and is designed with a more offensive approach. Abilities enable the Electron to provide support to allies with bonus damage/health regeneration and damage absorption. The Electron’s primary weapon is the Shock Rifle which yields high damage and accuracy. Its secondary shot is an energy ball that explodes on impact.

 

recon-frameRecon Battleframe
The Recon Battleframe has 3 tier frames, all of which focus on distant attacks with long-range weaponry. Recon is the first which offers several abilities that allow the Recon frame to reveal enemies and conceal itself. Armed with the Scoped Assault Rifle, it offers two ranges from medium-range to long-range giving Recon the advantage of dealing distant damage as well as close combat. With the use of its abilities, the Recon is able to provide support to the battle no matter where you are. Nighthawk is the second which is designed for long range combat offering bonus damage when not detected by enemies. As with Recon, the Nighthawk frame is equipped with a concealing ability which also conceal allies, removing them from enemy detection. Equipped with a Bolt Action Sniper Rifle, the Nighthawk is effective and deadly from a distance. Raptor is the third and is designed for support from a distance. The Raptor frame is equipped with abilities to confuse enemies on the field as well as provide protection to allies. When requiring a quick escape, the Raptor can shoot a beacon allowing itself to instantly teleport where it lands. The Raptor’s main weapon is the Charge Rifle, which causes more damage the longer the rifle is charged before firing.

What may lie beyond the Melding

Each battleframe provides a dynamic and unique experience. With 16 different frames, there’s a style for each type of player. Firefall allows players to play in either 1st Person or 3rd Person point of views maximizing gameplay. While I was playing, I was able to try out several of the frames, from basic to more advanced. The most challenging I felt was the Raptor Battleframe with its Charge Rifle. Depending on the enemy, I wasn’t able to snipe with one head shot, which required me to charge another shot for maximum damage. This created a disadvantage to the Raptor seeing as I was overwhelmed easily and often switching to my secondary weapon. Despite the challenge, it was a lot of fun coming up with strategies that worked and didn’t work. The Assault is easily one of the simplest and best frames to start with. Since starting out, the Assault is the automatic first choice, and is a great frame to have players learn the basics of the game. Just like any FPS game, keyboard and mouse is king. Firefall does support a controller, but with the right mouse you can be deadly accurate with any frame. Set near the coast in Brazil, you travel New Eden with what little access you have without going beyond the Melding. As you travel, your jump jets come in handy to access unreachable areas. As you level up, you realize the usefulness of the jump jets during battle, giving yourself an advantage against enemies.

Once you finish the tutorial level, you are greeted with a message from Red5, indicating the free roam nature of Firefall. From there, you can decide how you want to level up your battleframe from jobs and missions to thumpers and even random events. Dropping a thumper is a way to get resources, simply find a spot to mine and summon the thumper. Each encounter is random as it can draw various creatures or even summon the Chosen to your location. Once the thumper is full, it’ll launch back into the sky and you are rewarded with experiences and what was mined. It’s an easy way to level up and grants some resources used to create items. A random event is just that, a random event. They spawn anywhere and can be a bandit hideout, save a citizen, repair a fallen thumper, or even an ARES mission with a specific objective. Often times you are rewarded with experience or Crystite, one of Firefall’s many currencies. This is where Firefall shines since most encounters can be completely unexpected like the Chosen dropping literally next to you. Most encounters are listed on the map, so pinpointing each one can help you level up your battleframe.  The most recent event being the Hazardous Research Event, which just ended on 9/12, is one that takes teamwork to be successful. It yields high experience as well as drop chances.

incoming00~Aug-21-2014~New Eden~2~p1

Switching from 1st person to 3rd person is just one button away.

Customization is a major component to Firefall. From the start you are able to choose the basics like any MMO: sex, skin/hair color, face, etc. From there, you can even paint your battleframe from several schemes provided. At any time in the game you can decide to switch how your character looks without penalty or cost since you only have one character throughout the game. Swapping battleframes is easy as well which can be done any Battleframe Garage. Bored of Rhino, swap to Bastion for a different gameplay experience. Only 5 battleframes are accessible from the start, which are the first tier of each set. From there once you reach level 40 you earn Pilot Tokens which can be used to purchase another battleframe. The only downside to that is you start back to level 1 with the new battleframe. It’s like starting a new class in any MMO, back to level 1. Most players I’ve come across don’t mind it since they can work their way to the battleframe they want and gain knowledge and experience on their battleframes.

With each frame comes even more customization. Your weapons and even abilities can add Modules which increase stats depending on the module. Broken down into 3 main slots (Red, Blue, and Yellow), modules of each color can be added like faster fire rate, more rounds per reload, and even splash damage. For abilities, the modules add enhancements making them even more powerful. There are even modules that combine two stats/enhancements per module which are based on Green, Orange, and Purple which can be added to the two colored slots it’s made up from (Orange module being added to Red or Yellow slot). This leaves countless possibilities of customization giving more power to the player to make their battleframe just the way they want it.

incoming00~Aug-28-2014~New Eden~1~p1

Traveling can be done by walking, riding a vehicle, or gliding from Glider Pads.

Though the game is free-to-play, you can buy Red Beans which allow you to buy cosmetic features and the higher tier frames. You can earn each tier without spending any money, making them more rewarding and allows the player to really learn the frame before moving to the next tier.  There are also various cosmetic items to purchase as well as vehicles. Despite being purchasable, every item has a chance to be earned or rewarded in the game. Like the battleframes being earned once reaching level 40, you also have a chance to earn a specific battleframe from a drop. You also get your first vehicle at level 25, or it can be bought with Red Beans. This doesn’t have the “Pay-to-Win” vibe since everyone can have the top battleframes whether it’s bought or earned, giving every player a fair chance.

Final Reaction

Hands down, Firefall is a great game that keeps delivering as you play. As you venture into the unknown, the random events can catch you off guard and help you forget what you were originally doing. With its user friendly controls and customization features, Firefall is a stand out FPS MMO. The landscapes are truly topnotch and adds to the danger of wandering alone. What lies around the corner is what keeps you coming back. Whether it’s the Aranha, the Chosen, or something more sinister, Firefall could be that true FPS MMO that every gamer dreams about.

Rating: 4.5/5 Atoms

 

 

 

Firefall is Free to Play and available at firefallthegame.com and through Steam.

Facebook Comments