Nexuiz is a fast-paced first-person shooter that brings back the old-school run-and-gun mechanics from games like Quake III Arena and Unreal Tournament. This game has been released as a download-only title from developer Illfonic and can be found on Microsoft’s XBLA, Sony’s PSN or the PC. For those who have been looking for something different in the first-person shooter genre, this could be your game.
Nexuiz has two main modes of play: “Team Deathmatch” and “Capture the Flag”. Both modes are very straightforward and encompass the most basic forms of these gameplay modes. In “Team Deathmatch”, the objective is to rack up as many kills as possible. The team with the most kills by the end of the time period wins. In “Capture the Flag”, teams will venture out to find the other team’s flag. Once found, players will have to bring the flag back to their own base to score a point. If the flag-carrier is killed on their way back to base, the flag is dropped. After a short time, if the flag is not picked up, it will return to its original location. The team with the most points by the end of the time period wins.
This game is powered by the CryEngine 3, so the graphics are crisp and look great. For a downloadable title and considering the price point, you can’t ask for much better graphics than these. The game contains a variety of levels which all have a polished steampunk influence. Though the levels vary, from the standard futuristic cityscape to a jungle theme, they always fit the game nicely. The graphics and animations are consistently smooth, and the frame rate rarely dips too low, even in action-packed sequences. When you take the pace of the game into consideration, the graphics perform remarkably well. This game looks to impress you with its visual prowess, and it definitely succeeds.
Nexuiz is strictly a multiplayer game, so if you like story mixed in with your shooting, this game isn’t for you. All matches are three-on-three and can be played with any combination of real players and AI bots. The bots do a decent job at keeping you covered and protected, but if you are playing “Capture the Flag”, you are going to have to seek the flag yourself. This game does not use a ranking system or have any means of levelling up – everyone is on the same level and will always be on the same level. There are nine different weapons to choose from, and all have a secondary fire mode. This gives you plenty of ways to dispose of your enemies. All in all, this is a very basic FPS: no levelling, no unlockables, just straight-up killing.
The levels in Nexuiz are made up of mostly tight corridors. This will keep you engaged in close-quarters combat most of the time. Most first-person shooters today have slowed down quite a bit, to the point where strategy is favored over action, but this is one of the few games that cuts out strategy all together and places you in a map where you are constantly being engaged. In Nexuiz, you have to keep moving because the minute you stop, you become a stationary target for someone else. Luckily, if the action gets a little too quick, there are usually areas of the map that you can retreat to that will give you a second to think about what you are doing. They also provide a place where you can collect armor and health bonuses, which are scattered throughout all the levels. These bonuses often mean the difference between life and death. However, there are wild card bonuses around the level as well that can do one of many different things, some positive and some negative. They range from a temporary fire rate boost to changing the way the level appears to your player. These wild cards are an interesting addition to a relatively by-the-books shooter. They add a nice variety to the game, so it is usually worth taking a shot and seeing what a wildcard will do for you.
However, not everything is shiny and perfect in this title. The control sensitivity is quite high in the console versions, and it makes the game difficult to control at times. There is an aim assist that allows the game to be playable at high speeds, but there are plenty of times where the game is just too fast for the standard console control scheme. This game really lends itself to PC play, and when that version is released, that is where you should play it. The online community is also not where it needs to be. Finding a match takes a good amount of time and those looking to jump right into a game may have some problems doing so. Also, when players leave the game mid-match, the computer doesn’t auto-balance teams. A three-on-three can quickly become a one-on-three. This is often frustrating, especially when it can take up to 30 minutes to start playing online. It would have been nice to see a Brink-like system where the computer replaces your character with a bot, so at least you can keep playing at more or less the same level.
Overall, Nexuiz is a fun game that reminds us of the first-person shooters we used to love and play. The visuals are excellent, the gameplay is solid, and as long as you can get some friends online, this game will provide an excellent, compact, first-person shooting experience. This game is also affordably priced, so it makes an even more compelling argument to relive your youth and jump on the bandwagon. We highly recommend this title to any first-person shooter fans.