We probably should be saving this soundbite for the end of our review, but it does encapsulate the spirit of the community playing Rekoil on day one rather well: “You mean we paid for a beta?!” says one of my Minutemen team mates in the middle of a team capture the bag session, “I don’t care,” says another Minuteman, laughing, “It’s still better than COD.”
That’s definitely a more subjective point of view than usual: Rekoil is a team FPS in the spirit of a pre-original Xbox era of gaming. It’s the kind of stripped-back shooter where prestige is just an arbitrary concept attributed to players who consistently perform, where 13-year-old murder-death killers who can pick you off with a shotgun from 800 yards are somewhere else, and where players who are simply good at pointing a crosshair and pulling RT at the right place and the right time can do well. A familiar roster of weapons and classes await you, you’ll need to get a feel for those and whether a heavy machine gunner or a scout will work better on the Sawmill map, for example, but for a gamer who’s seasoned in online shooters, the learning curve is a sharp incline.
It’s fair to say we felt comfortable with Rekoil pretty much from the moment we first pulled the trigger, so it’s easy to see where its major flaws are.
It’s quite unpolished – we were greeted by an ugly menu with animated sprites that look like a first-year media student’s Flash project; corpses hang around, twitching on pieces of scenery like they’ve just been shot with a 40,000 volt taser; and more serious problems besides, like servers crashing often enough to become a nuisance in an online-only game. Apparently Plastic Piranha is dropping patches on a daily basis and maybe those playing the Greenlight version of Rekoil on Steam are happy to suck it up. That’s the nature of PC gaming, right? Especially old-school PC gaming – you’re not hardcore enough unless your Voodoo 2 graphics card has melted itself in the effort to complete a deathmatch. But we’re playing on a closed piece of console hardware and we expect a degree of quality from an XBLA game backed by a professional publishing house.
Most of all though, we went into Rekoil thinking, “Cool! we can play this without taking a degree in COD.” And a couple of hours in, we were bored. With the number of team FPS games available today, do we really need another Counter-Strike?