The Xbox Live Arcade has been calling out for a fast paced run and gun shooter and it looks like Nexuiz may just fill that gap. This game started out as a Quake mod on the PC and has now evolved onto the 360.
Nexuiz is a real simple title, there are nine maps, nine weapons and two sets of four man teams go head to head against each other across two modes, Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag. The two teams form part of a very light story, for centuries the Kavussari and the Forsellians have waged war. They have a fragile truce but due to their seething disgust of each other they still pit their warriors against each other in arenas rather than on the fields of war. These episodes of lethal combat are now broadcast throughout the galaxy as entertainment, a spectacle known as The Nexuiz Competition… Sounds gripping… Thankfully the game is a nice change of pace from the huge amount of shooters available today.
Your starting weapon, the shotgun is pretty cool; you could spend most of your time with this weapon alone to blast your enemies aside. There are plenty of options for players too, ranging from Sniper Rifles, Rocket Launchers Mortars and Pistols. There are a couple of quirky weapons like the Electro, which fires explosive balls of electricity and a rapid fire missile launcher. Each weapon also comes with a secondary fire option so there is enough to encourage you to mix up your weapons. Up until this point there isn’t much else that makes Nexuiz stand out from the crowd, step forward Mutators.
Mutators add a completely new dimension to the game and actually made things a lot more enjoyable for me. These dynamic powerups can completely change the face of the game. Ranging from the standard health and ammo buffs things can get even more interesting when all of a sudden you a restricted to melee attacks or the entire map drains of colour making it difficult to pick out your enemies. With over 100 different buffs it will be a while before you experience them all and you never know what is coming next but that keeps the game interesting. Points you gain can be used on the mutator tiers to influence seeing your favourite mutators more often. You would think that these would ruin the game but they are fairly distributed and don’t last for long so it tends to be fair game.
The game handles pretty well although I did find myself yearning for a mouse and keyboard due to the pace of the game but once you start to learn the maps and work out the best routes for getting about things became more comfortable. There are no loadouts or character customisation, everyone starts on a level playing field each time – it leads to some great one on ones and some interesting matches.
Simplicity is one of the Nexuiz’s strong points, for example you can be waiting for a match to begin within 3 button presses, which is great design the only shame is that once you are in the lobby you have to wait until there are at least six players in a room before the match can start, there is no option to join current matches in progress either which can be a pain for those in a team who have players drop out, especially when the game then refuses to auto-balance the sides meaning one team is going to suffer badly.
For a downloadable title Nexiuz is a great looking game; it runs on CryEngine 3 which Crysis 2′s ran on. Each of the maps and their environments look good, as do the weapons and the different effects that the mutators create, it’s just a shame that there is no customisation when it comes to your character. Those who want to practice can head over to bot practice mode although it’s not going to improve your skills very much. I had the game on the highest level and found things very simple, you are better off using this mode for learning the maps.
For the most part Nexuiz helps relive the past of simple arena shooters, the game looks really good and plays very well too. Once you get used to the pace and learn the maps you will really start to enjoy the game, throw in the randomness of the mutators and fun increases even more. It’s just a shame that there aren’t many people playing, it means you can spend far too long waiting for matches to begin, if they reduced the amount of people needed to start a game down from 6 to 4 or at least allowed people to join existing matches the game would have more of a chance of doing well, until that is fixed though people may just end up giving this a miss.
Review: Nexuiz Results
What we liked:
Mutators add a brand new dimension to the matches.
What we disliked:
Matchmaking needs sorting out, spending too long waiting for games is not good
Pace may be too fast for some people
Practice mode is pointless if the hard bots are a bit useless