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Posted on Apr 8, 2007 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

War Rock Review (PC)

By Jamison Lanum

Passed Inspection: Great level design. Good variety of maps. Non-retail versions are "free."

Failed Basic:
Significant lag. Riddled with bugs. Graphics and audio seem sub-par.

K2 Network’s latest online shooter, War Rock, is a low-budget attempt to provide an online tactical shooter experience that can compete with some of the commercial titles that have hit the store shelves. With influences from the likes of both Counter-Strike and the Battlefield franchise, War Rock strives to be a diamond in the rough. But as play pushes past the "free" diamond luster and into its awkward and annoying micro-transaction system, the result is a not so shiny experience.

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At its best, War Rock isn’t all that bad. It does offer a great heap of shoot em’ up action that will likely satisfy just about any FPS junkie with an itchy trigger finger-at least for a little while. Whether players prefer small, tactical strikes or epic battles with tanks and fighter planes, War Rock has it all. The three types of levels range from close quarters combat, in which players run through a game type similar to Counter-Strike‘s bomb scenario with up to 16 players, to an epic battle group, ala Battlefield, where deathmatch is the name of the game. Up to 32 players can use a wide array of vehicles in both land and air. Somewhere in the middle is urban ops where up to 24 players partake in fast-paced action similar to close quarters, but with an added element of a few tanks and humvees. Each map in the game is laid out nicely and suited for a tactical experience and finding a game is extremely easy as there are quite a few people that play. It doesn’t hurt that loading times are miniscule.

Players can capture spawn points and kill enemies to level-up any one of the five classes provided: Engineer, Medic, Sniper, Assault and Heavy Trooper. War Rock‘s deathmatch mode is different in that players aren’t racing to reach a certain number of kills but instead are given a "death tank." To explain it a bit further, each team is given a maximum amount of times they can die. When a team reaches that limit the game ends. It does wonders to cut back on the players with a penchant for rocket-launcher suicide play. The gameplay is very fast paced, and is really reminiscent of paintball because as soon as players are out of the gate they will want to take cover, and locate their opposition. One complaint about some of the maps is that they have too many vantage points in most of the key locations which leaves you "too" vulnerable.

Unfortunately for War Rock, the game is often a complete mess. Horrible lag and a great deal of bugs ruin the experience. It isn’t uncommon to see planes and characters stuck in mid-air. The lag will make players frustrated as the game will frequently pause while performing such elementary tasks as shooting a weapon. Problems are seen even on above-average gaming machines and the problem is quite atrocious on the large maps.

In terms of gameplay, air vehicles are extremely clumsy and unwieldy to use, although the grounded vehicles do operate rather nicely. Heavy trooper weapons such as the stinger and RPG do not have splash damage unless they hit a vehicle first, and there is no way to truly control the distance of your grenade throws. Though the single biggest flaw in the game is while playing on either the urban ops or battle group levels where capturing spawn points is important. By capturing all or most of the spawn points opposing players can essentially turn your home base into a spawn camping jail cell where each new spawn is like a new episode of Prison Break. This allows them to rack up kills ending the game very quickly.

Of course some players will say to themselves, "still not bad for a free game." And this is true to some extent, however you will notice that your stock of dinar, War Rock‘s in-game currency, quickly dwindles down leaving no way for players to "rent" their arsenal. Yes, that’s right. Weapons are not purchased as in other games, but rented for one of two time periods: Seven days costs 3,500 dinar and 30 days at the rate of 11,000 dinar. All of that for one weapon. Now that may not seem like a lot, but it is when players only receive 2,500 dinar for each level attained. How then can players keep a steady bank account without having to play twenty hours a day? Well, K2 offers a subscription-based model that goes up in three increments: $5.95, $9.95 and $14.95. Depending on the price players pay, more monthly dinar is added to their account on level increases. Additional features like creating and naming your own room and a fifth weapon slot for the largest subscription rate seem trivial.

While players can download War Rock for free, it also retails for $29.99 in stores. It really is hard to recommend the retail purchase since it’s the same exact game. In both gameplay will quickly dilute to a buggy lag-filled experience in frustration. If K2 can get their act together and fix some of the major flaws this game just might turn out to be that diamond, but until then play the free version online until its "luster" wears out.

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2 Comments

  1. Enjoyable and you can use a crappy old computer to play it. Free to play and fun to play.

  2. It was fun til Papaya took it over. Now game is not fun, many bugs.Save your computer don’t play this.

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