*Pew* *Pew* *bang* *squeal* *bang* *Boom!* *argh no!* *pew pew*
That was a brief summary of a match in Crash Force, a car racing game crossed with a third person shooter. You control a small hovercraft equipped with a variety of weapons and other nasty implements that would give even the Batmobile penis envy.
As far as driving a little hovertank-thingy with thrusters attached to every structurally sound strut – and a few unsafe ones – goes, you have a wide control of movement. Direction is controlled by your mouse, and you very easily and quickly whip around to give someone a broadside (or, a frontside I guess, seeing how you shoot from the front, but broadside sounds cooler so eh)
Thrusters on each side of your tank can all be individually fired, allowing you to do a fair amount of sick movements, like flying past someone to then twist back and drift round then begin firing at them. The shooting is fairly good as well, with each tank being equipped with two guns.
While different models have slightly different loadouts, expect to have a standardish gun, like a rifle or a machine gun, then a secondary more powerful weapon, like a grenade launcher kinda thing. You have a nice reticle to show you where to point your guns, but strafing or any movement will throw your aim well off, so expect to be compensating more than a multinational company when it looses a class action lawsuit. Ammo can be picked up from pickups that spawn around the map, which can make for some interesting fights, running away from an enemy, hoping to reach a pickup before they kill you.
Along with your two main guns, you have 4 offensive/defensive power ups that can be activated to gain the upper hand in a fight. Each of these power ups require a certain amount of energy to activate, and a nice long cool down afterwards. My favourite offensive ability is the saw blade move, which sticks some ruddy big saw-blades out of your undercarriage to rip and tear any enemy tanks that come near. Energy can be picked up just like ammunition, except normal movement also uses up energy, so running before showing your hand can be a bad idea, especially when you’re running dry.
As Crash Force is currently in steam Early Access, there is only one mode available at current, which is a multiplayer death match mode. There are only a few maps available and there isn’t much on offer, but for what it does have, it does well. My favourite map is great to show off all the ways in which Crash Force shines, it’s set in some contained facility that consists of 3 floors connected with a variety of tunnels, tubes and ramps, and in the centre, a big hole has gone. There are also lots of opportunities available to ambush opponents or get the slip on an enemy, showing off all the mechanics very handily.
While Crash Force has some very nice offerings to give, my experience really suffered on a technical front. My computer just exceeded the recommended specs, with a weak point on the RAM front, and it really, really suffered with the game — with the shimmering, anti aliasing, and all the extra graphical options, Crash Force chugged along at a nice 17 frames, and still with enough shine that makes it look like a polish factory exploded nearby. Turning everything down including the resolution to settings hitherto unseen in a modern video game, I managed to get the game up to a much more ‘playable’ 23 fps. It is a refrain that I seem to call a lot with small indie games, but some optimization is needed before I would fully endorse Crash Force.
Crash Force is a fun little game, but needs a lot of stuff to become a great game. Alongside the optimization it desperately needs, I would look forward to more maps and tank classes, as well to maybe a mode more based around racing, like a game of Mario Kart but all the vehicles driven by deadly, armed soldiers.
Edited on 10/05/2017 to clarify meaning.