When looking at anime’s we’ve seen plenty of interpretations of franchises. We’ve seen Full Metal Alchemist get its own games on PlayStation 2, we even saw Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex get a full blown game, and we’ve seen plenty of Shonen Jump titles get their own fighting games. Over the past decade that hasn’t changed, but what has changed is the fact that Neoplay from Korea has taken the concept of the franchises high action moments, and put players into the roles of Section 9. But how does this work for a very Deus Ex like series?
For 29.99 (4.99 USD for the base game) I was able to quickly able to enjoy a title that former colleague and good friend Josh Turner of Beyond the Pixels recommended to me. As friends we both have a mutual taste in games for the most part, but as journalists, we tend to like to spread the word about small niche titles that deserve the recognition when they need it. The result? A game that I find myself lost in while hearing Uzumaki, Tachikoma, and even the entire team of Section 9 echoing through my headset while finding myself grossly immersed into the game. Why did I have to pay for a game that would eventually go free-to-play? To help show there is interest there, but to also get a taste of some of the “premium” content that us Early Access users get through Steam.
The beginning result of Neople’s risk is a rather enjoyable experience, as stated, it is an experience that will make you feel as if you’re apart of the Section 9 squad, and as if you are linked to them in real time while fighting like them in the series using the cyber-brains that are linked, but also by using the Skill Sync System. This system encourages that squads stick together so that they may sync to your abilities so they can have abilities such as Thermal Radar so that they can detect enemies through walls, thermoptic camouflage so that enemies can’t see you while you are moving, or even the ability to turn your arm into a missile launcher in order to dispatch enemies that seem to like to hide clustered together. To do this? Simply hit the “E” key when near a friendly that has their ability active and prepare to devastate or sneak through the battlefield. The idea itself is a great one as I did find myself constantly moving through each map with my own team so that I could snack on their cyber powers and find my k/d sky rocketing little by little.
The down side? I often did find myself getting picked off as I was constantly the first man to enter the room and constantly popping my Bio-Gel Armor in order to heal myself and the team. While I found myself constantly bouncing between both Kusanagi and Borma so as to provide my team with tactical advances through the map. What makes these experiences even more authentic is the fact the cast from the anime have assisted with voicing in the game, and even that brings the game to life. IF you hear Bato on screen telling you to capture an item or attack an enemy? You’re truly hearing his voice actor just as you do with the rest of the cast. However, to use other characters? It’ll take some leveling for players to earn their licenses to earn more of the characters over time. For me? I bought a founders pack, got Borma and even a few other characters, but stuck with Borma for the most part so as to provide my team with healing capabilities. This means matches are both completed for GP and XP, which brings forth weapon unlocks and even character unlocks when not earning parts for your characters cyber body and brain.
When looking away from what makes the game feel more like the anime, it’s time to look at First Assault Online for what it is. The game when broken down is a rather basic FPS title with a few adjusted mechanics, small maps, and influences to the breakneck pacing of classic titles like Unreal and Call of Duty. Just minus the skiing across maps with pick-ups. While I would like to say combat is smooth, it’s not always smooth as I did find my game giving a few small hiccups in latency, and being picked off by someone with a 5ms latency difference only to find myself dead and respawning. With only a few maps there are, matches are fast-paced, and don’t last more than 5-10 minutes depending on the game modes there. While this seems problematic, Neople is rather busy at work with new maps, modes, characters, and weapons, which will be applied through future updates. With the success of Early Access seemingly been rather well, it’ll make wonder if the F2P portion of it will succeed as it will depend heavily upon the developers to keep the game alive and how many unlocks as well as paid options they’ll toss into their title. While I would like to predict if the game will be good or even determine the life-span of this title. Lets just hope the grind doesn’t get bigger than it is.
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: First Assault – PC
Cost: 4.99 USD for Early Access/Closed Alpha Access
Release Date: Now Available via Early Access
While I will be the first to admit that I would have loved to have seen a Deus Ex style game come out of Ghost in the Shell, I can’t say that I’m displeased with my experiences or even begrudgingly looking upon it. In truth I enjoy the uniqueness the game offers compliments the FPS, but also the genre as a whole quite nicely, and even brings the spirit of Ghost in the Shell to life. For now? This will be the game we will have to settle for and enjoy within the long run of things. If this game shows promise, we can only hope that the console crowd will get a chance to play the game, but only if Neople can truly show that the game will succeed, and offer a bigger fan base, which I’m sure it will among anime fans.
Once the game exit’s Early Access we will be tossing a review out at a later date.
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter, Google+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.