Monday, 18 June 2012

Review: Nexuiz (PC)

Nexuiz's biggest problem might be the "stickiness" of its name. How is it pronounced?

Nex-u-is? Or Nes-uiz? Or more simply Quake III Team Arena?

That last one might be the best way to remember it because Nexuiz is a fantastic-looking Quake III Team Arena clone with some neat "mutators" that can really randomize the action and keep games interesting by forcing a change-up of strategy when the floors are suddenly super slick or everyone starts bouncing around like rubber balls.

But there's a lot riding against Nexuiz regardless of how it's pronounced.

The server listing is incredibly short and even then I've never played a match with more than 4 other humans (and with a ping lower than 300). In sticking with the cap of the Xbox Live Arcade version, there are only slots for 8 players total. That's a fine if maps are geared toward a more intimate experience, but Nexuiz features some really sprawling arenas, made all the more sprawling when so few people are online playing.

Nexuiz features bots to round out the numbers and populate the offline training mode so the Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag modes feel somewhat alive. But you've probably played this (almost) exact game before without the same incredibly small player cap.

And, after the bare amount of research it should be noted that Nexuiz is actually a "reboot" of a Q3TA mod of the same name that was released in 2005, but actually started development 2001. That might account for the "played this before" feeling.

Like Gotham City Imposters a few months ago, the component parts of Nexuiz are sound; the weapons and shooting good, and the "hook" of the mutators offers some variety but there just isn't the player base to make it worth checking out unless gunning down bots isn't a deal breaker. And it should be reported that unlike Gotham City Imposters, getting connected and staying connected to a match of Nexuiz was never a problem.

Alienware M18x
- Aaron Simmer

The Good:
- CryEngine 3 makes for a really good looking game
- Very simple to get a game up and running
- Mutators offer variety to strategy
- Sounds ridiculous but I liked the way it changed colours on the keyboard of the M18x

The Bad:
- 8 player cap is pretty darn small for this kind of arena combat, especially when some of the arenas are so big
- Low number of servers with high pings isn't attractive
- Could have been called Quake III Team Arena

Score: 6.5 / 10