[Angels Fall First] Combined Arms 2.0

Price as of Writing: $17.99

Angels Fall First is a 64 Player Multiplayer First Person Shooter developed by Strangely Interactive Ltd. Strangely Interactive is the same team that developed the other mods set in the Angels Fall First universe. There are 2 factions in the AFF universe, the United League and the Antarean Empire. There are currently 9 distinct vehicles for each faction, 4 ground vehicles and 5 space vehicles. The ground vehicles are a buggy, a tank, an APC, and a gunship. The space vehicles are a fighter, a bomber, an interceptor, an assault fighter, and a dropship that boards enemy capital ships.367270_2015-12-01_00001 There are also over 75 pieces of equipment and weapons, many of which are faction specific. There are 3 types of armor that affect your movement, Light, Medium, and Heavy. Each faction also has 4 capital ships, a battleship, a corvette, a destroyer, and a frigate.

AFF does not use a standard loadout unlock system. Every piece of equipment is unlocked at the beginning, but you must spend combat, command, and/or support points on them. You gain these points by completing objectives in multiplayer game, there is singleplayer/offline mode, but you do not gain points in it.367270_2015-12-01_00012 The gun combat is very straightforward and you have to lead targets with some weapons.

The matches either take place in space or on the ground in one of 2 modes on 6 maps. The modes are objective completion, which is an offense/defense mode, and territory capture, similar to Battlefield’s “Conquest” mode. There are 4 ground maps and 2 space maps. 367270_2015-12-01_00004 One space map takes place around a station cluster while the other takes place in an asteroid field. There is a destroyed city ground map, a desert fortress, a mining facility, and a military distribution depot. Each team has multiple squads and one commander, the commander gives orders to the squad leaders, who pass it on to the squad members. In space, once a breach opens up in a large capital ship, you can take a dropship and board it, allowing you to fight it on the inside. If you destroy the engine core, you have ~45 seconds to escape before it overloads and you blow up. In an unusual twist for games like this, it has bots, much like the Battlefront series.  The bots are actually very intelligent and it is very hard to tell the difference between a bot and a player. 367270_2015-12-01_00006

The developers host numerous official servers and there are a few unofficial servers that are also reliable. You can also host servers yourself, depending on your specs and network speed. Although the game does not have a huge player base, it is a fairly dedicated playerbase. The art style is very well thought out, leaning heavily towards a realistic gritty look, but still remaining colorful on some maps. There are some optimization issues on weaker systems, but for the most part, it is playable. Every model looks high quality and very distinct between factions, except for player models. 367270_2015-12-01_00005It can be difficult to differentiate between faction soldiers. The weapons have unique sounds to them, so you always know what is firing, but they do sound somewhat weak, which is reflected damage wise in some of them.

Strangely Interactive does not maintain a roadmap, that I have seen, but they do release semi-regular updates and they will respond to your suggestions and bug reports. They also have been very responsive to fixing bug reports. There were sever optimization issues at launch, but that was quickly fixed within the first two weeks and they recently fixed an issue that prevented loadouts from being edited or loaded in the menu.

 

Graphics: 8/10

The models are great and the textures work very well with the chosen art style.

Gameplay: 8/10

The gameplay is very solid and the boarding mechanics work very well. There can sometimes be progress stagnation, but that is usually because of evenly matched teams.

AI: 9/10

The AI in AFF is some of the best multiplayer bot AI I have ever seen, much better than Battlefront 2’s Bot AI.

Content: 6/10

There are a lot of weapons, which are mostly balanced, but there are not many maps and the combat on the maps can become very predictable because there is no randomization.

Setting: 7/10

AFF has a very solid sci-fi setting and the factions are very distinctive.

Audio: 6/10

The vehicles sound find and fit their vehicle, but the weapons sounds sound light and sometimes don’t fit their power.

Promise: 5/10

The developers are active on the steam forums and they do have a semi regular update schedule, but they do not maintain a roadmap, which can harm peoples trust in the future of a project. The dates for the last 4 updates are 11/17/15, 10/27/15, 10/13/15, and 10/07/15.

Total: 7/10

I believe that AFF has a bright future, given that they fix all the outstanding issues that can put off new buyers. The bots are especially promising.

 

OS Windows
Single Player Partial
Competitive Multiplayer Yes (up to 32v32)
Co-Op No
Price $17.99
Rating on Steam 76%

Disclaimers: I DID NOT receive a key from the developers. This review is based on the build published on 11/17/15.

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