[Epsilon] Bringing Non-Lethal Back to Gaming

Price as of Writing: $7.99

Epsilon is a squad based tactical FPS from Serellan LLC, the developers of the infamous Takedown: Red Saber tactical FPS. They are back and they seem to have learned their lesson, bringing with them the great early access Tactical FPS, Epsilon. Epsilon is still in its infancy, with only 2 missions, one set in an office building lobby and another set in a subway+lobby+basement. For those 2 missions, there are 2 game modes; Elimination, where you neutralize all the enemies, and Story Mode, where you complete objectives. There are currently 9 weapons in the game, 5 primary weapons and 4 secondary weapons. There are 3 variants of a basic carbine, which can all attach red dot sights and silencers. There is also a shotgun and an SMG, which can also attach a red dot sight. TA grenade launcher is available as a sidearm that is unable to receive any upgrades. There are 2 fully automatic standard pistols, which are based off the Glock G-19/G-18 designs. Each of those can receive a silencer and an extended magazine. This is where it gets interesting; there is a 3rd pistol, identical to the rest, but it has an orange slide. This pistol fires special taser rounds, which cause enemies to surrender.300760_2015-12-01_00005Although it cannot receive any attachments, it gives us a glimpse of the non-lethal combat of future updates.

It is possible to get the enemies to surrender with normal guns, mainly by leg shots, arm shots, startling them (unconfirmed), and shooting their guns, but it is less successful and killing them nets you a lower score. If you do not secure the surrendered enemies quick enough, they will return to fighting you. The AI is still very much a work in progress; your allies will regularly take strange and long paths, sometimes walking around a facility to get to the other end of a hall. The enemy AI is more passive than active, they will only engage you once they see you and you can shoot people right in front of them without them flinching. The squad control mechanics are solid, albeit rudimentary, and mainly consist of telling them to move to a specific location, telling them to hold, and telling them to fall in. You can tell them to clear rooms, but you have to open the door for them.

Speaking of doors, you have the option of using a opti-snake300760_2015-12-01_00006 to see under doors. You can also hack locked doors open or breach them with a charge. Unlocked doors allow you to open them incrementally, providing you cover and a clean shot. Finally, we have an interesting mechanic, but, ultimately, the weakest in the game. Before each mission, you get access to the local camera network, which allows you to mark the enemies that300760_2015-12-01_00002 you can see with the cameras on your map. You can also plan squad waypoints, but they do not currently work well and are more hassle than they are worth.  The mission planning system needs a lot of work and, after the first few times, it feels like a chore.

300760_2015-12-01_00001 The game itself is actually well optimized for higher end machines, but I do not know about lower end machines. The art style is a cell shaded futuristic look which performs nicely and sets it apart from other hardcore Tactical FPS games. The models are well made, aside from some minor issues here and there.

 

Graphics: 8/10

The visuals mesh well with the models and they set it apart from other Tactical FPS games.

Gameplay: 7/10

The gameplay is solid, but lacking in areas. Some areas, specifically the mission planning, need a lot of work.

AI: 7/10

The AI, while it still needs work, is solid for your allies. The enemies are not quite as responsive though and need much more work.

Content: 2/10

The content itself is pretty barren. With only 2 missions, 2 game modes, and 9 weapons, there is not a lot of content currently available, but the interface does list several things that are to come, including co-op.

Setting: 8/10

The semi-futuristic setting and art style are a good break away from the gritty, realistic, SWAT/Rainbow 6 type Tactical FPS that we are used to.

Audio: 6/10

The sounds for the guns sound a bit light and hollow. The AI sounds very rigid and will repeat the same lines over and over.

Promise: 9/10

The developers actively maintain a Trello board that shows you what is in the pipeline for future updates and they are very active with the community. The dates for the last 4 updates are 11/19/15, 10/26/15, 10/21/15, and 10/07/15.

Total: 7/10

Epsilon is a very promising Tactical -FPS that has some issues with content, AI, and audio, however, the currently available content is well put together and the developers are very active and public about the future course of the project.

OS Windows
Single Player Yes
Competitive Multiplayer No
Co-Op No
Price $7.99
Rating on Steam 83%

Disclaimers: I DID NOT receive a key from the developers. This review is based on the build published on 10/25/15.

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