Everyone is used to thinking that the domestic game dev is dead. We are trying to understand whether this is so, for example, the fresh MMO shooter Caliber.
Recently, there has been very little news from domestic video game developers. And on October 28, a project of a Russian game dev called Caliber opened the door for everyone: an open beta began. The game was created by 1C Game Studios, and the publisher was War gaming, who is known to many players, who is known for his multiplayer battles with the free-to-play distribution model.
In short, this is an MMO shooter about modern special forces. The game offers gamers 2 main modes: PVP in 4 x 4 format and PVE with battles against artificial intelligence. Developers have relied on realism and worked out in detail the appearance of weapons, equipment and visual special effects. Fans of domestic weapons and special forces should definitely get acquainted with the product. But what to do the rest? Is it worth it to spend your time on the game? Why is it needed when there is a super-realistic Escape From Tarkov? How ready is the product for release? We will try to answer all of these, as well as other questions today, and see how “large-caliber” the project turned out to be.
First run and class selection
At the first launch in the best traditions of the genre, you will be offered to undergo training, but if you want to learn the basics directly in battle, no one forces you to listen to the commander’s instructions at the training ground. In the first minutes you will be introduced to management and key mechanics. For completing the course of a young fighter, you will receive a reward in the form of an in-game currency, which can be spent on pumping up the abilities of operatives and on the purchase of various boosters, for example. By the way, as in all other War gaming games, almost all goods can be purchased for real money.
Next, you will be asked to choose one of four classes:
Sturmovik is a mobile fighter of near and medium range. It has average health indicators, but it moves very quickly. Perhaps suitable for gamers who love active and dynamic gameplay, which allows you to be in the thick of things. However, keep in mind that due to the fact that you will always be at the forefront, opponents will choose you as their primary goal. Therefore, it would be nice to start the game in tandem with a friend who likes support classes.
Medic – the most cliched class that, you won’t believe, treats. As usual, it enjoys the smallest popularity among players, because it has the weakest weapons in its arsenal, but “mine chopped with an ax”, right? It is necessary to run forward and destroy everything that catches your eye. You downloaded the shooter, not the hospital simulator, right?
Support – a tank in the classical sense of the word. A slow, clumsy tin can with a light machine gun and the thickest Health bar. Probably the simplest, not demanding to skill class of all.
Sniper – a favorite class of gamers in all shooters, who sits somewhere in the distance and gives out headshots. It has low mobility and weak capabilities in contact combat, but is extremely effective over long distances.
Each class differs from the others not only in characteristics and weapons, but also in skills. A sniper, for example, can inflict increased damage to the head when activating his ability. Medic detects enemies in the smoke. A tank increases health for a limited time. A stormtrooper concentrates and better controls returns.
After you have decided on your role on the battlefield, the developers suggest that you immediately rush into battle. However, some restrictions are still present.
Classic Mode Set
Initially, only PVE is available to the player, that is, a joint game with other users against bots. As a rule, it boils down to the fact that you and three other players are planted in a certain location in order to eliminate the terrorists, save the hostages, and so on. You can’t choose the area, each time you come across one of five random missions:
- Shopping center
- Palm road
- Emir’s residence
Upon reaching the third level of the account, 4 x 4 battles open. The mode consists of rounds: to win, you need to win three. The goal is to either destroy the enemy or capture points. At the moment, it looks like a very simple game-design solution in which players are simply pushed against each other in a certain territory. No resurrection mechanics or group composition changes are provided. Matches end very quickly and, in our opinion, do not have any interesting ideas. Just kill or kill you. But we will return to this.
From level 11 access to special operations is opened, which are a complicated version of regular PVE. Friendly fire is turned on, the amount of ammunition is limited, and the bots become very evil. The reward for participating in this mode is, of course, increased. In general, special operations are a kind of challenge in the Caliber world for hardcore players.
Setting and Realism
The world around is not very detailed, but all locations do not look empty and boring. There are destructible shelters, various buildings, and believable weather events. However, the developers did not focus on this. A key feature of any shooter is shooting, guns and explosions, anyway. And it is worth paying tribute to developers, they tried their best.
All operatives are taken from real existing units. There are many different weapons, which differ in characteristics and behavior. Models of fighters are made very high quality and have their own distinctive features. Still, the level of realism in the game does not reach the absolute Escape From Tarkov, but here it is not required. The project was conceived as undemanding to system resources, so you should not count on “wow, look, here each sleeve interacts with the environment, and on the form of the operative, each fold moves during movement.”
Gameplay basics and key mechanics
The developers have relied on the teamwork of the players, but they did it so far as. The basis of any class interaction is the players’ dependence on each other. The tank should absorb a lot of damage by the competent use of abilities with the support of the healer. Sniper – keep a good position behind teammates. Attack aircraft – bypass opponents from the flanks and collect information for allies. A physician to monitor the status of his brothers in arms.
But in fact, it turns out that only the doctor interacts with his partners, who distributes the treatment to the right and left. The rest can do what they want, just to kill and not die. That is, there is no dependence on the abilities of the allies. It would be great to see how a sniper plays in tandem with any support, which helps the first to detect enemies and supplies it with cartridges. And at the same time he has a strong weapon in close combat to stand up for his Voroshilov rifleman when he is bypassed from the rear.
A physician should have not one ability, but several. Say, AOE heal, targeted and periodic. This will help to adjust the abilities to a specific situation, and diversifies the gameplay. The tank is clearly not enough buffs for the mobile attack aircraft, so that the second does not die under heavy pressure. Etc.
That is, I would like to see a lot of variations in the interaction of the classes among themselves, and not just “I’m running, shooting, and you, medic, hell!”.
In general, the game is clearly not enough variety. All opponents are “equal, as to selection.” They do not have any unique characteristics that would force them to apply certain tactics against them. They do not interact with each other in order to hit a group of players in a weak spot. They are equally vulnerable to small arms and so on. All cards are built in a similar structure. The game has a meager variety of tasks with similar goals.
But what I want to praise the “Caliber” is the armament. It is not only worked out in detail, but also has unique behavioral characteristics. With each new operative, you feel that you have to change the already honed mouse movements. That is, the return of each gun is very different from the other. The same applies to the scatter, which is individual for each gun. In general, the shooting looks realistic and feels very nice.
Aftertaste, conclusion, pros and cons
After a long time spent in the game, we got the impression that the project is very similar to The Division. Judge for yourself:
- Different classes with unique abilities.
- PVE mode with a variety of maps.
- 4×4 PVP mode.
- Hardcore quest mode for cooperative passage.
Only now we got a version on minimums and without an open world. Operatives have a small set of distinctive features. Weak variety in PVP mode. Few tasks. The modest possibilities of customization. Lack of plot.
Of course, it would be foolish to expect this all in a game with a free distribution model that targets weak computers. But I want to see a little more. As mentioned above, the project lacks variety and it is clear how developers add more and more content every month, but at the moment this is not enough. We hope that after working on the bugs, the project will wait for a bright future, especially since it is close in spirit to domestic gamers.