*DISCLAIMER: ALL VIEWS IN THIS REVIEW ARE MY OWN AND DO NOT COME FROM THE COMPANY THAT HAS KINDLY PROVIDED THE GAME*
Line of Sight is a, "next-gen online FPS game that features many unique and innovative systems such as detailed character and weapon customisation - powered by Unreal Engine graphics! Whether you like to play games casually for fun or competitively for E-Sports, you'll be in for an awesome experience" - Steam Page
Now I have several issues with this, "next-gen", FPS game, but I'll get into the main brunt of the issues throughout the review. To begin however, after playing this game, I find myself asking, "What is a next-gen game?". Is it something made on a next-generation PC? Is it a game with graphics that compare to next-gen consoles? Is it something that makes you feel like your playing a realistic depiction of whatever the game's genre is? Basically, I don't know; it could be any of those things. Personally, I think that this is the problem with the word, "next-gen"; it can be slapped onto any game and the developer can give a semi-relevant reason as to why it actually is, "next-gen". Anyway, I'm only ranting about this, because this game, in my eyes, is definitely not, "next-gen".
There isn't a sign of a story that is actually in the game, but as I like to research the game that I am reviewing, and I like to find out the utmost about a game that is going to be read by strangers, I actually found a story (or "prologue" as the developers call it), for this title. If you were to go onto their website and go to the "story" tab at the top of the page, you will find a brief 1000 words on the games story/prologue.
Basically, the story is about a ex-German scientist that is working for the USA's intelligence program. The government employ "Dr.Geiger" to create super humans that can use special abilities or, psionics. After using a serum on death row prisoners, the government try to end his research and start their own. Geiger flees with his "psionics" and creates more with an old friend of his. While this is happening, the US government are creating loyal "centurions" who are basically psionics, but who were soldiers not prisoners. Now you've got two sides and now they fight, cause reasons.
Now don't get wrong, I found this story (which can be found here) quite entertaining to read and personally thought that the inclusion of actual events made the story more compelling and more interesting. However, it is not included or mentioned in the game one bit. For those who aren't looking for it, all they'll find while playing, is a generic shooter with no story elements at all. It's a shame really, because I thought that they could have woven this story into the tutorial and it would have made for a much nicer introduction then what we are given.
The gameplay is pretty much the same as every FPS, other than the inclusion of super powers or, "psionics". Some of these powers include, a very small teleport, orbital strike of random debris and a medical box drop??? I realise that the developers are trying to add something to the already exhausted genre of FPS; I also realise that it is a relatively small team; However, I don't think adding small powers will change that. Maybe parkour?; they've already done that... Maybe mechs?; they've already done that...*sigh*. Why don't you just spend your valuable developing time creating an original concept game with the same story/prologue as the one that you have got for this. Anyway, here is more information on the gameplay.
First of, when the game firsts boots, it loads you straight into a tutorial. This wouldn't be too bad if the game didn't boot at a default resolution of 1600x900. You can change this, but surely the first few moments from the launch of a game are critical in keeping the attention of the player. Launching the game and then getting straight into a tutorial loading screen with a really, really weird resolution is not a good start.
The tutorial itself is quite basic with a augmented reality setting and AWFUL voice acting, but I'll get to that. It runs through the basics of the gameplay with running, looking around and shooting. It also introduces "psionics" which take up two different bars in the UI that you have to stay aware of. I found myself struggling to compile a good review for the tutorial section of this game, because after the automatic booting of it at the game's first launch, there is no way that you can access it again; so screw you if you didn't get it, or are introducing a new player through your account...
After starting the game, I realised how clunky the controls were. They aren't unplayable, but they definitely took some time to get used too. The keyboard layout is alright, with very normal controls for something with an FPS genre. The game does NOT support controllers as I found out by dying a few times and thinking it was my controller...it wasn't.
One of the main features that this game uses as being, "next-gen", is having customisable character design and weapons. This is actually a pretty good feature in this game as the customising that is currently in the game is in-depth and thorough. This allows you to create a very personal weapon set that feels like it's your own; if all the guns didn't feel the same, but I'll mention that later.
Whilst customising a gun, you can change nearly every part of it to increase certain stats, while decreasing other stats at the same time to keep the game balanced. You can also receive a ridiculous amount of skins for your weapons and they can also be chosen whilst changing each part of the gun. To customise you character, you pick a default player model and then you change their outfit. It isn't as in-depth as the weapon customisation and I've seen other games do it better, but it's still there.
Personally, I really liked customising my gun classes and creating a very personal range of weaponry that I could use against others. However, like I said earlier, all guns kind of feel the same and the recoil is basically non-existent or way too much.
Weapons are obtained through purchasing with one of the two currency's and can be customised a lot, like I mentioned above. However whilst in an actual game, all of the guns just feel like they are the exact same as each other. In a "next-gen" FPS, I expected that my weapon choice would really affect my play style and not to have only 4 main choices; Sniper, Assault, Pistol and Shotgun. This really makes the games, quickly boring and is a cheap way of making the game "balanced".
There are currently no dedicated server's and for that reason, you either join an already made server or host your own. It wouldn't be that bad, if the player base wasn't ridiculously small and there being no one actually playing a proper match and instead AI farming... Joining another player's server can result in ping problems whilst playing the game; However, the net code seems to be very well built so a smooth match is usually guaranteed. If you want to play single-player however, there are only 2 of the 8 maps that AI are actually allowed to be on. I have no idea why this is a thing, but I seem to think that it is because the AI aren't properly coded and are instead map-locked.
The AI in this game are beyond awful. They are clearly not made properly, because they seem to always follow one of two paths on both of the maps that you can actually play with them on. They also seem to have aimbot enabled onto them so sneaking up on them is not possible unless they are currently firing at an enemy. Just to mention, they always target the nearest target, meaning a sniper is literally the best weapon against AI as they won't even target you and only your friendly AI.
Like I mentioned above, there are 2 currency's in this game; you have in-game money and diamonds. They kindly give you a small amount on the game's launch and then it is a very slow grind to receive a good amount. HOWEVER, you can buy diamonds with real money if you have too much real money and don't know what fun means. These microtransactions go all the way up $80 for 9200 diamonds.
The currency's in the game are for buying new items and characters; however it is an awful free to play system on a non-free to play game! Basically, if you want to purchase a gun, you can spend in game cash or diamonds. If you spend cash, that you can actually get in-game, you will only get the item temporarily. If you want the item permanently, you will have to use diamonds which are rarely if ever found in matches... I hate this system and it wasn't made any better when I reviewed this game either. To obviously combat the grind for reviewers, I received 10,000,000 cash and 1,000,000 diamonds whilst reviewing this game. That is an extraordinary amount and that wasn't all either. They also started you at level 22, with main clan unlocks starting at level 23... a lot of games do this that include separate currency's and I hate it. If you make a game that is designed for the player to grind to get these currency's or levels, let me experience that! I want to create the most accurate user-friendly review possible and a system like this doesn't help with that.
The game also has a stupid amount (408) of achievements; I thought achievements were supposed to be there so the player felt like they had "achieved" something good. Completing the tutorial doesn't make the player feel achieved.
As a next-gen game, the graphics should be on par with AAA games like COD or Battlefield right? Shouldn't that allow the developers to say that their game is next-gen? Anyway, the graphical quality isn't up to par with those games at all. Like I said earlier, I realise that this game was made by quite a small studio, but advertising your game as, "next-gen", should really come with some form of standard line.
The player models are not like they are in the screenshots and are instead medium-ish textured, generic FPS soldiers with a few partially naked females to make the younger audience feel a little funny inside. They animate also alright, but can be a bit glitchy at times when you try and do too many move combinations in a short time. The texture quality is quite low for the environment with even the highest settings suffering from lack of more antistropy filtering.
All in all, the game looks alright to play and runs at a good 120-150 FPS with only a few minor drops every now and again. The texture quality could be improved if there was slightly more smoothing options in the settings, but the game is alright to look at whilst in game. However, I wouldn't say that the game looked, "next-gen".
The music is alright in this game; it is definitely tolerable which is a good sign. You get 2 main bits of music, the menu music (which is the place I found myself the most in my nearing 7 hours playtime, because of no players...), and victory and defeat music. Other than those 2 tracks, there isn't much music that I acknowledged. Looking past the sparse music tracks, the sound effects and pretty bog standard for an FPS game, with a few pretty good digital sounds for the psionic powers.
The voices whilst in game are just grunts and commands and are not really dynamic and are instead randomly played whilst in a game. However, if I was to look past that, which I will because that isn't a negative point, the voice acting in the tutorial is the absolute WORST that I've ever seen in a video game. It is that really patronising, generic female American voice that is way over the top. Well imagine that voice and increase it's volume and patronising levels. I was literally crying of laughter as I trudged through the tutorial and by the end of it, I was actually embarrassed for the actress as that must have been painful to record. It wasn't just the voice-acting, the writing and grammar was awful as well, it was seriously a phenomenal display.
This game is not good, and it is definitely not a "next-gen" FPS. The matchmaking is non-existent and whilst some games can become fun, all weapons feel the same and I feel like it's just a lazy way of balancing the game. Outside of the gameplay, the customisation of the weaponry is pretty fun, but the inclusion of microtransactions blocking of permanent guns and custom options just ruins it for me; especially knowing that it isn't a free to play game. The voice-acting during the tutorial is the worst I've seen in a game and the general quality of the game is tolerable at most. Personally, I recommend that the developers make the game free to play, release a few small maps, and move onto another project. I would actually love to see a game with the same story as the one hidden in this game. In total, I wouldn't recommend this game unless it was free and had better matchmaking options.
|Story||Though an FPS, they try and develop a story which is entertaining to read.||The story plays no real part in the game and is only accessed through website.|
|Gameplay||The special abilities add a new play style to the generic FPS.||The controls can be clunky and the guns need a massive re-balance.|
|Quality||The customisable menu is very thorough and allows for very personal items.||The colour pallet is bland and the maps a quite empty, needs more openness.|
|Music/Sound||The menu music is tolerable with a smooth loop for it to start over.||The WORST voice acting I've seen in a game and very generic sound effects.|
"Line of Sight was designed with the Competitive scene in mind from the beginning. The game aims to go into an eSports direction with features such as a Matchmaking Ladder System and an elaborate Built-in Real-time Statistical Analysis of gameplay which records each player's performance and breaks it down by map, weapon, game mode, and so on. Ever since BlackSpot Entertainment announced that we will be self-publishing the game, we've received an outpouring of support and kind encouragements from the Community and for this we are very thankful. Without the Community, releasing the game may not have even been possible which is why we want to emphasize our close relationship with our player base; their feedback is important to us and we like hearing what players have to say about Line of Sight to help us further improve it." - Line of Sight Dev Team - 06/09/2016
Review by Sam Elliott
Line of Sight is available now for PC for, £6.99. Thank you to BlackSpot Entertainment and Redbana for supplying the game and assets used in this review. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.