Guncraft Preview: Minecraft-Like Building Leads to Destruction
It’s All About Preparation
Guncraft is first and foremost a shooter, but it’s one in which the time before a match is just as important as the time spent in one. There are two key activities you’ll engage in when you’re not actually playing matches: honing your character classes and building prefab items.
Character classes are pretty straightforward, in that you can change loadouts and save them for later, and it makes sense to have lots of different loadouts for lots of different situations. A sniper and a shotgunner are handy, sure, but being prepared to play different modes, like one in which lava slowly overtakes the whole map from the ground up, means preparing loadouts ahead of time. Bringing the wrong class to a capture the flag match basically means a loss.
Much more important are prefabs. These are the buildings and structures you’ll create ahead of time and whip out during battle. You can make just about anything you want and bring it into existence as a whole in the middle of a match, so long as you’ve done enough mining to have the resources to build it.
Prefabs are key to winning the game, even though you might not think so in some of the more usual game modes like free-for-all. In a capture the flag match, for example, you can instantly create a bunker that protects the flag from intruders, drop in a wall that protects your half of the map from distant snipers, and create towers that give you a vantage on the map around you. Elaborate strategies can be enacted with the right prefab planning, like creating a bunker around your flag and a tunnel that connects to it to protect flag runners as they cross the battlefield. The time you spend ahead of each match often helps determine who wins it.
While building and strategizing are cool, eventually all shooters come down to putting digital bullets into virtual noggins. Because everything is cubes, and much or all of the game world around you is destructible, Guncraft introduces a lot of moments in which knowing your surroundings or those of your enemy are important. What you carry with you into battle is up to you — the game allows for two-weapon loadouts of a few different varieties, including weapons like assault rifles, SMGs, sniper rifles and rocket launchers.
To Guncraft developer Exato Game Studios’ credit, the shooting feels pretty good. Hitting the feel of the weapons, their sound, heft and effectiveness, is all key to making a shooter fun, and Guncraft allows you to gun down enemies without employing the military shooter convention of dropping you before you’re capable of reacting. The result is a fairly fast-moving shooter in which you’ll get into hectic battles, with lots of running around and freaking out.
While planning is important because you’ll need to have all your loadouts and prefabs created before each match, you’ll also have lots of elements on the battlefield that can help change the course of the game. Expect to see vehicles like motorcycle, tanks and helicopters in various maps, and to wreak havoc on other players while using them.
Guncraft is also often a very mobile and very vertical game, to its credit. You can ditch a secondary weapon in your inventory for a Hookshot, for example, that allows you to grapple across the map and up steep facades. The result is the ability to climb high for better attack positions, parachute down to avoid fall damage, and cross the map quickly. Killstreak rewards for doing well also often head in the mobility direction, providing players with jetpacks to help them become even more deadly.