Rekoil Hands-On Preview: A Simple, Pure FPS with Mod Support
Rekoil, an upcoming budget-priced, multiplayer-focused first person shooter developed by indie studio Plastic Pirahna, is a simple game about guns, the bullets they shoot, and the enemies they hit. There are no care packages, no level ups, no vehicles, no jetpacks, and no killer dogs that jump the invisible walls looking for meat.
The game is lacking a lot of the features most FPS fans associate with the genre, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Rekoil is unapologetically old school, and rather than setting it sights on attracting a mass audience, it instead aims to please the hardcore PC FPS community.
“The community is the most important thing here,” said Jason Brice, CEO of Plastic Pirahna, who actually got his start in the video game industry as a devoted member of the modding community.
After creating his first map for Battlefield 2142, DICE contacted Brice and offered him the opportunity to help work on official maps that were released in subsequent patches. Some maps that Brice helped create include: Operation Shingle, Yellowknife, and Molokai.
Brice knows how important the modding community is to a successful first person shooter, which is why he plans on mod tools being available the day Rekoil launches.
“I want to give everyone else the opportunity to do what I did,” said Brice. “You don’t see [Day 1 mod tools] with a lot of the major games. We want to give people that option and really support the hell out of it as well.”
As far as the gameplay itself, Rekoil supports up to 24 players with 7 different game modes, 40 weapons, and 10 maps available at launch. Brice said that a big inspiration for the game was the Call of Duty 4 Pro Mod, which took out a lot of the bells and whistles of Modern Warfare and put the focus on the gunplay rather than racking up killstreak rewards.
“Our focus was trying to make a really balanced and level playing field for everybody,” said Brice. “The way to do that is to make everything available day 1. When you spawn in the game, all 40 weapons in the game are available to you.”
In my hands-on time with the game at PAX Prime, I was definitely feeling the nostalgia rush coming from my days of playing Counter-Strike. The map I played was a lumber yard with two mills on both ends for each team, stacks of lumber in the middle that served as a close quarters maze, and sniper perches atop each mill. The map itself was basically an embodiment of what Rekoil is all about. Simple, balanced, and pure.
Above all, Rekoil was a lot of fun. The concern, though, is that the FPS market is incredibly crowded right now, both with AAA shooters and free-to-play/budget-priced indies. Rekoil is a game that will live or die by the community, but the good news is that it seems to be making all the right moves towards accepting that community with open arms.