Nexuiz Hands-on Preview -- Think On Your Feet Before They're Blown OffBy Rob Manuel - Posted Feb 20, 2012
Turn, shoot, die; the good gents behind the new first-person shooter, Nexuiz, resurrects the genre made famous by other classic shooters such as Unreal Tournament and Quake. Far from retreading old ground, this downloadable title takes a fresh look at the “think fast on your feet” shooter by opening up the old mechanics to some new twists and making it look gorgeous at the same time. Fear not, fans of the twitch. At its heart, Nexuiz throws you into the action and running for your life.
You know that you’re in for adventure when start out with a shotgun. From there, the mayhem rockets with grenade launchers exploding to little machine-guns chewing up anything that gets in front of you. As in similiar shooters, weapons await you in strategic locations that often put you into the path of danger or needs a little of exploration to find. Jump pads launch you up and across gaps around the arena allowing you to get away or get the drop on your opponent. I have to say that it feels good to fly into an opponent with a fist extended.
The three areas that I tried out for this preview demonstrated a wide range of environments from the open landscape of Crash to the vertical climb of Strength. Designers scattered around little bits of health to help heal what ails you. If you’re like me, however, you setup ambushes around the long lines of the glowing green icons or use the lack of health to show that someone’s been through recently. Anyone familiar with the old school run and gun will find plenty of short cuts, choke points, and sniper areas to prey on the weak. Nexuiz may just be the most interactive love letter to the genre by keeping the fast-paced action while updating the tech along the way.
And we’re talking more than just a quick spit and polish job. From the lush greenery to the metal structures towering above you, Nexuiz cleans up well. Going for more than just an earth-tone pallet, the development team creates a feast for the senses with reds, blues, and exotic hues that peek out between the explosions and men flying across the map. It’s a bit like running through a museum with guns. Take the time to enjoy the scenery if you have a moment to spare.
What separates Nexuiz from the clones may just be the Dynamic Mutators. Think of these as the cheats that apply to everyone. During my playthrough, I ran through stages with infinite ammo, regenerating health, or turning off the collision detection between players. For a couple of seconds, you feel like a god or just feel kinda weird. These mutators sometime affect the whole field, a team, or just a single person. The debug mutator strips away all the graphics to leave only the modeling behind. Body boom turns a dead body into a ticking time bomb. Enemy locator makes the opponents light up even in the darkest levels, especially if someone hits the night mutator too.
There are only two types of players in Nexuiz–the quick and the dead. This shooter aims to keep you moving through close combat, map design, and their ever-shifting mutators. When you have to make a quick decision between taking the strength mutator or the one that lets you heal your team with friendly fire, you’ve turned every game into a new experience. We'll see if the fresh take on an old classic pays off when Nexuiz hits XBLA on February 29 for 800 MSP and on PSN and PC later this spring.