Rekoil is a multiplayer FPS from indie developer Plastic Piranha. It claims to be “developed by core gamers, for core gamers” and touts a full set of mod tools included that allows players to create their own maps and aims to be a serious, competitive, esport shooter. Sounds good on paper, but in reality it’s a poorly presented, buggy mess that offers nothing you haven’t seen before.
It’s easy to see where Rekoil went wrong. Developers really have to step up when entering the FPS arena with a new IP. It’s already completely over saturated with just about every niche filled and Rekoil’s mission statement and mod support are not going to be enough to entice gamers to part with their cash. There are plenty of F2P shooters out there that are vastly superior – Counter Strike, Team Fortress and now Loadout -which all provide a quality experience completely free of charge. With 505 Games publishing the title, whose last shooter Takedown: Red Sabre was borderline broken on release, it doesn’t instill any great confidence in Rekoil.
The problem isn’t that it’s devoid of any fun, it’s that the enjoyment is only fleeting and buried under a multitude of problems. The initial burst of excitement is hampered by other players, or complete lack thereof. The servers are ghost towns, with barely enough opponents to fill a match. When you do finally get to play with more than 3 people, it’s actually not all that bad. There is a large amount of weapons to choose from, all of which are unlocked and ready to use straight away. While it’s nice to pick any load-out from the start, it becomes an issue after a few hours of play. There is no XP or rank system and nothing extra like weapon attachments to unlock, which leaves players without any incentive to continue playing. Say what you will about Call of Duty and Battlefield, but it’s fun to grind up the ranks and be rewarded with some of the tastier boomsticks.
It becomes apparent very early on that the game is also terribly unbalanced. Sniper rifles, for example, are massively overpowered and far too forgiving in the aiming department. In fact, the hit detection is way off in general. Some weapons are almost unusable; either too weak like most of the sub machine guns, or just plain impractical like the RPG whose slow, clunky demeanour is totally out of place with the fast tempo the game demands. Because of this, the large weapon roster shrinks dramatically to only a select few feasible options.
The maps are as hit and miss as your bullets will be. None are particularly memorable but some like the Refinery and City Park are just unimaginative. The Subway map is a little better with mazes of tight, underground tunnels, and the Bridge with it’s looming namesake towering over the map has some interesting vantage points. However, they all suffer from the same problem, the spawn points. Many times I found myself spawning directly in front of enemy players, or smack bang in the middle of a firefight, or appearing with two or three other reincarnates only to be gunned down a microsecond later. This is very basic stuff for an FPS and should not even be an issue.
The game modes are equally basic. Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, etc, are all here in their boring, vanilla form but you’ll struggle to play anything other than TD due to the lack of other participants. The only stand-out option in terms of originality is Rekondite in which one player dons a cloaking suit at the expensive of their firearms. The other 2 teams must hunt him or her down while battling one another. The player that gets the kill then gets the suit and it all begins again. It’s a decent mode, especially with a full server, but good luck trying to find that.
Rekoil doesn’t have much to rave about in the looks and sounds department either. It uses a bland palette of browns and greys for almost everything, and the character models are very basic and lack detail. Environments provide little interaction and the lifeless atmosphere is punctuated only by stock gunfire effects and an annoying, overly-vocal announcer. A decent, competitive FPS doesn’t need bleeding edge graphics or a great musical score, but the art style, along with most other aspects of the game, is just so painfully generic.
VERDICT: Rekoil is a banal title with poorly implemented features, confusing UI and ugly aesthetics. I can appreciate what Plastic Piranha tried to do, but sadly they have failed to deliver on promises of balanced, competitive gameplay – and even on some of the basic core mechanics of a competent FPS. With a plenty of other cheaper and better shooters out there, it’s no wonder the servers are empty. Avoid, dodge, recoil.
BAD. Ugly, lazy, and unpleasant, if we’ve scored a game so low then it has serious issues. A 3/10 game will suffer from a combination of uninspired, lacklustre design, unfixed bugs and poor presentation.
Review code provided by publisher.