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Auto Assault Review

Review; May. 19, 2006; Channels: Video Games; By Robert F. Ludwick
Gross repetition keeps Auto Assault from greatness

Imagine, for a moment, that mankind’s worst nightmare happened — nuclear warfare all over the planet’s surface. Next, imagine the after-effects of the nuclear fallout — a barren wasteland with mutated wildlife and humans. What you are imagining is Auto Assault’s landscape. In addition, if you play the game, you get to drive around and wreak havoc in it.

Auto Assault
 launched for public play on April 13. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic future where an unknown alien contamination is spreading across the planet. Early in the history of the contamination, the Human race built biomechanized soldiers to deal with the Mutants that appeared after the contamination. Once it was clear that the Mutants could not be defeated conventionally, the Humans hid underground while unleashing nuclear warheads across the entire planet. Once they returned to the surface, they soon realized that the Mutants did not die. Not only that, the biomechanized soldiers created before were not killed either. They banded together to form a new society and regarded Humans as traitors.

I used to think “Wow, an MMORPG set in the post-apocalyptic future? Moreover, I get to drive around in it and blow stuff up. Awesome!” After playing Auto Assault, I found myself somewhat disappointed. The ideas and concepts are there, but, in some areas, executed poorly.

Auto Assault Screenshots

Gameplay: Repetition, Repetition, Repetition
MMORPG’s have been accused of many things over the years, but one that stands out is the repetitive nature of the game. Many popular games tend to have repetitive missions and tasks that your character can take on to level up. Unfortunately, Auto Assault does not do much to buck this trend.

The controls are easy to learn, using the standard WASD for driving and character movement. Once you learn the hotkeys, you will get through the game quick. The vehicles drive effectively and are responsive like you would expect. Taking the statistics of the vehicle into account, it drives as if it should. You can mount front, turret and rear weapons on the vehicle, as well as equip it with a power plant, add some armor, tires, and you can add special hazard kits and ornaments.

The hazard kit idea in Auto Assault seemed a bit like a gimmick to me. Hazard kits enable something like an ultra-power installed into your vehicle. Depending upon your race (Human, Biomek or Mutant), your kit will enable your vehicle to do something different. It is a neat addition, but nothing special. It is really just a glorified power.

The crafting system in the game is robust and will please those that enjoy constructing within MMORPG‘s. Players start with broken items and need to collect raw materials to complete the item and make it usable. This is where my problem with the game lies. You cannot simply pick up a pack of materials and attempt to create anything out of them. You must either pick up a broken weapon dropped by an enemy or purchase one; you can occasionally opt to get one as a mission reward. The broken item system can seem forced onto the player and does not allow for true crafting freedom.

In addition to general crafting, players can enhance broken items with additional materials in an effort to make them more effective. You can apply gadgets to items with open gadget slots that will further enhance the abilities of the item. In addition, if that were not enough, players can reverse engineer any equitable item.

The repetitive nature of the missions will make even the most battle-hardened MMORPG player a bit weary. The crafting allows to a plethora of unique weapons, but just is not a preeminent-enough part of the game to really matter. Score: 6

Visuals: "Stunning" Wastelands
One of the most redeeming qualities of Auto Assault is how good it looks for an MMORPG. MMORPG’s tend to use lower-quality graphics because of the sheer number of objects that can appear on a screen at any given time. Auto Assault just plain looks good for an MMORPG.

The vehicle representations have a good amount of detail and texture, and with further paint and add-on customization, can look slick while driving down a barren highway. In addition to that, the actual graphical representations of the weapons and you have got yourself a deadly girl-magnet.

The environments in Auto Assault look bleak — and that is a good thing. The wastelands really do look like wastelands; and for a wasteland, it looks good. The environments immerse you into the game and feel like something horrible has happened in the past.

The rest of the graphics and visual enhancements in the game are nice. The explosions when defeating an enemy are pleasing to watch and allow the player to revel in their destruction. Represented well are the items and visualizations of and is in-line with the rest of the high-quality graphics in the game.

Visually, Auto Assault redeems itself. Unfortunately, great graphics does not sell a game, but these do a good job in initially getting people into the game. Score: 9

Audio: Serviceable Effects and a Good Soundtrack
The audio in Auto Assault is serviceable, at best. The sounds of destruction come across as expected and do not really knock your socks off. Enemy cars blowing up have a nice ring to themselves, but they just do not stand out at all. Although hearing enemies scream as they die is pleasing nonetheless.

Really, the best part of the audio system in Auto Assault is the soundtrack. The music put together for the game really works well. It has a good blend of rock and slower music, which will keep a player interested in the soundtrack more than one might think.

There just is not much to say about the audio in the game. Score: 7

Value: Short-Termers Need Not Apply
Auto Assault doesn‘t offer a high replay value as other games today. Although there are 12 classes available to play in the game, the individual classes get very repetitive. The only way to get any long-term value from this game is to withstand the same old “kill this, collect something” missions repeatedly, or to try every race.

The game, at the time of launch, sold for $49.99. This price included a month of free-play. Players may get bored with the game after a month’s time, which leads to the potential to spend nearly $50 to play an MMORPG for a month and move on. Auto Assault is a bit pricey for just a month’s enjoyment, at least for an MMORPG. Let us not forget the $15 per month price tag once that free month has expired.

If you can get into the game, then there is good value in Auto Assault. Otherwise, the game just costs too much and does not offer enough for the price you‘re paying. Score: 6

Intangibles: A Lack Thereof
Some games have a great idea incorporated into them that makes them better regardless of any shortcomings. Unfortunately, Auto Assault does not have any.

One of the most irritating things in Auto Assault is to have a stockpile of crafted items and nobody around to purchase them. Since it takes so long to get your crafting levels up and you end up crafting so many items over time, you will end up with a decent supply of useable items that you could sell to someone.

The game will buy back an item at one-tenth of the value it would sell it for, so you would think that the player-based market would be huge. It is not. There were many times where I simply could not sell a weapon I crafted and had to resort to selling it back for chicken feed to the game.

Auto Assault is a fun game, really, but only for so long. A lack of a blockbuster ideas and the repetitive nature of this game just does not make it worth much time with so many other as good or better MMORPG’s out there. Score: 6

Comments

Review Score
7.2

Teen

Titles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.

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