We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – too many worthwhile games don’t get the attention that they deserve, despite providing highly enjoyable – and often unique – experiences.
If you haven’t already had the opportunity to see Guns of Icarus Online in action, then look no further than this article. We are going to be going through 5 different reasons why it’s just plain awesome. But first, a little background.
Guns of Icarus Online was originally developed by Muse Games, an independent game developer based in New York who gained a stellar reputation after having created the original Guns of Icarus game back in 2012. They then created a Kickstarter campaign seeking $10,000 to develop an online version to complement their original. The community responded with great passion and managed to raise over $30,000, allowing Muse to go above and beyond their initial plans for the title. You can view the trailer below to get a sense of the gameplay style and graphics, but we’ll be going into a bit more detail about that later on. Without further ado, here are 5 reasons why Guns of Icarus Online is just plain awesome.
5. Player Interaction
Online games these days tend to have little to no player to player interaction aside from playing alongside others and swearing down the headset at them; think of games like Call of Duty or Halo, where the only interaction you will gain by playing online will be by getting a bit of firepower help when you need it.
Guns of Icarus shows us the real meaning of player interaction with one of the simplest push-to-talk audio systems you will find on any PC game, and gameplay that requires you and your teammates to remain in constant contact with each other to be able to take down the enemy’s ships.
The gunner needs to interact with the captain to make sure he has a clear line of sight to the enemy ships, the engineer needs to stay in contact with the gunner and captain to make sure the ship can get to cover whilst repairs are being made, and the captain needs to relay information to both the engineer and gunner about his next course.
It’s great to finally see some genuine online multiplayer interaction like this and for the most part, players are welcoming and friendly especially in the beginner lobbies.
4. A Brave New World
It’s not often that we get a new game with a totally, brand-spanking new and original world to inhabit, but Guns of Icarus Online delivers a a stunningly detailed environment of mountains, deserts and much more that you can only truly appreciate by playing the game itself.
Obviously the genre and type of gameplay this game delivers enables them to have such remote and beautiful settings but again, it feels good to play a game that for once isn’t confining you to a derelict city or a small chunk of a field.
Not only that, but it’s frequently stunning to look at, with some well-realized ship designs and some of the best skyboxes we’ve ever seen. Startlingly colorful, with plenty of personality, Guns of Icarus rarely disappoints on the visual front, and it’s a game that will often have just staring at it in appreciation – even when an enemy is blowing you to smithereens.
In fact, Guns of Icarus Online has hit the nail bang on the head when it comes to creating a fantasy setting that you want to inhabit, with plenty of original locations that have never before been seen in the FPS genre.
3. Air Combat
Muse Games has somehow managed to conquer yet another desire gamers tend to have when it comes to the FPS genre. Air combat is a particular type of gameplay we rarely encounter these days aside from the rare gems like Planetside 2.
We know what you are saying: “but what about Battlefield 4 and Halo 4?!”.
Yes, those games also feature air combat, but they don’t emphasize it to a large enough degree. In Guns of Icarus Online, the only way of getting around and even winning is to remain on your ship. Heck, it’s practically impossible to even get off the ship.
Not only that, you can pilot your vessel yourself or man the weaponry that is bestowed on it. One could even go further into detail and have a look at the ship customization options, which allow you to allocate different parts of your ship to different areas. It’s the steampunk H.A.W.X that never was, and that makes us very happy indeed.
2. It’s accessible
It seems that accessability is considered a dirty word by many these days, but that’s only because developers too often think that accessability goes hand in hand with dumbing down depth and providing a shallow experience. But Guns of Icarus Online has an outstandingly simple set of game mechanics that are allocated to the various roles within the game, without sacrificing any of the depth necessary for crafting a rich and rewarding game which will have you coming back for more. It’s the very definition of easy to learn, difficult to master – and you’ll want to master it. Once you’ve got a hang of its often-hectic gameplay mechanics, the experience of managing your ship and working with others to ensure that your vessel is running at peak efficiency is uniquely rewarding.
The captain pilots the ship, the gunners – rather predictably – fire the cannons, and engineers repair any damaged parts of the ship – and that’s it.But communication is key to victory, and the sooner you learn that, the faster you’ll get a handle on things.
Things get a little more complicated when having to figure out strategies, ship layout and character/loadout customization, but even then things remain incredibly simple.
Now, some would argue that this is a bad thing, but if anything it means that the game is incredibly accessible to almost any gamer out there, and you also get the chance to focus on things like strategies or even just to sit down and appreciate the game, instead of being presented with a steep learning curve that demands a hell of lot of patience before you’re able to get the most out of it.
Even with this simplicity, things can get rather manic – which just proves that the simple, easy-to-learn sensibility that the designers have managed to imbue the game with is actually key to the its appeal.
The game itself is just beyond beautiful – as we’ve already mentioned. The vast landscapes coated with clouds, fog or a simple atmosphere combine with a beautiful lighting engine to create some truly stunning scenes.
The advantage of having such a simple game – it doesn’t need to concern itself with rendering large, complex geometry – is that the graphics can be bumped up on different frontiers such as the character animation and texturing, as well as the overall lighting system.
Of course it isn’t perfect – occasionally, some of the textures can be a little on the blurry side – but just take a look at the shots which adorn this article. They’re all genuine in-game screenshots. That’s what you’re missing out on.
The visual beauty that is held within Guns of Icarus Online is well worth the $18 you need to spend to witness it first hand, and if you’re lucky enough to be able to push all the sliders to their maximum, you’re in for a truly wonderful treat. Honestly, it’s a game that feels made to have you hovering your finger over the screen capture button at every opportunity, and you can also get some lovely new desktop wallpaper from some of the vistas it throws at you.
Hopefully you have enjoyed this list of 5 reasons why Guns of Icarus Online is awesome and keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming review of it done by yours truly.