First Thoughts on Firefall
Whether it's gearing up to take on the endless swarms of Chosen that flood out of the Melding Wall, or working on cleaning up the Shores outside of Copa, there's always something to do as a new pilot in the ARES Initiative Program. That's how things start off in the Free-2-Play MMOFPS Firefall. Things start off aboard an Accord Dropship -- The Accord is the military organization in the Firefall setting, and are currently the only ones attempting to fight back against the Chosen; an alien Force that emerged from the darkness that has become known as The Melding. More on this later.
You're a fresh-off-the-ship ARES Pilot arriving to "Do your part for the War Effort" near Copa, one of the last vestiges of somewhat sane human civilization that remains after the Firefall event. Let me get in to that for a moment. The name of the game is Firefall, but there was also an event in the game's Lore that is referred to as the Firefall? What's up with that? Well.. let me tell you. Or, even better.. let an entry from Doctor Adam Vowbind, an astronomer who was aboard the Deep Horizon Space Station during the events that became known as the Firefall tell you. This was taken from his journal:
I don't think there has been a darker day in my life than the day that asteroid began its barrage on the Earth. We had thought it would pass us by. The trajectory was all wrong for a collision. My colleagues around the globe had agreed with the assessment that there would be a near-miss event, but that there was almost no chance the asteroid would collide with Earth. How could we all be so wrong? We watched in horror as the massive asteroid shattered as it passed the moon's gravitational well. By the time we figured out that the "near-miss" would become thousands of impact events, it was too late to do anything about it. People on the surface panicked. I can't blame them.
That's enough to get your curiosity running, isn't it? This would start a chain of events that would throw Earth in to a desparate struggle to survive. Fighting against the Chosen, various mutated creatures, Raiders, Pirates, and all sorts of threats has worn the resources available down to their minimum. Enter the ARES Initiative Program. This Initiative enabled certain individuals to enter 'Battleframes' and become Pilots. These frames enabled the pilot to launch themselves upwards, maneuvering in far more opportune manners than standard Military Tactics. The Battleframes also grant their pilots special abilities to help with the struggle against the Chosen. This is your role in Firefall.
"But wait, didn't you say the Accord was the only group trying to stop the Chosen?" Very astute of you. I did. ARES Pilots are essentially Mercenaries, brought in to work alongside the Accord Military to save humanity. You would think this to be a major boon in favor of Humanity against the Chosen, right? Wrong. Many of the Accord don't agree with the ARES Initiative Program, stating that they "don't need the help of no mercs!" However, the civilians? They're more receptive to ARES pilots than they are of the Accord Military. Why? They feel a sense of abandonment from the Accord.
But I'm rambling! This entry is supposed to be about my first impressions of the game.. and here I am, going in to lengthy explanations of the backstory and Lore of it. Yeah, that's best suited for another entry entirely.
If you enjoy shooting lots of strange creatures with tons of cool guns? Firefall has that covered. If you like branching from the "norm" when it comes to the standard 'Tank-Healer-DPS' Formula? Also covered. The Battleframes available offer varying different abilities. The Dreadnought is your tank style Battleframe, being practically indestructible on the battlefield. The Assault frame is your pretty standard DPS type, offering a high damage plasma gun with a few decent choices for secondary weapon: grenade launcher, assault rifle.
Then you've got the Biotech with is your Healer type Battleframe, complimenting its allies with various abilities to restore damage done, as well as toss a few DoTs (Damage over Time) on enemies to help the fight. Then you've got your Engineering Battleframe, which takes up a support type DPS role. This Battleframe allows you to place down turrets and defensive structures to help your party fend off its enemies. Lastly, we have the Recon type Battleframe. This is for all those Snipers out there. Specializing in stealth and long-range rifles, this Battleframe devastates from a distance, using Stealth Generators to conceal its movement, while deploying Decoys to throw the enemy off.
Each one of these 'types' have varying different Battleframes available to each of them, offering more unique abilities, and higher damage resistance. As of right now, the max level of a Battleframe is currently 40, but you can switch to whichever Battleframe you want, on the fly, using a Battleframe Garage. Another interesting thing, is the Pilot Tokens you receive for reaching level 40 on any individual Battleframe. You'll receive 10 of these tokens, which you can then use to unlock the next "tier" of Battleframe to work on.
Fair warning to those who haven't played this game yet, however.. it can be a grind. Each Battleframe has its OWN LEVEL. This means, if you're playing as an Assault Frame, and get to level 30 on it and decide you want a change of pace, and switch over to a Recon Frame; you're Recon frame starts at level 1. Daunting, no? That's what the Job Board is for. You can take repeatable, cycled missions on to generate the experience to level up each Frame, while getting rewards upon completion of each one.
Personally, I've never minded the grind in games. Gives me something to do. Ultimately, I give this game a 9/10 for being a genuinely fun MMOFPS, having a very rich and detailed backstory, and containing one of the most friendly communities I've encountered in gaming. The only reason I don't give this game a 10/10, is due to the lack of end-game "drive" that's available. Once you reach 40, and get a few pieces of gear to cap your Power Rating (measure of combat potential, similar to an Item Level), there isn't much reason to do anything else. Once this changes, I'm sure it'll be a 10/10 for the MMOFPS genre.
I hope you've enjoyed reading my review of Firefall on the PC. But don't take my word for it, jump in to the game and try it out yourself! I'm sure you'll have a blast.