A Happy Surprise: Gamer Sensei's Range Royale Early Access Impressions
When I first heard about Range Royale, I knew nothing more about it than its title, I actually physically rolled my eyes. "Not again..." I thought, thoroughly burned out after another relentless day talking Fortnite with every adolescent gamer in a 10-mile radius, "not another hip new battle royale game to try and feel excited about."
With the success of various battle royale games permeating PC, every console on the planet, and rapidly carving out a sizeable niche in mobile gaming, every game that isn't already a clone is turning into a battle royale game... or wants to. It's almost as bad as the zombies.
And then, Range Royale surprised me.
Not another battle royale game, not exactly. But a brand new way to practice and hone your skills without sacrificing your pride.
By the Pros
In my defense, I missed the fact that Range Royale was by Gamer Sensei... which would have been the tip-off. With esports on the rise, Gamer Sensei has managed a somewhat superstar rise since its inception in 2016 connecting gamers with pro coaches for one-on-one personalized sessions on the business of getting better.
Range Royale is a slight removal from that - not quite in the business of one-on-one coaching, it still gives you the tools to get better all on your own.
Practice makes perfect
There are a number of different skills to perfect when playing any first-person shooter, and Range Royale breaks it down for you into different situational types: scopes and sniper training, bot battles, zombie training modes, etc. Each one has different guns to practice with, giving you more time with weapon types that you may not always be able to pick up and use enough when playing in live matches of your favorite battle royale.
Getting comfortable with a weapon and how it operates and aims goes a long way when using it in a more high-stakes situation.
Different optics (e.g. practicing with iron sights versus red dot) and ammo capacities round out the offerings so that you're not limited to practicing just for battle royale games - all of these skills can be applied to any other form of first-person shooter. And let's face it... PUBG can get as down-to-the-details as it likes with its different guns, grips, and scopes, but the basic differences between a shotgun, semi/fully-automatic assault rifle, handgun, and sniper (et al) can be learned well with practice, to be fine-tuned in the actual game itself.
(Trust me, you don't want to burn yourself out in practice when the point is to still have fun in your battle royale of choice.)
Of course, this is primarily geared specifically for PC gamers - those of you who cross platforms onto console or (gasp shock) mobile won't get nearly as much benefit out of training PC-specific muscle memory. But that's why PC master race rules, right? ...Right?
Track your progress
Practice in games in like Range Royale will help you with aiming and flick shots, in a more realistic environment than Osu! could ever hope to give you. Plus, there are always new ways to improve as you ramp up the difficulty and take yourself out of novice and into the elite.
And to make it feel less like work, the base game already comes with player profiles, leaderboards, and achievements so you see how you measure up. Upon your initial sign in, you have the option of registering with Gamer Sensei and creating a profile - this isn't a requirement to play, but it does allow you to store your stats and track how well you start out, and how well you end up becoming.
But I don't need to get better!
Pish posh. Everyone always wants to get better, even the pros. If you find any enjoyment in FPS games whatsoever, you'll find something worth learning just from taking an interest in your own skill progress.
Range Royale allows you to do that, and manages to be pretty challenging and, dare I even say it, fun. I may have whined about the zombies, but they were a large part of my re-entrance back into PC gaming, and zombie mode brings back the controlled mayhem of zombie slaying in Killing Floor for me.
No "clone with a gimmick," the game is a functional, super useful tool for your FPS belt, and it isn't even fully released yet. It's also super cheap at $5 (although the price may go up when the full build releases, no word on that yet) and wholly worth the price at that.
For a first impression, I am seriously impressed and looking forward to what the full version has to offer.