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When the Tactical Shooter NEOTOKYO°, which started its journey as an Unreal Tournament 2004 mod, released on Steam two days ago, it came as a surprise to the small player base and its server hosts. Hundreds of new players came in, but there were only four servers to support them. Furthermore, Steam’s in-game server browser broke, and decided to not show several servers. There was a workaround, but many couldn’t be bothered with it and left. A tragedy, if there’s ever been one, because those that stuck through the buggy beginnings got to witness one of the best games of all time. Well, technically it’s a Total Conversion Mod. So total, in fact, that it doesn’t need any external files whatsoever.
What is NEOTOKYO°?
NEOTOKYO° is a team-based tactical first-person shooter set in a futuristic Japan where two factions, the JINRAI and the NSF, wage a covert war for control of the Japanese government.
The game enjoyed moderate success early on, but its playerbase dwindled, as it was a niche title, and it was difficult to install (it was necessary to own Half-Life 2 or download the Source SDK Base 2006). Still, it had a dedicated fanbase which kept it alive. And for good reason.
Players can choose from three classes: Recon, Support, and Assault. Each class starts out with its own set of weapons, and more can be unlocked as players rank up. Points can be earned by killing enemies or fulfilling objectives, and do not transfer through matches. Somehow, it seems people in the Steam Reviews have forgotten that franchises like Quake, Unreal Tournament, and Half-Life managed perfectly fine without an cross-session progress system
The Recon class is most similar to that of the Scout in Team Fortress 2. Recon players are able to move quickly, see in the dark, cloak for 15 seconds, power-jump, and have unlimited sprint. However, they deal less damage, die very quickly, and are limited in weapon choice. They have detpacks, but can only use them once they gain the rank of corporal.
The Assault class can be compared to Team Fortress 2’s Soldier. They can take and dish out moderately more damage than the recon and have more options when it comes to firepower. Recons have limited sprint, 9-second cloaks, and cannot power-jump. They have instant access to frag grenades, and their motionvision allows them to see any moving players not blocked by cover (even if said player is cloaked).
The Support class can best be compared to Team Fortress 2’s Heavy. They have no sprint , and move very slowly, but can tank and dish out tons of damage. Their weapons arsenal starts out one weapon lighter than the Assault’s. Supports have access to two smoke grenades, and their thermalvision allows them to see right through smoke and thin cover, as well as spot cloaked players.
All players can peek around corners by leaning with the Q and E keys.
The classes are extremely well-designed, but the rock-paper-scissors balance won’t save a newbie from a veteran player, which is not at all a bad thing. Ultimately, the outcome of a duel is decided by the skill of the players, not the classes they chose.
If there’s one flaw in the gameplay, it’s that aiming down the ironsights is not fully implemented. Crosshairs aren’t shown unless one uses the ironsights, but instead of bringing the scope to their eye, the player character brings it closer to their face and the screen is zoomed in to simulate using actual sights.
This is not the end of the world by any means, the game is just as fun and strategical without proper ironsights as it would be if they were implemented. I understand why the design choice was made (the game runs off of the 2006 Source SDK, support for ironsights was shoddy at best and would’ve taken a long time to implement), but still, it is important to point out, as this might be crucial to some players. For me, it took a while to get used to, but it ended up feeling natural after a while.
Gunplay is tight, and I was happy to find out that there is no head or weapon sway, so my character doesn’t look like he’s having a seizure everytime he tries to aim. Friendly Fire is always on, however it is not hard to differentiate between friend or foe.
There are two game modes: Deathmatch and Capture the Ghost. Deathmatch is pretty much nonexistent, and I can see why. Capture the Ghost is the real meat of this game. It’s Capture-the-Flag, with only one flag. Everyone can see the flag’s location on the map even if it’s being carried away, and he who controls the flag can see enemy players through walls up to 50 meters
Graphics & Sound
The game still runs off the HL2 engine, so nobody should expect groundbreaking graphics. However, as opposed to other mods out there, the art style is coherent and very attractive .
Yes, there are ads with nude women in them. And yes, the Ghost has -gasp- plastic breasts. Many neon signs on buildings advertise services of the sexual kind. But then again, if you’re willing to play a game about Japanese cyborgs slaughtering each other, nudity should not be a big deal. At any rate, breasts make people much happier than bullets.
The game features a great soundtrack (in fact, the soundtrack may be more popular than the game), however it will only play on certain servers and needs to be toggled on using chat commands. A travesty, if you ask me. But it was the developer’s design choice, and we must live with that.
At any rate, you ought to have a listen even if the game doesn’t suit you:
The game has no bugs whatsoever! Well, none that I can see. It’s is a neatly wrapped package with no bloated code or gamebreaking glitches. And it runs perfectly fine on a computer that can meet its requirements .
Updates are few and far between. The Lead Programmer of the game is dealing with “more important matters” (details are rather vague). That being said, one of the last major bugs was patched out last year and the game is in a good place when it comes to balance. There’s a good variety of stock maps and more can be created by the community using the Source SDK.
I would recommend NEOTOKYO° to anyone looking for a solid Tactical Shooter (bonus if you’re a Ghost in the Shell fan). It is one of the best shooters I have ever played and has a surprising amount of polish for a Source Mod. More than most releases nowadays. A solid 8 out of 10.
Credit goes to NEOTOKYOHQ for the map screenshots and class playermodels.
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