Review: Nexuiz (XBLA)

Review: Nexuiz (XBLA)

The third entry in the House Party event for this year, Nexuiz is fast. More than any other word, that one best describes the frenetic and exhilarating experience of any of the game modes that Nexuiz has to offer. Sure, the name may be a dorky carryover from the Quake mod that inspired it, and yeah, you might find a deeper story in a Gallant and Goofus comic from a Highlights magazine you pick up while waiting at the dentist, but damn it all if neither of those things matter even a little bit once you start racing around a map blasting people.

Based on the Quake fan mod, Nexuiz on XBLA is rebuilt from the ground up using Crytek’s CryEngine 3, previously used for Crysis 2. Crytek’s CryEngine 3 is wonderfully used to create visually appealing environments, characters, weapons, and more. Colors are vibrant, levels are specifically designed for different game types, and pick-ups are well placed throughout each map (dynamic mutators, weapons, ammunition, and more). The game is as sharp as it is fast.

Aside from the obvious visual improvement, however, you wouldn’t know that you weren’t playing a Quake mod. You’ll be dying and respawning left and right…well, unless you’re some ubermensch when it comes to this type of game. I am not, being more enamored with third person shooters than first person shooters, so I die left and right. The game modes are fairly basic, with team deathmatch and capture the flag for online play, and the inclusion of local bot training and matches for local practice and single player entertainment. Aside from the good level design and familiar fast paced gameplay, Nexuiz does something unique that really helps set it apart from other similar titles: Dynamic Mutators.

Dynamic Mutators change the way the game is played. Or, you know, make every shot and kill into a poorly mimicked fart noise straight from the talented developers. Whichever. Dynamic Mutators can be earned and activated by any player on the map, and have varying affects. Earned as pick-ups or as rewards for successful actions, such as killing sprees and flag captures, Dynamic Mutators have various flavors. They are broken up into four basic types: Everyone, Self, Team, and Enemy. Their range of effectiveness is fairly self-explanatory, with Everyone mutators affecting everyone, Self mutators affecting the activating player, Team mutators affecting the activating player’s team, and Enemy mutators affecting the activating player’s enemies.

I mentioned fart noises. Dynamic Mutators vary greatly. I was absolutely serious about the developer mimicked fart noises replacing action noises in a game. There’s also a big head mode, and a sombrero mode (in which everyone wears sombreros). They’re not all silly, however. Some of the mutators really change how you play the game. Color Blind, for example, removes all of the vibrant color from the game and puts you in a black and white arena. In a red vs. blue kind of game, this can become confusing. Only your reticle will indicate whether you’re aiming at an enemy or a friend by changing color appropriately. Vampire restores your health based on damage inflicted to your enemies. Now, back to the fun stuff. Bumper Cars causes players to bounce off of each other with a great deal of force, turning the arena map into a veritable pinball machine.

At 800MSP, Nexuiz is a hell of a time. It’s fast, fun, and the Dynamic Mutators add a new element that really refreshes the classic gameplay that would otherwise be simply another arena FPS. As long as this game can cultivate and maintain a strong community of players and ensure that games can always be easily found, this is definitely worth the purchase, and is a great entry to the House Party event.

Review

ProsCons
Fast paced action
Great weapon selection
Mutators provide great variety
Bot play for single player enjoyment
The con of every multiplayer game:
It will require a strong community
supporting it for longevity
Rating
90 out of 100

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