Purge Aims High, Misses

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When technology fights sorcery, which side will you choose?

The plot of Purge, as written in the online manual is: "Science is in a golden age: decades passed since the first android and genetically modified humans were developed. These beings of scientific perfection are several magnitudes stronger and smarter than normal man. They are collectively known as the Order. Eventually, the Order creates a one world government, and world peace.

This "worldwide order" comes at a high cost. A great social divide develops between the Order and ordinary humans. Rejected from the utopian society of the Order, some turn to the teachings of a man with seemly divine powers named Mabus and a new religion, the Chosen. Mabus preaches of attaining spiritual perfection thru constant magical research and supernatural enhancement. To be religiously pure, one must reject all forms of technology. The Chosen considers androids "soul-less machines".

As the Chosen gained in popularity, the Order saw them as the greatest threat to civilization. Mabus, who openly taught his followers to practice sorcery, is considered the incarnation of ultimate evil; an evil that would consume the world in unnatural witchcraft. Simply known as the Purge, the war started when the Order killed the Chosen’s leader, Mabus.

From here launches Tri Synergy’s latest release into the realms of online gaming – Purge. Purge is an online only, team oriented first person shooter.

Let me start by explaining my questioning in the rating slot entitled "Fun." (editor’s note: eventually changed to a score of three, or average, for the chart) I do not personally enjoy first person shooters where the only version available is player VS player (ie. no player VS computer enemies for familiarization purposes) so felt compelled to not rate the game for fun in this review, but rather present the game as I saw it and let you draw your own rating for the ‘fun factor’ of Purge.

The game runs into trouble right after you load it up. You look around for the manual to describe how the game works and only find a single piece of paper with loading instructions, the basic keyboard and mouse commands and a web address for the online manual. Ok, so I fire up the online manual (after noting that there had been an update and downloading it and installing it) with expectations of detailed instructions for game mechanics. Nope, just generic discussions of the two sides, background of the conflict and detailed discussion of the various skills available to each side. There is absolutely nothing that would help you understand the game or how to play it. A tutorial or at least a non-online scenario to play to get the feel of the game and its interface would have been very welcomed.

I did not pay much attention to the skills, which turned out to be a bad thing. The various templates used for the characters do not automatically give you the stats to use the various skills that character can have. So when you get in game and try and use a skill you get the message that one of your stats is not high enough for you to use that skill. So it’s back to the manual and getting familiar with the skills and stats necessary to actually use them in game.

It seems like there is a lot that can be done, but once you get online you choose a character and BAM are placed into the shooting. There is no time to experiment with things as I found out. I get into my first game and find that my portal (place where new recruits – me – come in and where you re-spawn after death, if your side has a reinforcement point available when you die) AND the target for destruction for the enemy to win the game; is under attack. So I am looking on the game sheet that has the commands to find out how to pick a weapon and how to activate the secondary attack mode for it and die three times before I get a chance to hit the proper hot keys.

I finally get so I can run into a corner and then hit the appropriate keys for the cool looking rotating barrel type gun and get the message that the game is over and my side has lost.

I wait for the game to restart and figure that I will at least be able to run around a little and be ready to attack any foes I meet. The wait is not long and I am back into the fray. I get to explore a little and the game worlds seem to be pretty nice to look at. They are a bit on the dark side (which stinks for screen shots) but nice to run around in. So I am going in the direction that I think the enemy portal is in.

Communications is not the best feature of this game. You can type messages that can be seen by everyone or just your team or send to just one character. However with bullets flying soon after the start of a new game there is little time for idle chit chat (which, unfortunately is VERY necessary in light if the dearth of game information you have when you start. And the messages themselves are displayed in a very hard to read text presentation on the game screen.

At various points of my approach to the enemy portal area, I get killed and there were no enemies on my radar. I ask about this and am told I am most likely running into mines, traps and other things I can not see. In trying to get more information I get killed as I am straining to see the response on the screen and completely miss the enemy coming up behind me.

There are never many people in the game world and you are usually stuck with a single choice of a world to play on and usually there are only a handful (6 – 10) people in the game. This game would probably be a lot more enjoyable if you were playing with a known group of friends so that you could all play around with the game interface and mechanics until you are comfortable with the game and have a chance to try out different things before actually getting down to a real fire fight!

The problem with a single game with limited people is that invariably there is some character there who has played every game since the opening of the server, has all the various skills, abilities and equipment that comes with this experience and can blow you away without working up a sweat.

The different weapons available are pretty cool and some are more useful than others. My weapons problems centered on the fact that in shooter type games you actually have to have the aiming cursor on the target in order for the weapon to hit them. This is one reason why I chose the rotating barrel gun as I figured the volume of fire would make up for my lack of ability to target the enemy (you know they just do not stand still for you). Wrong again. I am sitting half-way covered by a wall waiting for that enemy dot on my radar screen to come down the side hall and into the hallway I have a bead on. I see the figure enter the hallway open fire (as soon as the weapon starts firing the ability to actually see the target is gone in the graphics of the firing weapon) and die two seconds later when they open fire at me. I believe that my side was more than happy when I left the game world as I tended to eat up our reinforcement points which are limited in each game round.

The relatively low ratings I gave Purge (overall 2.5 GiN gems) were due to the lack of documentation, lack of a tutorial or any way to ‘experiment’ with the system before getting thrown into the lions den of the online world and the extremely low number of people actually playing the game. As stated earlier, this game could be very cool indeed if played with a bunch of people you know on your own server and at your own pace. There seems to be a lot this game has to offer but you can not learn about it while being shot at.

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