Shattered Horizon PC Review - www.impulsegamer.com -
 

Shattered Horizon

FutureMark

 

Gameplay 8.0
Graphics 8.0
Sound 7.5
Value 7.5
Developer: FutureMark Game Studio
Review Date:
November 2009
Reviewer:
Edwil Millheim

7.5


Shattered Horizon

PC Digital Download/Steam or Company Web Site

So.. Ok, I open my email through the multitude of other emails of review requests press releases and such... and this one catches my eye. Looking over the premise grabs my interest right away. Having written some sci fi comics and Role Playing Games based on a mix of space, Earth, and it's oceans called Bright Future...I was game for something that would incorporate something as exciting as zero G combat. Especially if it has a mix of Sci Fi and reality.

Because it's my thoughts on a cool concept as well. Shattered Horizon from FutureMark Game Studios delivers the goods here. Shattered Horizon is a multiplayer first-person shooter. Players battle it out in the Zero G environment surrounded by the remains of Earth's Moon. Billions of tons of rock, metals and dust now orbit the Earth and the player's must survive. Spinning off into the vastness of space is not the only hazards here, a fast moving micro meteor can ruin anyone's day.

There is complete freedom of movement here in Shattered Horizon. The zero gravity makes for an interesting battle ground environment, where new types of tactics have to be adopted. It opens up incredible possibilities. There is a familiarity to this first person shooter, the environment and over all experience makes it shiny and new.

The basic back story to the game goes like this...Shattered Horizon is set 40 years from now. Man is back on the Moon and the companies that took him there are reaping huge profits. Their greed soon leads to the largest mining accident in history. A catastrophic explosion throws billions of tons of rocky debris into near-Earth space, its aftershocks threatening to tear apart the Moon itself. Fragments of the Moon settle around the Earth and become known as the Arc, named after the dramatic shape they draw across the night sky. With Earth surrounded by debris there's little chance of rescue or return for the thousands of people stranded in space.

The International Space Agency's (ISA) astronauts and scientists trapped in the battered International Space Station are given the task of apprehending those responsible for the catastrophe. Weapons are among the last supplies sent to the station before the supply route from Earth is cut. The Moon Mining Cooperative (MMC) finds itself facing serious charges after only barely surviving the cataclysm. Cut off from Earth, they see the ISA as a threat to their very existence.

So it comes down to survival, armed conflict in space explodes as the two sides face off. Players choose to play either with the MMC or ISA. Fast paced battles over several strategic locations and the low supplies needed to survive. Survival depends on control of the Arc, or it's certain death for the looser in the vastness of space. Let me tell you one thing that should be obvious. Cover is life should be a universal thing. Floating around in space in the open is a sure way for you to take some hits and bleed away not only your life blood, but your oxygen as well. Cover, cover , cover.

Gaming in Zero Gravity can take some getting used to, but once you learn the basics of the controls your all set for some heavy combat. I do know that thinking in just a two dimensional way is not the way to go. There are so many ways to get to point A to B. It's it's not always a straight line, nor is it always right side up... of course in space right side up or upside down is relative.

Imagine if you will orbiting the Earth at around 200 miles altitude. The speed of your orbit is around 18,000 miles per hour. Your in a state of "apparent weightlessness." Your floating. Whether your inside or outside of a craft or structure you have to be tethered somehow to effectively to perform tasks. In Shattered Horizon, a press of the button causes the suits systems to attach the wearer to a surface. Effectively aligning them to the surface, be that on the side, upside down or what have you.

Propulsion in the game is also handled by the suits maneuvering thrusters. Allowing the player to move about freely in the environment. Using the thrusters keeps the player from spinning out of control from recoil from weapons discharge.

Players are equipped with a multi purpose rifle. Good for everything from long range to mid range to up-close and personal, when this darling speaks she commands attention.

Now the rifle is not the only weapon in the mix. A particular nasty weapon , the tactical grenade gives out a burst of an electro magnetic pulse, crashing out an enemy heads up display and making the propulsion system far less responsive.

ICE Grenades as the name implies are pretty wicked cool, because when discharged they release a fine cloud of crystal ice, this effect blocks enemy radar and line of sight from enemy fire. Getting creative tactically it can also be used to some effect like a flashbang. Blasting this thing off on an unsuspecting enemy can have a disorienting effect on them, if a fast get away is needed these bad boys may be what you need.

MPR grenades can be used to dislodge enemies, or pushing back enemy or other floating objects. Knocking back an attacker with one of these may buy you some time to return fire or get to cover.

Right now there is the usual fare to be had as in most multi-player games.

In Shattered Horizon you can play three different game modes called Battle, Assault and Skirmish. All three modes support a maximum of 32 players divided into two teams. Battle two teams compete to capture control points and dominate the map. Teams must defend their own control points while attacking the enemy’s.

Assault is a turn-based control point capture game. Teams take turns attacking and defending. Control points cannot be recaptured by the defending team once lost. The attacking team must capture all control points in order to win the round.

Skirmish is a team deathmatch game mode. At the end of the round, the final score
determines the winning team.

I would like to have seen some more interesting scenarios in the and who knows, with planned expansions on the game we may see more in the mix. Would be cool to perhaps even instead of capture a flag, capture an intact shuttle, the payload being much needed supplies and or weapons. Either way I am looking forward to expansion on this incredible game. At this time the environment gives it that extra boost, the back story is just that a back story. With no single player element, nor extra story content to ground it even further with intriguing events, this multi-player only game still rises well above it's peers.

The control lay out is well done and anyone playing any form of FPS on the computer will feel right at home.

Sound... oh the sound. Before any one protests about no sound in space... the developers had to come to a balance of fun and reality and sci fi. Having sounds and audible cues is a lot more fun than floating around just listing to yourself breathing. The sound over all is well done. From sound effects, to the music that almost melts into the back ground and becomes an over all part of the experience. That unto itself is a mark of a good musical score in a game.


Visuals, oh my the visuals. FutureMark Game Studio made a choice early on, that for any PC games, would only be run on the most up to date rigs. That means Vista or Windows 7.

If you do not have direct X 10 only game. Now some gamers may feel left out, but
progress marches on. If a company does not march with it, then they are left in the dust and can well stagnate and die as a company. So I can understand the choice. And Shattered Horizon really makes full use of what Direct X 10 has to offer. We tested on a Dell Lap Top meeting the minimum and it played pretty well. The visuals are stunning. In our test copy I went into a training server with no one else there, just so I can go around and check out the graphics. I am really not sure what I expected, but I sure never expected the look and sense that the game produces. Some of the environment is rather bland, after all it's rocks. There are some contrasts such as bits of equipment and different structures and large shipping containers. These tend to be blocky and plain with bright colors. It all sits well with the feel of what the environment is.

The vastness of space in the distance, with stars and galaxies. A shattered Moon, the rock and debris field, and the earth so close and yet so far. Our galaxies sun shining and throwing out blinding cascades into the blackness. More even, we are in orbit. We are moving in orbit along with everything else. There is an incredible sense of movement, of being there. To use the cliché , breath taking is fully appropriate here. Shattered Horizon's visuals are breath Taking. It fills you with the wonders of space.

What you are going to need to run the game:

Minimum:
OS: Windows Vista/7 (Does not support Windows XP)
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 / AMD Athlon64 X2 5600+
Memory: 2GB
Graphics: 256MB NVIDIA GeForce 8800GT / ATI Radeon HD 3870
DirectX®: 10 (Does not support DirectX 9)
Hard Drive: 1.5 GB
Sound: Windows Vista compatible sound card

Recommended:
OS: Windows Vista/7 (Does not support Windows XP)
Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 / AMD Phenom II X4 940
Memory: 2GB
Graphics: 512MB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 / ATI Radeon HD 4870
DirectX®: 10 (Does not support DirectX 9)
Hard Drive: 1.5GB
Sound: Windows Vista compatible sound card

Being multi-player only may cause this game to drop off the radar if not for planned
updates and add on content. The games staying power may end up depending on only the hard core fans with the rigs to run it. Community support, and extra content I stress may be the telling factor in the long run here.

Shattered Horizon earns high scores in several respects. It's a great multi-player game, those looking for something deeper or a single player experience may not find what they are looking for here. Though a group or several groups that actually role play in their games may transform the experience to something on a deeper level. The space battles await, jump on in!

Have fun, play games.
Edwin Millheim
United States Editor Impulse Gamer.






 
 



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