So I’ve been playing this one off-and-on for a bit now. I’m not terribly far through, level 21 of 30. I guess that’s about 70% of the map, based on what I’m able to see. I’ve absolutely zero experience in the DarkZone (DZ) since that opens up in a level. It’s a weird game.
The most obvious of all elements is that it’s mostly single player. Aside from the shared hubs and the missions (that you can solo if you want), I never see anyone else in the game. It’s quite jarring to be playing alone, having no help, then getting into a mission and having someone heal you. I quite like the group aspect, I just wish there was more of it. Maybe that comes later?
The RPG aspect is cool enough. Gear drops with a multitude of stats, though only 3 really count (DPS, health and skills) in large portions. Items have talents, there are mods for gear and skills, and there’s a fair amount of customization through talents. I’m not certain the balance is appropriate mind you. An even spread of stats doesn’t give much benefit compared to a high investment in DPS. Even if you were to stack everything into health, you’d still get mowed down. I do like that you can re-roll stats on gear (a tech room upgrade). It allows me to keep the same stat balance, while getting general secondary stat boosts.
Guns. There are many guns. Machine guns, assault rifles, marksman rifles, uzis… you name it. There’s a generic DPS stat on them, though it still requires you to pay attention to the other stats – namely rate of fire. I have one rifle that allows me to unload an entire clip while aiming. It does half the damage per shot of my other rifle, but shoots about 4x as fast. Had I only looked at the damage stat, I would have been mighty peeved (I was on an earlier comparison). Mods on guns help tweak a few settings, thought it’s the talents that have most merit. Kills that refresh skill cooldowns, or health on kill, or group stuns… all of it matters. It’s different to have a game provide you with so much choice while leveling, but it’s refreshing.
The actual missions are all very similar. Free some hostages, take down a bad guy, break up a deal, power up some towers. All of them (minus investigation ones) require you to mow down a bunch of cookie cutter bad guys. The controls are responsive, and the enemy AI isn’t dumb as dirt, so there’s some fun when they throw everything your way.
Group missions are different. They usually cover big expanses of land, which only a few narrow hallways. This allows for fairly large firefights. The flamethrower and machine gun enemies are a right pain. Solid team work, with a couple folk set to heal makes a big difference. Bosses aren’t bullet sponges, and flanking is certainly required to make work. Tight controls and the ability to perform quick headshots help a ton.
Overall it’s a good game. I’m not terribly sold on the longevity, as I expect perhaps another 4-5 hours to complete the main portion of the quests. The exploration part doesn’t hit any particular nerve and the grind for more stats died in my MMO raiding days. Plus, it’s sunny and warm outside, after an un-ending winter.