An uneasy start, the transition to free-to-play, a creditable setting, questionable shooting and balance and failed optimization – in the review of World War 3.
Theories about World War III are regularly in the air. But in virtual space, it’s already in its fourth year. Of course, I refer to the multiplayer shooter World War 3. Since its announcement it has been called the “Battlefield killer. And although I don’t like this kind of phrasing, I wanted to see the competition in the segment of large-scale military shooters, especially against the background of the failures of the same Battlefield. Was World War 3 able to beat the competition and is it worth your attention? You can answer this question by reading my review. Let’s do it!
World War 3 was announced in 2015. Development was taken over by the Polish studio The Farm 51. At that time, the guys were known for a couple of medium shooters and a relatively good Painkiller: Hell & Damnation. Later, after the beginning of World War 3, they released a fairly good indie survival game Chernobylite.
But, back to World War 3. Initially, the game was positioned as a serious project, created with the support of consultants from the Special Forces and the military industry. It was planned to sell the shooter at full price, without donation.
When it was announced, it seemed we were in for something massive and incredible. Expectations, as usual, turned out to be too high.
However, the developers rushed and presented to the public too raw version of the project. In October 2018, World War 3 was released in early access and received mixed reviews. Everything was bad – optimization, graphics, game mechanics. It was as if players were testing an early alpha that they also had to pay for.
The first impression was spoiled, the game seemed to be forgotten about. However, some audience was still attracted to it. This was helped by the relative decline of Battlefield, and the setting of World War III, which is not often covered in games, intriguing.
Murder in the Kremlin corridors – went out to breathe in the courtyard, then instantly got shot in the forehead.
The developers, despite failing at the start, continued to work hard. And now, four years later the release was held. Here’s just a model of distribution have changed from a paid to the free, adding a donation “skins. And the fans who were disappointed with this decision, who had bought an early version, were placated with a special set of cosmetics.
The decision to change the distribution model paid off, and the game gained, albeit a small, but still a second breath. Now its maximum daily online audience reaches 2500 people in Steam alone (the project also has an official website, from which a separate launcher is downloaded).
But not everything is so smooth.
The setting and maps
This is probably the strongest point of World War 3. The developers transferred the atmosphere of World War III quite well, presenting as maps the most interesting points of potential battles – from the center of Berlin to the Red Square. And recently came out an add-on with the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, and a Buddhist temple somewhere in China.
Map with points to capture.
The locations are based on real objects, though of course there are some creative tweaks for the sake of gameplay. And here I want to praise the game designers. Unlike the same Battlefield 2042 the maps here are not empty at all, everywhere there are shelters and routes for interesting tactical maneuvers. Yes, there are places that I would like to change because of their imbalance for one side or another in the conflict (for example, too open points that are impossible to defend). But overall I liked everything.
Maps, by the way, are divided into two categories – for large-scale combat mode (as in the usual Battlefield, with armored vehicles) and close combat (similar to Call of Duty, although the game is too different). Large-scale maps did not go to me because of balance problems, which I will tell you about. But the small maps, where you just run and shoot in corridors and small arenas, are great for intense entertainment. In addition, on such maps is much more noticeable influence of personal skill, rather than unfortunate accidents or imbalances.
Here comes the first significant problem. Let’s talk about weapons. Newbies start out with starter guns with no duds. To get something sane, you have to grind for a long time, pumping levels of current weapons and unlocking something new. Because of this, the first few hours the player is practically a useless bag of bones. Veterans bend you in any situation, unless you run up to them from behind and put half a clip in. Given that the project wants to attract new players, such a hardcore start looks inappropriate.
The armor is modern and historical. You can only ride modern, although it would be fun to run out and sit in a WWII tank:)
But there are problems with good weapons, too. TTK or kill time is criminally short here. In long-range firefights, where you’re trying to get your enemy with at least a couple of bullets, you don’t notice this. But in short ranges, you can kill or get away in less than a second! And if they start shooting at you from the side, you don’t have time to react at all. Yes, it’s realistic. But it’s primarily a game, not a real combat simulator.
I haven’t run into outright cheaters. There were players with a lot of kills, but I found a way to deal with them. Although in the reviews on the cheaters complain – maybe they are?
Of course, there are imbalanced weapons. For example, shotguns too powerful, even at medium-range. The spectacle of the enemy fighter playfully jumps past and vanshots you with a shotgun, regardless of your HP and armor, I have seen too often and causes a fire in the heel.
Okay, with weapons understandable. But the most important imbalance in armored vehicles. Because of this, I hated the mode with large-scale battles. No matter what tank, APC or other “miracle on the tracks” will come to you – there is almost no chance of survival.
APC with a mini grenade launcher is an imba against infantry. The hapless enemy warrior is about to feel it.
Even if you’re playing as a grenade launcher – to destroy an armored vehicle, you need to put at least four charges into it, and you only have three in your kit! Yes, you can get one more from the ammo kit. But while you’re doing this, you’ll be killed several times. In general, those who played on the armor steadily incinerated everyone in their path, racking up dozens of frags, while the rest of us hid in shelters, afraid to even stick our necks out. Again, realistic, but the gameplay only suffers from this.
Short range combat mode suffers the least from the imbalance. There are no armored vehicles, you’re less likely to be surrounded and you’re more or less dependent on your own skill. So if you’re just starting your way in World War 3, I advise you to enter this mode and grind there. And when you unlock good weapons, you can try your luck in large-scale battles.
Compared to AAA-projects it’s uncomfortable here. And not because the developers are clumsy. On the contrary, they have worked very hard, passing the real recoil of modern weapons. Because of this it is difficult to shoot, it is very difficult to clamp, and it is even more difficult to reshoot at long distances. At first this pisses you off, but then you get used to it. And yet, I want something more arcade, enjoyable, so that the shooting gave you pleasure, but did not make you strain.
Atmospheric, what can I say.
In terms of gun sounds, everything is fine. The animations and look of the guns are great. Except that there are no effects of hitting the enemy. The bullets seem to fly through him, just taking away his hitpoints. You want to feel the hits, to enjoy the headshots. But no, it feels like a cheap mobile shooter. And it has a very negative impact on the perception of combat.
As I said before, here you start out practically naked. You have a starter weapon and no duds. Discovering something new is necessary in battle. At least everything depends on you, not a donation.
The game even looks very modern in certain lighting. But it’s a deception of vision.
Also, new specialties need to be unlocked – I didn’t get that at all. From the start I wanted to feel all the specialties, and had to unlock them one by one. As a result, the first sniper I picked up only two hours later. And the grenade launcher even later.
There is also a kind of progression during combat. Gaining points for killing, helping the team, or completing objectives, you can call on various equipment, such as drones, as well as siccing artillery and air strikes on the enemy. Fun, useful, definitely like it.
Graphics and optimization
Despite the use of the engine Unreal Engine 4, graphics even on max settings is far from AAA-level. However, the overall style is good enough, the atmosphere of combat is present, so with some stretch it is possible to put a plus sign.
The optimization, however, is lame. The game does not use all the power of the system, so the FPS is lower than it could be. Also, on some maps or locations frame drops suddenly for no reason (even if there are no explosions or any activity at all). Hopefully, the solution to this “trouble” is a matter of time.
The forest is the worst thing in the game. FPS is the lowest here. And it’s almost impossible to spot enemies.
But the match search is optimized to the glory. After reading the reviews, I thought that I had to wait for 5-10 minutes before each fight. However, the battles have started instantaneously, as soon as I pressed the “Start” button. I do not even know if the developers have achieved this due to the abundance of bots (some nicknames were too “generic”) or really so many players. But nothing to complain about.
You don’t get bumped enough by players? An armored drone will join them as well:)
Likewise, I can’t complain about bugs and crashes, because there weren’t any. But the network code in some places lame. Ping is regularly above average, the vehicle when driving twitches, grenades during the throw hangs in the air. This happens not as often, but it is noticeable and unpleasant.
A Battlefield killer or not?
World War 3 falls short of AAA-level. And even a problematic project like Battlefield 2042 looks noticeably better. However, there is an important factor – price.
If you are fastidious in terms of graphics and overall game quality and just want to drive the evening on a tank, shoot a machine gun and feel in the middle of virtual warfare, World War 3 looks good. Why pay 50-60-70 dollars when you can download and play for free.
The Beauties of China
But if you’re used to quality games with top-notch graphics, fine-tuned shooting, well thought-out balance, etc., World War 3 will disappoint you. Although, even in this case you can test it, because there is nothing to lose, and if you do not like something – just delete the game and forget about its existence.
As for me, I don’t mind from time to time to drop by the World War 3 servers to distract from the “mundane”, to scatter a couple of grenades, fire a grenade launcher and shoot a dozen or so poor creatures from an APC. I can give this game a 6/10 (but only when there is a normal ping and the server is not slow).