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Archetype Review: Prepare for War

I must admit that some parts of Archetype are awesome.  The graphics are quite smooth, the updated resolution for the iPhone 4 is quite slick, and the multiplayer itself is well done.  An acceptable amount of variety with maps and weapons was also quite nice, and the ability to veto maps was also a neat feature.

But once you take all that and boil it down, you get an online FPS with just one gameplay mode: Team Deathmatch.  There are also no unlockable weapons or armor like there are in Eliminate, and no real ranking in terms of online leaderboards.

Along with that, Archetype’s character animations are quite sparse, and it looks as if the characters belong somewhere in Marathon or Wolfenstein Classic.

The good things are present though, including a ton of achievements and smooth online play.  It’s just that there’s not enough.

Likes

Graphics: Sure, the animations are quite poor.  But the surrounding graphics and the map designs are all very well thought out, and the detail on the iPhone 4′s Retina Display are quite stunning.  It makes the game look a bit or even better than Eliminate, and the futuristic style of Archetype really appealed to my senses.

Controls: I usually play with the dual-joysticks on invisible and my fire on auto-fire, making for speedy and comfortable controls.  Some may not like them, as they aren’t the best, but it works for the speedy and somewhat hectic online play.

Online connectivity: I’ve never disconnected from a match, and I’ve never lagged heavily.  Sure, there are times when an enemy or some character appears to be in one place when they are actually in another, but there was nothing majorly wrong with the connectivity.  No dropped or disconnected games, and the online play ran considerably well over 3G (yes, even with my left hand covering the antenna).

Achievements: There are a ton of achievements to unlock (21 to be exact), and they vary quite well in terms of difficulty.  It would have been nice if they were associated with Plus+ or OpenFeint, but hey, it’s the thought that counts.

No DLC: This is the part I hated about Eliminate; the fact that you couldn’t play nonstop and had only an hour or so of play.  Sure, they did some things to fix that, but it doesn’t make the first impressions of Eliminate being a cheap game go away.  I love the fact that the developers provided one price and one price only, with no hidden costs or anything.  You spend $2.99, you get the whole game.  It’s as simple as that, and I hope they keep it that way.

Dislikes

Only one game mode: Online FPS usually strives on different gameplay modes.  Capture the Flag, King of the Hill, Team Deathmatch, 1v1… the list goes on of all the basic game modes.  Even including Capture the Flag would have gotten this off the dislike list; the current offerings for game modes are quite sparse and below average.

Animations: Like I mentioned before, the animations are quite poor.  Characters move more like blocks than anything, and movement of the legs or arms are not seen at all.  While this may contribute to the online smoothness and such, the developers should have added more points of movement.  Eliminate did it well and I don’t see why Archetype cannot.

Online leaderboards: From what I see, there are no online leaderboards of any sorts to keep the competition going.  Most kills, most experience points, most grenade kills, machine gun kills, shotgun kills… there’s seriously an endless list.  I’m not entirely sure why the developers forgot to include this in there, but they did and it’s quite unfortunate.

Gets old: How long does online play really last?  Honestly here, hype and excitement aside, when does online play last for more than a few days?  Personally, online play has never hooked me in for more than a few hours.  Fragging and machine-gunning people over and over again does get old; admit it.  And with it being the same gameplay mode also, this game gets older even faster.

No unlockables: It’s times like these when I want to blend two games together to make one; in this case Eliminate and Archetype.  Add a couple of unlockable weapons and armor and you have a game that has a considerable amount of replay value.  Atleast Eliminate lasted me about a week before I became bored; Archetype needs something to keep its user base playing.  For me, I don’t see myself playing this longer than I already have.

Once you strip down the game to its bare core and reveal it in its true form, you get a relatively smooth online FPS with one gameplay mode.  Poor animations add to the list along with the fact that replay value is limited, making for quite mediocre online play.  I have to commend the developers for creating a good-looking game with smooth online play; no disconnections and such, but the features of that online multiplayer are much too little.  Basically, for $2.99, you’re getting a few hours of enjoyment and nothing more.  Judge for yourselves, but from my experience, this won’t last you very long.

Update: Archetype has been updated with one more gameplay mode and one more level, along with gyroscopic controls and a various number of bug fixes and such.  Because of that, the rating has been bumped from a ‘Worth A Look’ to a ‘Buy’.

Archetype was developed by Villain, and I played through version 1.0.5 on my iPhone 4.  The price is $2.99.




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