There have been quite a few online multiplayer action games coming out recently, and gamers can’t possibly have enough time to try all of them out. In that case, it can become more of a regional thing, depending on what other people around you are playing and which title gives you better latency. If current titles are not to your liking, yet you’re an action game fan, then maybe GunZ 2 can draw you in with its style and flair, albeit with a hint of jankiness that was characteristic of the game that preceded it.
GunZ 2: The Second Duel is the sequel to GunZ: The Duel, released by Korean developer Maiet Entertainment on Steam for Early Access. For those who have played GunZ, they know that it felt beta for a very long time anyway, so they should be used to playing this one in this stage. It’s one of those Korean online games that looks and feels half-done, and yet has a certain charm that keeps it from being a must-not-play.
This game took almost 4 years since its announcement back in 2010 to reach public beta, going through a series of closed beta stages to get ready. It does make use of their own engine though (Realspace v3), so at least there’s an excuse for such a long development cycle. Even now, it’s still in beta, so don’t expect it to be perfect, but making use of a better engine is crucial here due to the previous game giving birth to something unintended.
In the first GunZ, there was a thing called K-style (Korean style), which was a way of playing by exploiting flaws in the game engine to cancel moves and chain into more moves for devastating effect. It did involve a good bit of skill to use, but also made the game less accommodating to beginners and was initially against terms and conditions due to being exploits, but it has since seeped so deep into the culture of the game that Maiet made effort to incorporate a good bit of K-style into this sequel, although different from the first game.
But what really made the first game such a waste was due to the flawed nature of its engine, it was easily hackable. The North American version, published and maintained by ijji, was so plagued by hackers that it eventually killed the game for the most part. If there’s anything that quickly kills an online multiplayer game, it’s the availability of hacks, so GunZ 2 better be more secure. It does seem that this game engine has less of the holes that the first game had, but it’s still not entirely airtight. This becomes obvious when you play a few matches and notice how everyone moves.
For starters, the movement in GunZ 2 is a bit clunkier than in the first game, most likely to differentiate itself from the K-style heavy predecessor. You can still do air dashes, wall runs, and other tricky stuff to either evade gunfire and close in, although it’s much slower than before and there are no rolls and somersaults that made spray-and-pray quite easy. There are also four separate character classes, each with their own strengths and suits various playing styles; there’s a sniper, an assassin, a gunslinger, and a shield trooper.
Visual presentation is quite weak though, which is typical of games like this. The characters do look okay in a generic Korean MMO way, with cool-looking costumes and such but a rough-around-the-edges modeling. The user interface though violates several design laws, including unreadable description text and cluttered menu layout. It really looks like a typical mid-2000′s Korean MMO in the way it looks, like in other shooter games such as CrossFire. Too bad that these companies have not gotten over their usual way of doing things, even with their games being Greenlit on Steam.
Perhaps the biggest weakness in this game is the netcode. Get used to some 3-digit ping and players seemingly skipping their way through the levels. It may be playable anyway, but not without the other players looking like slideshows before they cut you down. This game took quite a bit of time to be developed, so there is little to no excuse valid for having such unsatisfactory netcode, especially with games like Loadout that have similar gameplay but not as many connection problems. It also depends on where you live, and this game may need more servers to smooth things out.
It’s only a matter of time until we see if hacks that plagued the first game will either come back or stay away. Hope that it’s the latter as this game has the potential of getting better as it progresses with its open beta. Here’s to hoping that Maiet Entertainment can improve their track record with this game.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 6/10