FragPunk, we tried a tactical shooter where there are no rules.

FragPunk, we tried a tactical shooter where there are no rules.

Bad Guitar Studio introduced FragPunk during the Xbox Summer Event: we tried out a hero-based tactical shooter where there are no rules.

There is a particular growth in video games, tactical shooters based on “heroes”, around which an obvious paradox revolves: if we have tended to repeat for years that this is a sector saturated with publications and in which it is very complicated to succeed, on the other hand, publishers and studios are increasingly showing themselves willing to try their luck. How so? Well, because despite the sensations, it is clear that a huge market and demand have survived, as evidenced by the enormous installed base of Valorant, the great void created by the collapse of Overwatch or the eternal boom of similar inspirations such as those of League of Legends and Counter-Strike.

Between Marvel Rivals and Concord from PlayStation Studios and Riot Games who also decided for the first time to attack the world of consoles, instead appeared the most different and interesting offering from the parts of Bad Guitar Studio, a company in the NetEase team that aims to completely overturn the rules we have become accustomed to over the years by adopting a structure that is nothing short of crazy. In recent days We tried FragPunka team-based tactical shooter where players can change every rule – even the basic ones – at the start of a round.

You decide the rules.

At its core, FragPunk appears on paper as Classic 5v5 tactical shooter Where all members of the other team must be killed or the bomb – here called a Converter – must be placed in one of the two available locations to achieve victory, in a way not unlike what happens in Valorant.

At first glance, FragPunk is no different from other tactical shooters, but then Shard Cards appears.
At first glance, FragPunk is no different from other tactical shooters, but then Shard Cards appears.

However, the central element of Bad Guitar Studio’s work lies in A series of special cards called Shard Cards.At the beginning of each round, team members are free to vote to activate one or more cards of their choice, and spend a certain number of resources, to generate Influences that ultimately profoundly modify or completely overturn the rules of the genre. reference.

To understand the depth and impact of Shard cards, we can also start right away with the craziest example: There’s a card – obviously very expensive to activate – that allows the defending team to pick it up from the ground and re-place it virtually anywhere on the map in “factory” zones, literally places where a bomb can be placed, practically revolutionizing the design of the scenario itself in real time. Those with experience in the genre will know that plant zones are usually designed to offer balanced engagements… but the guys at Bad Guitar decided to Throw your balance out the window and have a good time.So it is possible to collect points A and B and perhaps put them in the corner, making it very difficult for the attackers to achieve a traditional victory.

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At launch there will be 73 different cards.
At launch there will be 73 different cards.

Another example is the Big Head card, which when activated causes the heads of all opposing players to swell disproportionately much like the tricks used in historical video games like GoldenEye 007, making it very easy to score headshots. There is also no shortage of complex variants like Death’s Embrace: in this case, when an enemy drops below 50% health, the Grim Reaper appears behind them and a few moments later unleashes a slash with his scythe, instantly finishing them off as they come within range and are not fast enough to get out of the way. Since Shard Card decks are the heart of the experience, We conclude with a list of some of the cards we had the opportunity to try out out of a total of 73 cards. Which will be available at launch.

  • Lumiprint: Enemies leave glowing trails on the ground, just like the custom feature found in Call of Duty.
  • Roger, Roger: The team starts the match with two support bots.
  • Medical Error: Opposing players cannot recover life points.
  • Healing Shot: You can shoot your teammates to heal them.
  • Superfly: Gets a double jump.
  • Eye of the Harvester: After the plant all enemies are revealed through walls.
  • Free for All: All weapons in the store become free.
As you may have noticed, cards have effects on the environment, rules, weapons, and abilities.
As you may have noticed, cards have effects on the environment, rules, weapons, and abilities.
  • Bio-Warrior: Upon death, you are reborn once as a zombie, similar to “Infection Mode”.
  • Heavy rain: The flood begins and submerges some areas, making movement slower.
  • Free Placement: Attackers can plant the transformer (bomb) anywhere they want, but it takes 40 seconds longer to detonate.
  • Fog Ghosts: The map is surrounded by fog, and enemies are attacked by ghosts that appear on the map.
  • Psychic Link: During the game, the ability to see from the perspective of a random enemy can be activated.
  • Quick Support: You can teleport next to your companion.
  • Frozen Wasteland: The map is frozen and it becomes possible to slide and attack.
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Is the show still a classic?

Given the chaotic, frantic, and inherently unbalanced nature of the experience, it’s very difficult for FragPunk to establish itself as a pretender to the throne of traditional esports-style tactical shooters, yet it keeps the core structure of the genre virtually unchanged. Beyond the Shard cards, the games follow Classic 5v5 structure Within the confines of the embroidered maps – at least initially – around it. Two stations for placing the transformeris set to unfold in a series of rounds in which attackers and defenders periodically swap roles.

The design of the Lancers, i.e. the heroes, is also clear.
The design of the Lancers, i.e. the heroes, is also clear.

FragPunk is also a shooter champion.So the rounds start with choosing a specific one. Lancer Which brings a series of unique skills to the table, and even then, a papyrus should be written to review what each of them has to offer. We can define Lancers as variants on steroids of the Agents of Valorant, not only because their available skill sets share several points in common with the competition, but because they accurately embody the extremism one would expect from a crazy context like this title by Bad Guitar Studio.

Example? Those familiar with Riot Games’ shooter will notice the similarities between Yoru and Zephyr, with the latter certainly looking more extreme: the Midnight Ramble ability allows for partial invisibility, which becomes complete within the area created by the Fade Away skill, allowing him to maintain this state indefinitely; furthermore, with Get Back, he can place a knife in another dimension, then use it again at will to teleport to that specific point. Between smoke walls, physical barriers, scouting tools, and healing skills, Therefore, the tools available will never be revolutionary.But one should not forget that they move in coordination with Shard cards.

The weapon shop has much more value in light of the cards.
The weapon shop has much more value in light of the cards.

About this, We should not forget the close connection between cards and the store as well.: If the tendency in traditional experiences is to get the most powerful weapons or those with the greatest skill as quickly as possible, here you should always take active upgrades into account. If the heads of enemies are inflated like hot air balloons, it is clear that a simple pistol can turn into a devastating option, and the same applies to the series of possible variants, such as for example the LMG magazines that increase dramatically, in fact giving more meaning even to the least popular choices among players.

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First impressions

Despite the limited time available, we got a very accurate idea of ​​the Bad Guitar Studio project: the developers, who have already shown among other things Great technical knowledge In running a product of this type, they aim to undermine the strict rules of tactical shooters to completely shuffle the cards on the table, engaging in the madness and unpredictability of the formula. The roots of the gameplay are so deep that FragPunk would be more than satisfying even if it chose a “pure” path, without including a paradigm shift like that of Shard cards.

But no: the choice to embroider FragPunk around madness gives it a very specific identity that has managed to strongly differentiate itself from the competition, whose specific weight remains much higher even in terms of seniority alone. It is now clear that even the largest niches in video games provide the space necessary for a few competitors to succeed, and it is highly unlikely that the latest addition to the party will be able to take over the house. On the other hand, Xbox has welcomed under its wing a very promising experience – which, by the way, works great even with a controller – that will ultimately further diversify its ecosystem.

FragPunk is a crazy cocktail that starts with the classic foundations of tactical team shooters and then completely upends the recipe with a series of explosive ingredients, most notably Shard cards. Before each round, players can use these special cards to revolutionize the experience, putting “legal cheats” on the table and even more exaggerated variations with the aim of making the classic 5v5 formula even more unpredictable. By its very nature, it doesn’t care at all about balance, it’s a shooter that aims to have fun above all else: in addition to having all the qualifications to do a good job, it’s one of the strongest alpha products we’ve tried.

certainty

  • Shard cards are insane to say the least.
  • Good lancer design
  • The technical and gameplay section is flawless.
  • It could become the craziest sport in the world.

doubts

  • How much space is available for a new title of this type?
  • Madness and tactics can conflict.

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