World War 3 preview (PC)

It was announced a while ago, but The Farm 51’s World War 3 was recently released to the masses through Steam’s early access program. Time for a look at what’s coming.

What we know

World War 3 is The Farm 51’s take on the tactical multiplayer FPS genre. They’re not new to the FPS genre and their extensive catalog of Painkiller titles certainly comes to mind in that respect, but this is their first online-oriented title – one that doesn’t even have any single player gameplay to speak of.

Despite the fictional title (though some world leaders seem totally interested at the moment), World War 3 prides itself on its military accuracy – ranging from weapons to gear to locations. You can fight for individual nations, and see the global war unfold on a larger world map – giving you a sense of what your team’s efforts mean in the grand scheme of things.

There are two playing modes in the game, though both emphasize cooperative multiplayer action. Warzone is the more action-oriented of the two and the mode most geared towards fans of experiences like Call of Duty’s Blackout. The other mode, Recon, encourages stealth and tactical play, as you try to capture targets behind enemy lines.

world war 3

What we saw

Prior to the early access launch, The Farm 51 has already brought a playable version of the game to Germany during Gamescom. Perhaps it was because of the fact that this was the audience’s first chance to go hands on with the game, but they certainly had plenty of people line up for a turn. We beat the crowds by showing up during the trade-only day, and recently also joined in on the early access version of the game. While the (Warzone) demo at Gamescom was restricted to a single scenario, the early access build allows access to a far larger chunk of the game (and is of course constantly being expanded and developed on – more on that later).

What we thought

The demo at Gamescom showed us a game with incredible potential, especially because of the grander scheme that acts as an overlay across individual battles. I’ve like that concept ever since the Command and Conquer days, and to see it applied to a military shooter is great. Our main questions were how that would all translate to the middle and long term, but the early access version raised entirely different questions instead.

world war 3b

While many players reported issues that included the game not even going past the loading screen, our issues were mainly due to connectivity troubles – not connecting to an active session, randomly dropping out of one or laggy performance while playing. For a game that’s centered entirely around the multiplayer experience, this is a game-breaking situation. Luckily, The Farm 51 seems to be aware, and is currently scrambling to turn things around with updates and patches that should at least improve the connectivity issues.

Looking beyond those issues (because yes, we did manage to get a few games in), World War appears to still be a very promising multiplayer shooter that mixes infantry and vehicle-based gameplay. However, it’s also still a little rough around the edges even if you disregard the server issues for a minute. The sound feels relatively bare bones (with very similar sounding weapons) and movement could be smoother as well.

The development team has stated that they’re keen on using community feedback for the development of the game though, which might explain why some of the gameplay features lack a certain amount of polish. Community feedback isn’t likely to evolve beyond “I have connectivity issues!” until that is fixed though, so let’s hope the team can move past these launch troubles quickly and show us their actual vision for the game like we experienced it at Gamescom.

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