Caliber preview (PC)

Something a little different from their “World of” series, Wargaming recently announced and showed off Caliber at Gamescom. Time for a closer look.

What we know

A joint project by Wargaming and 1C Game Studios, Caliber is a 3rd person military shooter with a mature theme. It’s team-based, and tactics play a big role in how you play the game. A team is comprised of four operatives based on familiar roles within the genre: assault, support (heavy fire), medic and sniper, each with an important role to play. Cooperation is essential in the game, which doesn’t focus on quick trigger responses as much as regular shooters do, but instead relies on positioning and communication.

Besides online PVP support, Caliber also features PVE missions in its “Spec Ops” mode, which is a more scenario-driven way to play the game. The game features a selection of special forces outfits based on their real life equivalents – including a Polish GROM unit and teams from Germany and the US (Navy SEALS).

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It follows the core Wargaming philosophy of providing a free-to-play experience to gamers, and its release date is yet to be announced. The game was previously announced/tested in Russia, but had its western reveal during Gamescom.

What we saw

We met with Wargaming during Gamescom, where we got an introduction on the game from Alex Morozov. After covering the basics we jumped into an early build of the game, joining forces with three teammates who weren’t physically in Germany but playing from the developer’s offices in Moscow. The demo was of a PVE mission, taking place indoors.

What we thought

It was impressive to see our experienced Moscow-based teammates tear through the opposing forces through cooperation. When our character fell in battle, others provided cover as the medic patched us up again. The scenario was relatively short, but it showcased how the core mechanics in Caliber work as long as all team members know their roles and act accordingly.

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The demo also made it clear that Caliber is a slower paced game than similar team-based shooters you might compare it too – a sign of the more realistic approach that Wargaming is taking with this one. Obviously it’s hard to not compare a game like Caliber with Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon series or older games like Spec Ops as well, which is bound to happen when players go hands on with Caliber after it’s formally launched.

Visually, Caliber’s a step behind the likes of Ubisoft’s recent team-based shooters. From the amount of visual detail to the on-screen effects and the flashy scenarios, the difference is clear. Caliber is a game that focuses on the basics and hopes to build from there with strong team-oriented gameplay, and that there’s a market for that is something we’ve seen in how long Counterstrike has remained popular. Caliber is also grounded in realism, and we’ve seen the ArmA franchise do very well with that.

In today’s marketplace, however, the competition is stiff, but Wargaming does have an important ace up its sleeve – as mentioned, Caliber is going to be free-to-play, giving gamers a free alternative to the AAA pricing and subscription-based alternatives out there. Is the gameplay going to provide enough of a hook for them to try it out though? We’ll see when the game launches, but something that sits in between Ghost Recon and ArmA certainly has us interested.

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