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Trevor Wagner

Nexuiz PAX Preview

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Arena shooters used to be all the rage, but as of late, the genre has fallen aside. Long gone are the days of hooking up computers in a LAN for all-night sessions of Quake III fueled by Mountain Dew. However, Illfonic's newest title, Nexuiz, seeks to change this, by brining fast paced arena shooter action back to the forefront of gamers' minds.

I got to see (and play) Nexuiz this past weekend at PAX in Seattle, and had a chance to chat with some of the people working on the game. Talking with them, it seems that everyone working on the game wanted to appeal to the crowd that thinks that arena shooters shouldn't have died out, and make the game accessible to everyone, while giving enough features to appease the appetites of hardcore Quake/Unreal Tournament fans. I got to spend a few minutes with the game, and I have to say, I'm impressed. Back in the day I used to love Quake III, so playing Nexuiz was a breath of fresh air. The core mechanics are that of an arena shooter fast paced, explosive action mixed with heavy versus mode focus. Illfonic plans to incorporate leaderboards, clan support, and other similar community-based support all included in game.

Graphically, the game looks pretty good it's got an interesting character and world design, with a lot of smooth, shiny textures. Most of the detail tends to get ignored while you run around blowing up your opponents, but when you stop and look at it, the game looks pretty nice. The effects are fairly simple, but they're polished enough to not look outdated. The same goes with the audio footsteps, music, and gunshots are clearly heard, and sounds nice, but honestly, they're nothing mind-blowing. Though, to be fair, in an arena shooter, none of those things need to be of a super high fidelity. They sound nice enough, and they do their job.

The controls on the other hand feel fantastic, which, personally, is surprising to me, as arena based shooters only tend to work on PC. The only thing really worth noting is that the default stick sensitivity felt a bit slow, so turning quickly was a bit of an issue until it was adjusted.

Nexuiz seems to be shaping up into a really fun game, though as far as being the return of arena shooters, the jury's still out, as it's been quite a while since arena shooters were considered relevant. Hopefully, it'll revitalize the genre, but honestly, I'm still slightly skeptical that arena shooters in general still have what it takes to stand up to other big multiplayer titles. You can look for Nexuiz on XBLA later this year.

Author's Note: This is one of several post-PAX preview I'll be writing this week, letting you know how everything I had a chance to see was. Stay tuned to to see what else was at PAX, and how it was!

Trevor Wagner Writer

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