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Auto Assault Review (PC)

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating

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It's interesting that the game displays your distance, height, and hang-time when you make an outstanding jump, but it's merely a curiosity and not connected to the action in any way. How about a track with an extreme ramp or a half-pipe in it, where players score bonus points for spectacular stunts? Coupled with the traction effects, the physics that are already implemented, and maybe an exploding barrel or two, this would add some variety to the rather repetitive gameplay outside of tournaments.

As I mentioned earlier, the real tragedy is that the OCD has so few volunteers, because some of the things I describe could already be in game, were there only a viable way to reach them.

The Long Road to Ground Zero
I was disappointed to discover that, outside of the OCD, PvP is limited to a zone aimed at characters of level 60 and up. The zone is called Ground Zero because it contains the landing point of the alien vessel that kicked-off the mutant invasion. Ground Zero is available in both PvP and PvE versions which I assume players can switch between when they're not in combat. The PvP mirror has bases which can be captured and held by the different factions for associated combat bonuses.

Auto Assault Screenshot

From what I've heard, battles with other players are one of Auto Assault's strong points, but I'm afraid a lot of people will lose interest in the game long before getting anywhere near Ground Zero. Some claim to have leveled past 60 in around 100 hours of played time, if that's any consolation.

Custom Parts
Along with the loot that drops from mobs, some destructible items leave salvage that can be collected and crafted into weapons, armor, and other parts for your vehicles. The crafting system is substantial, allowing you to repair broken items and customize them with special gadgets.

Trading crafting materials and finished products with other players, however, can be quite a challenge. There is no central auction or email system, so the only way to make an exchange is to be in the same place at the same time. You can use the trade channel, but there is no way to link items so that others can see their stats.

Anyone Out There?
Community can make or break a MMORPG, and this may prove to be Auto Assault's greatest weakness. It's impossible to say how many people are playing, and it can take a while for a game like this to gain momentum, but the activity in the world is dismally low. Sometimes you forget that you have a chat window, or that you're playing a multiplayer game.

It could be that the game is too solo friendly, giving players little reason to form convoys or bond. It could also be that everyone is too spread out. I haven't come across a city that caters to players of all levels in my faction, and content is presented in a linear fashion until you hit Ground Zero, so you rarely run into other players that aren't approximately your level.

From what I gather humans are the most popular race, and the high-level zones might have a healthy population. Nevertheless, a world that feels nearly empty is anything but inviting to an up-and-coming biomek.

Auto Assault Screenshot

Bottom Line
Auto Assault has managed to adapt cars to the MMORPG formula quite effectively, with a very unique combat system and some delightful physics. It's casual fun that is well-suited to short, solo play sessions. On the downside, it could be said to follow the MMORPG formula a little too closely. A car game should be about more than simply leveling up and crafting slick upgrades for your ride, in hopes of someday reaching a PvP zone where things start to get interesting. It should also be about going faster, flying higher, and pulling off that legendary stunt that no one thought was possible, preferably without having to wait forever for other players. There's a refreshing mixture of pure fun and serious potential in Auto Assault, but as it stands, I see it struggling to hold people's attention long enough for them to get to the best parts.

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