Gameguru Mania has posted up a hands-on preview of Bet on Soldier, the upcoming first-person shooter from Kylotonn Entertainment (Iron Storm makers) nad Digital Jesters. The preview is based on playing a beta build of the game which included 3 preview levels. We also grabbed 39 new screenshots from the beta build.
Bet on Soldier is a sci-fi first person shooter from developer Kylotonn Entertainment (Iron Storm makers) and publisher Digital Jesters. Eighty years before, a war was begun. Two federations have it down to a business and economic model - jobs, money, livelihoods are all dependant on the war. The war is fought by two federations trying to increase their profit from the war. To gain even more money, they've turned the war into the major form of entertainment by creating a TV show where the best soldiers fight against each other, and everyone can bet on the outcome of these fights.
You play the role of a mercenary and you fight in many huge battles across the world. If you're successful in battle - that is, if you kill off rival mercenaries - you get money, which you can use for purchase and upkeep weapons and armor, and recruit squad members to fight alongside you. At the end of these levels there is a boss. To win the prize money, you must defeat the boss within 60 seconds! Each boss has their own weaknesses and strengths and you will need to find them out quickly to reap the benefits.
As I hinted, the money is most important factor in the game. Everything has to be paid in Bet on Soldier. Before each mission you must equip yourself. You've got to choose your weapons, your armor and your mercenaries (computer-controlled teammates). The mercenaries can come in different classes. An engineer-class mercenary, for instance, not only will provide fire support but will also repair your armor automatically. You must also bet on the champions that you will face in the mission. Remember, you have three ways of winning money - the reward for completing a mission, the bets and the enemies you kill on the battleﬁeld. The best way to gain a lot of money is to take risky bets.
The management of money doesn't stop with the menus before the mission. There are no health or ammo pick ups through out the game to find on the ground and the money you pick up as a reward is used at Reload Stations found through out levels to purchase the items you need to survive - health, armor, ammo, grenades, etc. So, one of the biggest challenges is to manage your armor condition and ammo to go through the missions in one piece as you must to pay for everything. The better you play, the more cash you have, and the better equipment you can get for the next round.
The beta version I played included three levels - tutorial like level called "Patrol", "Alaska Special Forces" and "Hold The Point" levels. The game could be best described as a fast-paced arcade oriented action with intense and enjoyable fight. Yeah, the movement speed seemed to be pretty comfortable even for FPS veterans like me and the standard weapons are immediately familiar. You can carry one of each class of weapons - melee, short range (pistol, SMG, shotgun), medium/long range (assault rifles, sniper), heavy (rocket and grenade launchers, miniguns), and grenades (explosive grenades, gas grenades). As you progress through the game, you will be able to purchase weapon variants with scopes or grenade launchers. Also, you will be able to use Exoskeletons (armored walking machines), which are heavily armed and very resistant.
The AI is fairly OK. There's some interesting AI going on here, with enemies retreating behind shields, taking cover behind debris, etc. But the AI suffers from the usual problems that are seen in action games. Your teammates are decent as well, although I've noticed a few minor problems with the soldiers' AI. Actually, for most of the time they act like the AI teammates in Call Of Duty.
There is also the multiplayer mode which is based on the betting system just like the solo campaign. You will be able to play Bet on Soldier online with up to 32 players based on the single player mode. Two teams fight against each other to reach a money score limit. The way for a team to get money is when a player of that team takes a bet he can kill a player of the other team. Multiplayer will support up to 32 players, with 16 players on each side. I didn't get a chance to play this but if it works, it could be an absolutely huge hit!
Graphically, the game is very nice - look at screenshots! FYI, Bet on Soldier is developed on a in-house engine called "Kt engine" which is fully DirectX 9 compatible. There's a wide range of effects such as dynamic lightning and shadows, pixel shaders, vertex shaders, bump mapping. The game also utilizes the Novodex physics engine from Ageia. Obviously, I couldn't test this feature, since I don't have a PPU in my PC. But I would safely say that the physics in Bet On Soldier will be on a par with Half Life 2's at least.
The build I got to play was a beta version so a few problems did present themselves such as a couple of crashes to the desktop and really poor - yet unfinished sound effects - especially for weapons. Fortunately, they still have some time to polish it.
Overall, the game looks great and has a ton of potential. Hopefully, they won't manage to screw up this promising game even before it will be released :) Bet On Soldier is slated for a 9th September release!