By Zatheera 25 April 2018
*This game is currently under a limited non-disclosure agreement, which allows discussion about the game but no screenshots or videos.*
For those that love Gearbox Games it’s exciting to discover that they’re working on their own PVP based product with deck building elements. I myself am a fan of many of their amazing products-particularly the Borderlands franchise – so I was quite intrigued when I was given the opportunity to take part in their playtest.
Now, I can see how that premise might sound strange at first. “A pvp shooter with collectible cards and deck building? How on Earth would that work?” But it makes sense once you actually get a chance to see it in action.
In Gearbox Games’ new deathmatch Free to Play 1v1 game the player is given skills and weapon cards when they win ranked matches. These cards give the player the opportunity to better tailor their character to their playstyle in a way quite differently from most pvp games out there which typically give you pre-created characters to choose from. If you receive duplicates of cards you already possess, the card levels up, which increases the damage output of the ability or weapon that it represents.
You start with five starting cards, which consist of two weapons and three abilities.
The starting cards I was given were Rocket, Shotgun, Air Jump, Meteor and Phase Reverse.
The Rocket ability is a bit self explanatory but it happens to include rocket jumping. Shotgun being your run of the mill close combat gun with low accuracy. Air Jump allows you to double jump to get to those hard to reach places. Meteor defines itself as being a heavy volley of drunk rockets (rockets that go in various directions) and then Phase Reverse which gives you an ability to rewind time to bring you back to a previous position and health level. (Sound familiar, Overwatch Tracer players?)
Once you earn more than your first basic pack, you can go into the Dojo to configure your inputs and get acquainted with your weapon and ability cards so you can try out new things in your next match. I personally prefer having Phase Reverse as I both love being able to dip in and out of a fight, but I’ve also got the terrible tendency of being oblivious to the occasional gaps in the flooring that send you plummeting to your demise on some maps. (Whoops!)
There are a few interesting features within the game, such as emotes, the ability to directly challenge your friends to duels and the Hangout tab, where you can watch other people’s games, observe the queue and chat with other players while you wait. There’s a handy Collections tab where you can check out your profile and all the cards you’ve accumulated, which has a few sorting functions that I greatly appreciated (Rarity, Level, or Alphabetical), which would really come in handy for larger collections.
Of course, we can’t forget the Loot boxes, which is a game feature that have come under much scrutiny in the gaming world as of late overall, but until the game launches we will have to withhold our opinion on them. I suspect Gearbox will balance them just fine, but at the moment I can’t give much input since the Beta gives us unlimited keys.
I’ll admit that I went in expecting it to be based on the Borderlands world, or some other popular Gearbox franchise. Personally, I thought the concept would suit a Psycho Arena, or something else along those lines. It turned out not to be the case at all and it is in a world setting entirely of its own, at least, it seems so from what I can glance from the short matches. The colour pallet seems darker as well. So that is something to keep in mind for those of you that want to give this game a go, which you are able to do if you sign up for the Beta test here: http://www.project1v1.com/ .
Just remember that the game is currently in BETA and the player pool isn’t that large, which means the matchmaking system isn’t ideal at the moment, and I can attest to this after having my face used to mop the floor a few games in a row. Of course, once the game gains a larger player base and is nearer to launch, we should be pretty safe to assume that the matchmaking system will balance out. Because it’s a 1v1 system, it’s also difficult to catch up once your opponent has gained any significant lead. Unless you’re quick to adapt to their playstyle and/or learn from your mistakes and dominate them before the end of the match.
At the moment it is only available through Steam and that the current recommended specs are:
- Dual-Core Intel or AMD processor, 1.5 Ghz or faster.
- NVIDIA GeForce 470 GTX or AMD Radeon 6870 series card or higher
- 2 GB RAM
1v1 games aren’t exactly my cup of tea, but the game was still fun to play and I did find myself really getting into trying to sneak around to catch my competitor unawares (slow movement is silent, but running is audible). Anyone that would know me is aware that I’m not a 1v1 pvp type of Gal: I like pvp in group settings, where I can either run support or sabotage (I either play Support or Jungle in League of Legends and either Mercy or Tracer in Overwatch). Regardless, I still found it quite fun and I can definitely see the appeal for more competitive individuals than I or those that merely want a real challenge. I’m quite interested in seeing how the game will develop. The devs seem attentive to their test player base on the forums and it has the potential to turn into something pretty special.
Whatever you decide to do, have fun gaming and good luck.