previews\ Sep 23, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Alliance of Valiant Arms - PC - Preview

When you are invited into a massively multiplayer online game (MMOG), you can never be certain just what is in store. Now advance that with the notion of missions (in addition to your standard array of deathmatch modes) in a modern warfare setting, and you begin to define what makes up Alliance of Valiant Arms.

To be absolutely fair, AVA (as it is known for short) is not an entirely new concept. Back in February of 2007, K2Network launched War Rock, a map-based war game that sported the same general concepts in that you fought on enclosed maps with objectives well defined. But AVA looks to up the ante just a touch.   

The idea is a simple one on the surface. Give players a nice selection of maps, give them three core builds to pick from (such as a sniper, a rifle man and point man) and then let them fight it out. The game has just entered closed beta, but GameZone was invited in for a media event a couple of days ago and found the server lag almost non-existent, the action fast-paced and the game’s graphics very well handled.

The game does not stray overly far from what one would expect of a shooter. You can shop for upgrades for your weapons, customize them to suit your build and some of the items will add buffs to your weapon. The weapon itself has seven attribute areas – damage, range, accuracy, stability, mobility, spray, and ammo. Now if you have gone down the path of sniper, you can buy a weapon, like the SV98, and then go into the customize mode to see what items might be available to buy to upgrade it. For example, you can buy a precision scope for 800 coins – this will add 5 to the damage, 3 to the range, 1 to the accuracy but -3 to stability.

Of course you can swap out weapons on the battlefield and if you die, you can change classes at the respawn. Thus it behooves players to plan ahead and buy weapons for every eventuality. You might start as a sniper but if your online team is all snipers, it might be a tough go if you are in the mission of escorting a tank through narrow streets. In order for that tank to run and stay functional, a player has to remain near it. You can also mount the top turret gun in the tank, but that makes you a sitting duck for a … well, a sniper.

You can also upgrade your armor, and even buy upgrades that allow you to carry more than one grenade into battle.

The game also keeps track of your online progress, showing how many wins you have been part of as well as tallying up your experience points en route to an officer ranking. The folks behind the title (ijji and REDDUCK) have big plans for the title, including hosting a tourney in November with the winner earning a trip to Korea to represent the U.S. in an international tourney.

The game modes were limited to just a few in the beta, but there were quite a number of players engaged on different maps.

During the course of the media event, the bullets were flying fast and furious and a nice range of the modes were shown off. There are even modes that won’t allow players to respawn and dive back into the fight if they are killed. Imagine the embarrassment of not knowing that, running forward to find the enemy and finding a group of them waiting around the bend; dying within 30 seconds of the fight is a bit humiliating.

Maps do help players with navigation and finding the enemy.

The graphics and sound are both very nicely done. The game was launched at 1920x1080 and the definition in the environments, as well as in the characters, was very nice.

AVA is not reinventing the FPS MPOG genre, but it is offering a solid gaming experience.

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