I have never played paintball. With it being an “outdoor” activity and me being a gamer, to play it would mean leaving the safety of my sofa and venturing outside (heaven forbid). Maybe that’s what they were thinking when they made this game: bring Paintball to us, instead of us going to it.
Paintballing is a sport in which people make believe they are in the army; people who should probably never, ever be in the army. You are equipped with a gun (called a Marker), which fires paintballs instead of bullets. You then proceed to shoot said paintballs at your opponents. In all honesty, it seems rather fun, running around a course, hiding behind cover and hoping to god no one shoots you in the ‘delicate’ areas!
The idea of Greg Hastings Paintball 2 is to put you in the shoes of a Paintball combatant and his team. You start off by learning the basics of combat with none other than Mr Hastings himself. He will instruct you on how to control, shoot and make the most of the cover. He then passes you on to another instructor, who will take you through some of the finer points of the game. Once this has been done, you will then need to hire some teammates from a list of real players. At the start, you will only be able to select 2 teammates, as the first tournament is 3 vs 3. But, as you progress through the game, you will need to increase the size of your team (up to 10). As you win tournaments, you will earn money, unlock new items and attract new prospective teammates.
The gameplay itself is pretty standard and has very little in the way of variety. Each tournament requires you to win rounds in order to progress to the final. Win that, and a new tournament opens up, and that is about it. There are different types of tournament to play; Capture the Flag, Elimination, Point Capture, Assault and a few others, but nothing original. Of course there is multiplayer, which offers all of the modes of play. The problem with multiplayer is that there is no one online. I tried several times to join a game, or get a game going, but to no avail. I think this is one of the games biggest hurdles, as the single player just seems to be a training mode for multiplayer. If no one is buying the game, though, there is no one playing online. It’s a Catch 22 situation. If you do fancy the experience of multiplayer, then you can play an Exhibition match with Bots. You can customize the game to how you like it and then shoot paintballs to your heart’s content. There is also an option for split-screen, as well, so there is always that option.
The shooting also takes a little bit of getting used to. We are used to bullets firing in a straight line and hitting an opponent. But because paintballs weigh more, and are fired at a lower velocity, they are affected more by gravity. So, when you fire, the paintballs curve downwards. This can be good for hitting someone behind cover, but also means you have to retrain yourself in the ways of the FPS.
Another big problem with the game design is the layout of the screen. As with any other FPS, your Marker is placed off centre, on the left or right of the screen (you can switch from left to right at a click of a button). However, because of the size of your Paintball Dispenser, almost half of the screen is taken up by your Marker, obscuring your view.
The game also looks awful. I’m not kidding when I tell you that it looks more like a last gen game. Even though it isn’t a full priced release, it is still expensive compared to other PSN titles and, as such, should have a higher quality of shine to it.
The game also supports Move functionality, although I wouldn’t recommend it. I tried to play a few games using the Move controls, but ended up becoming frustrated. It is definitely best to stick with the controller for this one.
There are a few things that this game does get right. The level of customization in this game is huge. You can customize almost everything, from your Marker to your team logo. You can also individually customize your teammates and their equipment, too. The online and exhibition matches are open for you to mess about with as well.
Another good touch is the ability to make custom fields to play on. The game allows you to create your own little Paintball arena and then play it, either on your own or splitscreen (sadly, you cannot take these fields online). The game will also teach you the odd thing or two about the world of Paintballing. All of the equipment is based on real makes and models and the game also shows you interesting little facts about the sport while it’s loading. You will at least get a little education out of it.
Greg Hastings Paintball 2 is probably best played by people who have a deep love for the sport. If you are looking for just another FPS, there are far superior titles out there for you. The poor design of the game really brings it down, and even with such a deep level of customization, it will be hard for anyone who doesn’t like Paintballing to get anything out of this.
Review copy provided by publisher.