Shattered Horizon

shatteredhorizon
What we liked:
- Zero-G gameplay
- Downright jaw dropping
- Outstanding NetCode
What we didn't like:
- Only 1 main weapon
- Only 4 maps
- Takes a powerful system to run on high
Rating
8.0
DEVELOPER: Futuremark   |   PUBLISHER: Futuremark   |   RELEASE: 11/04/2009

Look Ma, I am playing one of those 3DMark thingies!

Hello fellow PC gamers and welcome to another fantastic review! This time I am bringing you the debut game from FutureMark Studio’s, Shattered Horizon. Most of you won’t know who they are until I tell you their apart of the same company that brings us those amazing 3DMark simulations that test the performance of your computer with jaw dropping visuals and scope. Well now the hopes and dreams of PC gamers everywhere have come true, in Shattered Horizon you finally get to play in one of those sleek, amazing looking simulations, and it involves dudes in Moon Suits with rifles.

…I think I smell the greatest concept in the history of gaming!

Shattered Horizon is a Multiplayer shooter with a huge twist. The game takes place in space, which means you’ll find yourself fighting on mined out Asteroids, an abandoned space station and other classic space settings. The cool part of fighting in these locations is that it all takes place without the confines of gravity. Every level allows you to float, rocket, and twirl your way to victory as you orbit over or make your way through each of the four maps the game comes with.


I feel it’s my duty as a journalist to inform you that seeing the corpse of an astronaut spinning in space as a result of his jetpack not shutting off is easily one of the funniest things I have ever seen and it makes every kill you get that much more satisfying. But before you see bodies drift into the nether of space you have to get accustomed to the completely new play style that’s being introduced. You aren’t walking, so the conventional way that we know to move around in a shooter goes right out the window. Instead you will slowly learn your own style of using momentum and your rocket pack to make your way around. In addition to this new focus on flotation instead of walking, you have to learn to watch every angle; you can’t take comfort in a ceiling or floor, because half the time you don’t have those things. An enemy can float silently below you, unloading a clip into your jet pack and turning you into giblets on the wall.

With all this new gameplay thrown at you there is a bit of a learning curve as you get use to the way the game plays but once you have the basics down you’ll find yourself practicing and experimenting with the more advance techniques, like shutting down your suit so that you don’t show up on peoples radar allowing you to sneak up and stab a fool in the back.

Visually the game is double edge sword. If you have a beast of a system then you’re going to be enjoying one of the best looking games period. However if you’re sitting with a mid level system, or something that you play WoW on you are not going to get to enjoy any of the visual flair this game has. But what can you expect, this is by the same guys who do 3DMark, the game is only as pretty as your computer is powerful. The good news is that the game scales very well with your hardware, so while you may have to suffer a case of the uglies, the game will run as smooth as butter. Speaking of smoothness, the net code for this game is downright amazing, I decided since the European server had more people playing in it that I would join it and man was I impressed. Not only did my ping never go over 78 but I never had an ounce of lag even though I had 5 other computers connected to our network and I’m in freaking Canada!


Music and sound is handled in a really creative fashion. Because the game takes place in space, sound kind of doesn’t exist, but the team at Future Mark decided after testing it out, that the game needed sound. So instead of actually hearing someone, or gunfire, or an explosion, the space suit your in simulates it for you. The simulator does a fine job as well, the guns sound crisp and powerful and the music fits nicely in the environment.

However just like in life nothing is perfect and neither is Shattered Horizon. While most of these issues are not major because of the price tag of a mere 20 dollars, I would like to have seen more than one weapon in the game, there is a lot of potential for an interesting arsenal and I hope they expand it in the future. The same issue comes up with the number of maps, there are only four at launch but FutureMark has made it clear that the game will be getting a number of free content updates with maps and other goodies. The last issue is that the game takes a real beast to play at normal settings; I was more than shocked to see that my system specs were only reaching the recommended requirements, something that hasn’t happened in a long time.

Shattered Horizon is a great first title for FutureMark Studio and it has a lot of room to grow into a truly one of kind game that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. At its price the lack of variety doesn’t really hurt the title and their promise of a lot of additional content at no extra charge means that you’ll be getting your money’s worth.

Oh P.S. Hello to FM_UltraMarine, thanks for showing me around the game and killing me more times than I can count!