Review | Crasher
Format: PC | Genre: Multiplayer racer | Publisher: Mindscape | Developer: Punchers Impact | Release date: 28/01/2011 | Price: £11.99
Fast vehicles with guns tearing around killing each other. It sounds fun but what does Greg Giddens make of CRASHER?
CRASHER’S ATTEMPT to build on the class based multiplayer genre is almost a complete failure. Despite the solid premise, the execution is sloppy, buggy, and underwhelming. All resulting in short play sessions where you have minimal fun and bring little, if anything, away from it.
The main culprit is certainly the lack of content. Two modes are available, a capture point variant and team deathmatch. Both rely heavily on team work, and rightly so with the class based system, but a generic look and feel about the maps and the whole experience leads to tedium and, its twin sister, boredom. You can use the matchmaking system or choose to join a game from a list of servers but due to a limited number of active players, finding a game can be troublesome. Once in a lobby it’s time to choose your vehicle from a selection of 15 spread across the familiar classes, such as healer, tank, ranged etc. before joining the fray.
Each vehicle has its own selection of weapons and abilities suited to its class, prompting a wide range of tactics to approaching each battle. Unfortunately, in practice using these class specific abilities lack the impact or distinction it’s geared up towards. More often than not you’ll find ranged vehicles drawn into close combat and tanks failing to draw the opponent’s attention. This is through no fault of the player and more to do with the design. Fast movement speed means navigating the maps quickly but also closing the gaps between players too easy. And with everyone bundled together, the weaker classes are almost always picked off first before the stronger ones can perform their role.
However, it’s in the vehicle selection and customisation where a spark of excellence can be found that helps to combat the otherwise awful amount of content. As you rack up the kills and wins, you’re awarded experience which eventually unlocks modules and situational abilities for you to attach to your vehicle. The amount of unlocks available is impressive and certainly gives you an edge on the battlefield, but experience is slow to build and the aforementioned problem with the limited player based lengthens the process even more.
If you do find a group of players ready to fight it out, you can expect to play deathmatch over 3 small arena maps, and capture point on one larger map. It’s a laughable amount of maps which all lack substantial design flare. The occasional jump and environment object adds distinction but it fails to impress. Littered across each map are power-ups for restoring energy, health, shields or improving movement and size, adding to the arcade and frantic feel, but despite its potential for enjoyment you’ll tire of the experience quickly. Bugs are also prevalent. Freeze-ups, sound cutting out, point allocation failing, wins or loses failing to end a match. Plenty of problems crop up to make the experience much more irritating.
Bringing vehicle combat to the class based multiplayer genre is a unique and interesting premise, severely let down by content, bad design chooses, and an uncommitted player base. However, it’s not without potential. The unlockable abilities are vast and greatly reward those willing to stick with it. With a few more maps and players the negativity could be completely reversed. But potential is nothing when unfulfilled and as it stands Crasher is a poor title.