With a sea of games to try out and explore, there was one game which I was keen to play as soon as possible at Gamescom this year, and that was DONTNOD Eleven’s BattleCerw: Space Pirates. Second on my list, I couldn’t wait to head on over to the French stands and try my hand at the new game, but had I over-hyped myself?
A quick bit of history. DONTNOD Eleven, while a part of DONTNOD Entertainment, is a completely new studio completely separate from the developers who made Remember Me, Life is Strange, and the upcoming game Vampyr. BattleCrew: Space Pirates is the debut game from this new studio, which in essence is a competitive side-scrolling platform multiplayer shooter.
So far DONTNOD hasn’t failed me yet, so I’ll admit I went into the demo with rose tinted glasses. That being said, while thoroughly enjoyable, BattleCrew: Space Pirates is certainly an acquired taste.
Jumping straight into the relatively small booth wedged between many other games in the French section of Gamescom I was briefed about the game with a short demonstration which explained each of the characters skill sets and moves. After this, myself, along with three other journalists were tossed into a game where communication is the key.
BattleCrew: Space Pirates, as I mentioned, is a side-scrolling multiplayer shooter/brawler. It offers a wide range of characters each with their own skills, some move quicker than others, others have more powerful attacks, others have more range with their weapons. In a nutshell, the characters in BattleCrew: Space Pirates are not too dissimilar to those found in MOBAs. You’ve got your main attack, a special move, and an ultimate, and when timed right and faced against the right characters, you can unleash some devastating attacks.
We were also shown two different game modes, one was a simple Team Deathmatch mode, the other – which we played through the most – was a Gold Rush game where teams were required to steal gold from their enemies pots, and take it back to their bases.
This game mode was indeed the most enjoyable, especially during the first level we played as there was no real need for teamwork, all you had to do was mash the “X” button to steal gold, then run like mad back to your home base. The next level however was a little more complex, as in order to return to base, you needed another player to stand upon a button in order to turn off the lasers blocking your way.
As the helpful soul I am, I found myself essentially becoming the gate keeper as I waited around our entrance to let my gold smuggling team mates through safely. However, when I decided to get in on the action, due to a slight language barrier I struggled to actually get my own gold in the pot. Of course, when playing this game outside of a Con environment I’d likely be playing with friends so this issue wouldn’t necessarily be a problem.
BattleCrew: Space Pirates is definitely an interesting game that blends aspects from various game types and genres into one. You’ve got the MOBA-style characters, the Awesomenauts-style gameplay, and brightly-coloured cyber-punk style visuals and it’s definitely an enjoyable game, especially if you’re a fan of fast-paced team-driven action.
I feel that with more time with the game, and the ability to try out each of the different characters (I was limited to the character tied to my station), I’d likely find my groove and get more enjoyment out of the game, especially when playing with friends. I must admit though, I did come away from the demo with a slight feeling of disappointment, as I had high hopes for something more and game seemed to have so much more to offer, but there’s only so much you can squeeze into a 30-minute demo.
It is definitely early days, as the game is set to launch into Early Access giving players an opportunity to not only try out the game, but also offer feedback to help DONTNOD Eleven shape the game into something fantastic. There’s potential here, for sure.