My ride is already pimped, dammit!
I’ve already talked a bit about the different vehicles available in the multiplayer beta, but perhaps it's time to have a closer look. You see, the beta isn’t just home to the usual array of cars, trucks and minis – there’s a wide range of vehicles on hand, including boats, hovercrafts and tanks.
Each vehicle handles a little differently and can be filled with more than a single player, though the exact number is dependant on the vehicle itself. The military Hummers in the Korean base? Those things are slow to accelerate at first, but can reach a decent top speed and can carry a team of four players. A great addition is that players can swap easily between seats and put more experienced drivers at the helm.
Each car or truck also comes with a horn and headlights, which are a simple addition but great for signalling to team-mates if you have an extra seat in your car.
Driving itself is pretty easy, with a speed boost and handbrake button and a choice of two views – third person or first. I also take it as an enormous plus point that players can climb on top of vehicles and let themselves be carried like that – I hate it in a game where just brushing against even a stationary car will count as being run over.
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However, there are still some minor issues with vehicles despite the plus points. You see, in the first person view it’s often very difficult to see a damn thing thanks to mucky windows and the frame of the car. It's possible to switch to a third person driving mode, which is a lot better than the driving in Far Cry
was and makes certain vehicles a lot more easy to handle. The complex physics models of the vehicles also means it's possible to jump out and shoot out the dirty windows if they really bother you - something I admit I had to do once or twice.
The vehicle physics are unfortunately a little flawed too, which is disappointing as it was one of the main gameplay elements I had been looking forward to. Until I got hands-on with the beta, my mind had been filled with the idea of shooting out the tyres of passing cars from a hiding place by the roadside. Although it would have been amazing to set up ambushes in this way, the simple fact is that the game isn’t balanced in a way which makes that possible.
I experimented for a while with a series of weapons and cars and quickly found that it took four, point blank shots from the pistol to puncture a single tire on even the most rickety of the trucks. Even two or three controlled bursts from a submachine gun wasn’t quite enough to take out the tires of some cars, which makes the fact that they can be shot out pretty redundant.
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Even more disappointing was that even though you could fit four men in a car, none of them could lean out of the windows and fire at any point.
Boats and hovercraft were a little better balanced, with players able to take command of mounted machine guns on some of the speed boats and send forth a few waves of lead. Being able to look down the iron sights of the mounted gun, just as players can do with normal weapons, was appreciated for more than just the beautiful depth of field effect it gives players.
However, it still proved to be the case that the physics for the waterborne vehicles were a bit wonky. I didn’t have any trouble with the speedboats themselves, but the hovercrafts would often tip over uncontrollably if you tried to take them over land.
I never managed to get a chance to drive a tank, though you can be sure that I’ll keep trying. From what I did see however didn’t give me any worries and I was able to use the speed mode to get up on top of moving tanks on a few occasions and get a feel for them. My impressions lead me to the conclusion that it was the faster vehicles which had the more problematic physics.