Tag Archives: Crossout

Crossout Review (PS4)

Crossout is the latest in the free to play genre of vehicular battles published by Gaijin Entertainment. Much like War Thunder or Star Conflict, in essence you are customising a vehicle then taking it into various PvE or PvP modes that don’t last too long, where you only have one life to get as many kills as you can or complete simple objectives, before taking your rewards and moving on to the next. The essence of these games is the progression, the idea that with every match you are moving closer to a more powerful machine, until eventually you move on to end-game PvP where all the customisation in the world is open to you. Or of course you can simply pay to get there quicker.

Crossout’s unique selling point is just how far that customisation goes. Taking inspiration from Mad Max and perhaps even Vigilante 8, in this you take control of cars, trucks and even small tanks that appear to be cobbled together from scrap pieces of other vehicles. In your garage you can build up these vehicles piece by piece, rotating and painting each part and then bolting it on to create something as intimidating or ridiculous as you’d like. Somehow your creations rarely look like some sort of Minecraftian monstrosity, instead they all fall within a wider aesthetic of grime and rust that makes them look ‘right’ somehow.

It’s hard to overstate just how far the customisation can go. We’ve built tanks that are compact and hide each weapon effectively. We’ve also buillt trucks with all our guns on one side, then an arm sticking out to the other with a giant wall of metal and spikes on it. Of course all of this affects the handling and where your weapons can fire, but that’s part of the fun. Do you want tonnes of armour that might get in the way of your guns? Or do you want something hyper-mobile that can escape quickly? You can only add so many parts to your vehicle (this limit increases as you level up so you’re not too overwhelmed initially) but within that there’s plenty of scope.

Once you get into a game, it’s surprisingly strategic rather than the chaos you might expect. Your guns are aimed by the analog stick (or mouse on PC) and you can shoot individual parts of enemy vehicles. You could go for their wheels to disable them, go for their weapons to disarm them, or just go straight for the hull to take them out quickly. Often in matches you’ll find yourself spinning around with one wheel left and a single weapon, trying to work out what you can do to keep helping your team. If you want you can put explosive barrels on your truck, making it a dangerous proposition for enemies with close range weapons to attack you. Having your machine guns stripping shards of armour off your opponent is immensely satisfying and gives every single weapon in the game a huge amount of weight and impact.

Of course, this being a free to play game, microtransactions are always going to be a sore point. For the purpose of this review we were granted two founders packs, and it’s undeniable that they gave us a huge advantage in early matches. Everyone else had a truck with three machine guns on while we had a tank with a 30mm cannon and two solid machine guns. Pay-to-win is definitely a thing in this game, as in the lower brackets if you’ve spent money you simply will be more powerful. The longer you play, the less important this becomes, as everyone gets randomised loot from matches and will start finding the same things you paid for. That being said, if you want to get a lot out of this game you will be spending money. The grind is so slow, it’s hard to get much value out of the game for the first ten hours or so. Games get repetitive and you’ll be itching to get your hands on some more significant firepower sooner rather than later.

We don’t see the need to pay some money as a negative thing. If this game was £40 we’d be recommending it in a heartbeat. If you spend that kind of money on it you’ll be well placed to level up while having fun and feeling powerful, you can realistically get away with spending far less. This game is definitely fantastic value for money, just don’t expect it to be completely free-to-play and still get the same enjoyment out of it as others do.

Our only real complaint with the game is the graphics on console. We played this a long time ago in the PC alpha, and it looked phenomenal. On the consoles textures are bland, geometry is simple, and particle effects are dull and flat. While the vehicles have interesting (player made) designs, this simply isn’t a good looking game. You forget about that as soon as you really get into the game, but it’s a shame when the PC version can look so good.

In conclusion, this is a fantastic entry into the vehicle combat genre. If you like War Thunder, World of Tanks, or Star Conflict, you need to take a look at this. Thankfully it’s free-to-play so you can try it and get a long way into it without paying a penny, but if you want to get the most out of it, perhaps stump up a little cash for one of the starting packs.

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Crossout Hands On Preview

It’s difficult to write about Crossout without hyperbole. In a year that’s brought us Mad Max, Metal Gear Solid V, The Witcher 3, Until Dawn and Splatoon, this might still be the best thing we’ve played. Imagine The simple controls of War Thunder, the world of Mad Max, the building of Kerbal Space Programme and the procedural damage of Besieged and you’re only part way to imagining how good Crossout is. Oh and it’s going to be free. We’ve been playing the ‘Battle-Test’ (Alpha/Beta) of Crossout for a while and if they released it right now and slapped a £50 price tag on it we’d buy without question.

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The user experience is so good it puts nearly all other AAA titles to shame. You start in the main menu with the usual free-to-play options in front of you, you can see who’s online, join various types of games, or tinker with your vehicle, which sits front and center. The tinkering is incredibly immediate and uses Kerbal-esque control so you simply drag and drop parts around, taking new bits from your storage and attaching them wherever you want. At first it seemed restrictive when we saw we were building around the chassis of a pickup truck, but we quickly realised you can take that apart too, building a new vehicle up from small parts. If you want three wheels on one side and one on the other, try it. If you want to add guns on the side, top, and bottom of your car, do it. As soon as you’ve made a change you can take it for a test drive and rather than being taken to a loading screen, you simply drive out of the menu and into a small arena where you can see what the monstrosity you have created is capable of. Here you can drive around, take pot shots at another inert version of your car (seeing what’s vulnerable and what will break off) or set up some enemies to try out your skills. The handling is sublime and there’s a real sense of connection between your vehicle and the ground, something that is sorely missing in the majority of driving games. If you lose a wheel or some suspension you’re not out of it, you can still limp on with the handling affected proportionately. You have to worry about your centre of gravity and how wide your wheelbase is. You’re guns are usually on a swivel but will stop firing if they’re going to shoot through a part of your own car, this leads to some interesting conflicts about whether to put a gun in an exposed position to give you 360 degrees of targeting, or whether to cover them up a little and accept that your will have to be thinking about positioning all the time.

Once you’re happy with your vehicle you can lunge into an online game and see what your car is made of (scrap, mostly). The game types are fairly familiar to anyone who has played World of Tanks and you’re generally trying to capture a base or kill the opposing team (whichever happens first). Coming up against other people’s designs is absolutely thrilling and strategy is hugely important. Some people stick huge howitzer style cannons on their cars, which are massively powerful but also easy targets. Keep to their sides and focus down the gun and they’ll be defenceless. Others will focus on ramming and try to chase you down. Occasionally you’ll underestimate a wounded enemy who still has a working turret and be ripped to shreds from behind. The vehicles disintegrate into their constituent parts in a very satisfying way and the combat is always brutal, fast and entirely skill based.

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We’re very excited to see Crossout release and anyone who has ever carried a passing interesting in competitive gaming needs to at least give it a try.

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