First person shooters have been a little lackluster lately and with the next generation consoles on the way, PC really has to pick up the tempo and come up with some unique gaming for its tried and tested genres to hold them off. Bet on Soldier could be one of these. Kylotonn is the developer behind this unique game which combines gambling and sport with the first person shooter genre. We recently went hands on with a build of the game and came away impressed.
The story behind the game is that a mega corporation controls the world and has setup a bloodsport tournament where the inhabitants bet on who will win and the combatants fight each other. The build we have doesn't focus too much on the storyline although from what we can tell it will have progression through tougher leagues and bigger stakes making it somewhat like Unreal Tournament.
The game is played from a first person perspective but this is probably the only thing it has in common with most FPS's. The game's main focus is around cash as you would expect. In keeping with the FPS theme, you buy guns, armor and secondary weapons before the battle. This is crucial to victory as what you can carry is regulated. Only one primary and one secondary and you really have to manage your character well to get the best weapons.
Before each match you choose your team mates as well as the mercenaries you will take on. Depending on who you choose, determines the wager as each character is ranked in terms of difficulty. Although you don't control them to any extent, for the most part you're with a squadron of troopers trying to win the bet and match. They also get to choose their own mercenaries so the aim is to get through the infantry and take the boss out to win the match. The matches are short and sharp and it makes for a nice change from the traditional multiplayer games like UT.
The build we have offers a lot of money to play around with so we could use some of the more advanced weaponry straight away. We envisage in the final game that the powerful weapons will become reward for consistency and it will be interesting to see how this is played out and regulated online, one of the key core components of the game. What you choose greatly affects the game and the difficulty level is also affected offering a great deal of replay value to the game.
The build has three levels unlocked which show the various environments the game will take place in such as snow an industrial area and a mining complex. The mining level also displays the variety of action in the game with mechanized warriors featuring and thus changing the tactics required. This is because in the single player game one death equals game over which makes an interesting change when compared to games in this style. The game is a bit like Counter-Strike in that it rewards kills with money and you lose money when you die and have to start again with none.
The game visually is very impressive and it's easy to see Kylotton was also responsible for the under rated Ironstorm, with its gritty industrial world dominating the environments, and some of the best graphics technologies in place. The game will ship with native Athlon 64 support as well as support for the new physics chip from AGEIA. However even without the chipset (we didn't have one available during testing) the physics and animations of the game are extremely impressive and Kylotonn have obviously put effort into this side of the game. It doesn't affect the game too much other then the destructible objects in the game
Bet on Soldier is a game that should add life to the mundane first person shooter genre with its unique take on tournaments with gambling. Being able to back yourself with money online (virtual money that is) could be a really interesting concept and become the next big online feature.