Crossout Early Access Review

September 10, 2016 Written by

Anyone who has ever watched the Mad Max movies has thought to themselves:

“it would be cool to drive around in junk cars and shoot each other.” With Crossout, that dream is reality… Well, as much as it can be on a computer.

Created by the Russian developer Targem, Crossout is only in the beta stage and I will grade it as such. So some things will be forgiven as I expect that they will be fixed/improved upon release. Despite being in beta, this project shows some excellent potential to be a good vehicular combat game, and there has not been too many of those in recent memory.

Crossout takes place in a post-apocalyptic steampunk world where materials are scarce. Players have to earn reputation points by winning battles and improve on their rides by collecting materials. No holds barred, and that is made immediately clear. Most of the encounters have you killing each other plain and simple, but other modes require you to escort someone. Either way, shooting people and driving are required.
While the concept is simple, the finer details are not. Materials are gained in battle, and they are used to improve your cars. Some of the materials are next to useless, but others are very helpful.

Building a good ride won’t happen overnight, as the better parts aren't available until later stages. Building a positive reputation among groups is necessary, to advance as a builder and thus a driver. However, parts are not just available on the battlefield. There's a marketplace where you can buy and sell materials, and it's easy to navigate.

With some of the basics out of the way, let’s get to the nitty gritty.

The gameplay. Again, Crossout is in Beta, so it is not going to be perfect. Some errors are to be expected, but overall, I got to say I was pretty impressed. It's fairly polished already. The controls are a standard WASD/mouse, or you can use a controller. They're responsive and the default settings make sense. I didn’t have to tinker with anything, which was nice.

Graphics were more than fine, at least for a beta. While details are lacking, all of the main features are there. The maps accomplished the vibe that the Devs must have been going for, without looking unfinished. The sound though, could use improvement. Many have a very short loop time, so if you're driving through water, you hear a 3-second sound looped until you're out. This is something I would expect to be fixed, so let us not penalize Targem.

While the gameplay is smooth, I do have some issues with the “off the field” aspects. The garage mode (where you build and edit your car) is mostly intuitive, but there are some problems. How to go about it is a little unclear, and clunky. For example, say you want to remove a part from your car and put it back into storage, it's unclear how you do that. To me, it ended up a lost cause. The controls to edit your vehicle are also a little rough, but once you get used to it, it isn't horrible. Again, this is forgivable at this stage.

The online aspect is another area where I encountered problems. The real life players are few and far between, which is to be expected. But meeting up with players and arranging battles and convoys is also a littler cumbersome. The navigation is a little tougher to understand than it should be; not terrible, but improvements can be made. As the community grows it will probably be easier, but only time will tell.

Crossout definitely gets the basics right.

Gameplay is smooth and fun. Minor details like navigating the garage and online multiplayer will (hopefully) be fixed, as they continue to develop. Driving around shooting cars with mounted machine guns and other various weapons is a blast, but it also does do anything to separate this title from the rest of the vehicular demolition crowd.

6

The Verdict

Previous games (most recently Mad Max based off the movie) have ventured into such territory, and that could possibly be Crossout’s downfall. No matter how well it plays, it just isn’t different. Now with the beta being good, and given continued commitment from the Dev Team, Crossout does have the potential to be an absolute game changer upon release.

Navigating the garage and multiplayer would be my primary concern, and the graphics in the details should be improved as well. For the average person, I would say Crossout is worth checking out. While opinions may vary on whether it is a well-designed effort or not, I think most will agree: it's fun. For now, though it pains me, I have to give it an average score. I have played too many like it. It gets a pedestrian 6 out of 10.

BUT I am VERY ANXIOUS to see what it will look like fully finished. I expect the product will improve and my opinion will as well. Overall, good job Targem!

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Alex Mallardi

AJ Mallardi has been playing console and PC games since he was 4 years old, and he has a degree in Mass Communications. Originally from the Philadelphia area, and presently in Nashville, with stops in Seattle and York, Pennsylvania, his life has taken him quite a few places. Currently he works 4 jobs: warehouse work, bartender, journalist for House Of Hearts, and OP Noobs (duh!); with the aspirations of being on television one day.

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