Eliminate Pro


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Eliminate Updated Hands-On Preview

Eliminate has changed a lot since last June when we first played it‘” and we’re talking about more than just the name. What began as a class-based shooter where you could pick up weapons scattered on the battlefield has evolved into a shooter where points determine everything. Your attributes, armor, and weapons are now bought and upgraded like in some of the best RPGs.

We played in a tournament with a few other games journalists at Ngmoco’s San Francisco headquarters the other day. Everyone started out with a level 1 character, whose default weapon is a dinky machine pistol. We jumped right into global multiplayer, which is one of the three gameplay modes alongside friend mode and offline bots.

We were quickly racking up kills in our four-person (maximum) matchups, laughing at the way they exploded credits, and cursing when it was our turn to die. A few controller mishaps did interrupt the fun, though. For example, we had to turn off the zoom feature when we kept accidentally activating it with taps on the center of the screen. Also, the default character starts out a bit slow, so we can see speed boosts being essential early on.

After we gained our first level, we immediately bought a slick blue-plasma shotgun, which was lousy at a distance but positively lethal up close. Aiming the shotgun was often tricky, and the drag-to-look controls will really make you wish you were playing with a mouse or physical joystick.

Completely separate from the core gameplay, Eliminate’s balance between energy, which is necessary to earn experience points, and credits, which are used to buy armor and weapons, will likely be perplexing to newcomers. With energy, you can play for a certain amount per day, earning experience and credits. At a certain point, you run out of energy and must either wait to recharge or pay ngmoco extra for an instant recharge. Otherwise, you can keep playing, but won’t earn experience.

Since you can trade energy for credits as well, you can choose to spend real money to buy the best guns, but at least you’ll first have to earn the experience points (XP) in battles to unlock and use them.

Eliminate poster

The pay-to-play microtransactions in Eliminate seem a bit hard to swallow, but if they’re truly optional, most players may not have to take advantage of them. Still, this is a competitive game, and players with the most credits and XP will dominate any match, even within ngmoco’s matchmaking system. The urge to pay a little extra to get ahead may be too strong to resist for some.

We’re not sure if Eliminate can get the balance just right between energy, experience, and credits, but we hope it does. We also like the idea of leveling up in an online first-person shooter, even if microtransactions are normally anathema to most gamers. And while the controls didn’t seem too spot-on in this last play session, we understand that the iPhone is still struggling to recreate full PC and console experiences. We’re hopeful that Eliminate can at least come close when it launches later this month.

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Ngmoco Reveals Eliminate Co-op Video, New Sites

Since its release, Ngmoco has constantly been updating their deathmatch first-person shooter Eliminate Pro with new maps, weapons, and armor. However, soon Arsenal Megacorp employees will team up to save their beloved facilities from falling into the “hands” of enemy droids. In the following video, Eliminate producer Chris Plummer discusses some of the features, such as customizable scenarios, bonus loot, and bosses. Check it out after the jump.

Also, the company has launched websites for their upcoming freemium titles, We Rule, a community management simulator, and Godfinger, a “god” game in the ilk of Pocket God. We look forward to trying out Ngmoco’s future offerings and will keep you updated with any news that comes our way.

Eliminate Pro Review

If you haven’t done so yet, stop what you’re doing and download Eliminate Pro. Okay, if you’re performing surgery, please finish up, and then download it. Eliminate Pro is a deathmatch-style first-person shooter with a pace that’s savagely fast, and a fun factor that grips you like a drug. If you’re not careful, Eliminate Pro will make a junkie out of you. And like any smart dealer, developer Ngmoco gives away just enough for free to make you want more.

This is a standard first-person deathmatch game, in which you and up to three other players are set in a small, dynamic level, and have to kill each other as many times as possible before either the time runs out or someone racks up 10 kills. You have the option to play offline against bots, but you won’t want to. Eliminate is best played online, where you’re speedily matched up with people of similar skill waiting to turn you into Swiss cheese. Online mode is also where you earn credits, which are necessary to level up and purchase or upgrade the stats of your weapons, armor, and items. It’s also where you just might become addicted.

Looks like someone wants to be fragged.

The gear-purchase and upgrade system is so deep and rewarding that, if you’re into this sort of thing, you’ll have nearly as much fun buying equipment and upgrading your stats as you will fragging opponents online. The reason it’s so rewarding is that once you upgrade, you can immediately see changes in your next match. Increase the damage of your plasma cannon, for instance, and you’ll notice opponents going down in fewer shots. Buy a new suit of armor, and you’ll feel almost invincible for a while. Eliminate Pro offers so many options to gear up and hand-craft your stats that it gives you a feeling of investment in your character that’s rare in videogames.

The controls are set up like most recent FPS games on the platform, and they’re great. You have a stick on the left that moves you forward, backward, and strafes left and right. Drag your thumb around the right side of the screen to look around. A jump button sits at the bottom center of the screen, where it’s not incredibly accessible during combat, but it gets the job done. Tapping the center of the screen zooms in, and tapping the upper right hand corner switches weapons. There’s also a handy auto-shoot feature that makes your weapon go off every time your crosshair points at a bad guy. We recommend turning this on.

The environments are very well-designed, too. Since only four players face off against each other at a time, it’s to everyone’s benefit that the maps are small enough that you’ll never spend too much time looking for someone to shoot. All of the maps have moving parts, like elevating platforms, spinning walls, or even a deadly trash compactor-like mechanism. Scattered throughout the levels are powerups that boost your speed, shield, health, or damage. When you make a kill, your fallen opponent spills out credits and health boosts that you or sneaky opponents can scoop up. The levels and graphics aren’t overly pretty, but with the intensity of action and the quick load times, that’s an easy issue to overlook.

Zoom to snipe.

Harder to overlook is the money you might invest in this game. Outside of the deathmatches, you have an energy bar that depletes with each match you play. A full energy bar will allow you roughly three matches, which take just a couple minutes apiece. Run out of energy, and you have three options. You can continue playing but without earning credits, you can wait several real-time hours for your bar to recharge on its own, or you can use power cells to recharge it manually. While you start out with 30 power cells, these will last you just long enough to become invested in the game. Additional power cells are available via in-app purchase. They come in the following amounts: 20 for $0.99; 280 for $9.99; and 975 for $29.99.

Twelve power cells are required to fill up your energy bar all the way. This means you’ll have to do some math to figure out how many, if any, you want to purchase at any given time. We will say that the moment our last power cell ran out, we immediately bought a pack of 20 to satisfy our craving. Sure, we could have waited or played without earning credits, but we were hooked.

Ngmoco’s own Plus+ network tracks leaderboards, connects you with friends, and grants you achievements. The tutorial and in-game manual do a fine job of explaining everything you need to know. A tiny “WTF” button (standing, they explain humorously, for “where to find”) is in the corner of each menu screen, and tapping it brings up the section of the manual that explains whatever you’re looking at. We ran into a few glitches during our play sessions, one that muted the audio, and one that crashed the game. However, these were few and far between.

Upgrade your armors here.

Online matchmaking works fairly well, but you’ll often notice that enemies are either too hard or too easy to kill. When they go down like flies, you’ll win lots of credits and feel like Schwarzenegger in his prime, but it makes for shorter matches. When you can’t seem to make a kill no matter how many bullets you pump into someone, it gets frustrating.

You really have nothing to lose by downloading Eliminate Pro. Its siren song will call loudest to hardcore gamers, but anyone can and should give it a shot. The initial, free allotment of power cells will fuel your habit for about an hour, which is plenty for you to decide how you’d like to proceed. Some players might feel nickel and dimed by the in-app purchases, but we think of it kind of like an arcade game for the iDevice. Casual players can dabble for free, while hardcore addicts can pay as they go. Any way you slice it, this is one of the most polished full experiences you’ll find for free on the App Store.

Ngmoco’s FPS Codename

We recently got our hands on Ngmoco’s currently untitled first person shooter, codenamed “LiveFire”, at this year’s WWDC. LiveFire (the actual name should be announced very soon) handles a lot like Quake 3 or Unreal Tournament, but this iPhone shooter is unique in that it is played exclusively online, with no bot matches or single player campaign.

Over the 3G or wi-fi network, up to four players can compete in a rapidly respawning round of deathmatch. Instead of racking up kills, your score at the end of the round is based on how many experience point icons you pick up.

Each player starts with a handful of icons, which explode out of your body when you’re riddled with bullets or vaporized by a death beam. Players get to keep the XP that they’re left with at the end, which can be used to gain levels and unlock customized skins like tiger stripes or a USA flag.

Controls work surprisingly well for this FPS. Touching anywhere on the left side of the screen moves your character like the WASD keys on a keyboard, while the right side of the screen adjusts your view. When you center on another player, you’ll automatically start shooting, or you can tap the center of the screen.

Using auto-fire, you can focus on moving and shooting, with only occasional taps if you want to, say, shoot your rocket launcher a few feet ahead of a moving enemy. You can also shake the device to pick up other weapons, or to taunt a fallen foe.

Probably the most interesting aspect of this game, besides the fact that it’s an online FPS for the iPhone, is the variety of playable character types, a la Team Fortress 2. Instead of having a team of clones with the exact same abilities, you can select characters like a heavy weapons gunner with high strength, but slow movement speed. Other characters include a speedy scout, a stealthy sniper, a special ops ranger with extra sensors, and an aquatic trooper who moves twice as fast in water.

Our only concern about the game is that it contains just four maps to start, and the one we played was a bit cramped. It was essentially a pool with a few whitewashed hallways and columns surrounding it. Also, you can’t customize the length of the round, and other gameplay modes like King of the Hill, Team Deathmatch, and Capture the Flag won’t be available at launch.

LiveFire felt perfectly at home on the iPhone, though, and we’re sure that if it gathers a following, more gameplay modes and maps will come along eventually. LiveFire is due out later this summer, and we’re looking forward to playing it much more. Check out our exclusive video below.

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