Early Access is giving developers the chance to test their games with audiences like never before. Crossout is just another example of a game that uses an extended beta period to fine-tune the experience. In testing since 2016, the title has still not officially launched. But, it is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC as an open beta. This free-to-play game sees players battle it out in vehicles across large scale maps as they seek to be the last competitor or team alive.
Unlike other vehicular combat games, the focus within Crossout is not on historically accurate tanks or armored vehicles. Instead, players build their own cars and customize them as they see fit. This makes sense when you consider that the game takes place in a post-apocalyptic future. A devastating nuclear war led to the collapse of human civilization. Meanwhile genetic mutations have caused the remaining humans to become more aggressive. All of this has led to all-out war between the remnants of society as they fight on the wastelands.
The big draw of Crossout is the vehicle customization. Players can design and build their own weaponized cars any way they see fit. There are only two modules that you have to fit to cars, a cabin and a frame. After that, you are free to add or remove items until you are satisfied with your creation.
Do you want to create a vehicle that is buffed with armor? Go ahead, just be aware that this will be a bigger target and less maneuverable.
Crossout also features a sophisticated physics engine that will simulate how your vehicle reacts to the world. Things like your center of gravity and weight distribution are taken into consideration. Bad designs lead to unwieldy vehicles that are liable to roll.
It is also important to note that the different factions offer a wide array of design philosophies. For example, the Lunatics prefer fast and agile buggies with little to no armor. Meanwhile, the Dawn’s Children faction uses high-tech armor and plasma weaponry. Choosing which faction to align yourself to is important in respect to how you like to play the game.
Outside of the customization and building options, Crossout is a pretty simple game to get to grips with. It is as easy as driving towards your opponents and aiming your guns in the right place. A responsive and intuitive control system make this a relatively pain-free experience.
The only thing to keep in mind is that you need to be constantly on the move. Otherwise, you are likely to get blasted before you even know what hit you.
While similar games ask you to be thoughtful or careful in your approach, Crossout revels in outlandish action. There’s little drama because of it, but the game is always filled with exciting moments. The constant thought of not knowing what will happen next keeps you on edge throughout a match.
There are a few different modes available to players. Missions mode is the first that you can choose, and it acts as a sort of introduction to the mechanics of the game. It pits lower-ranked players against each other in standard match types. These include deathmatches and objective-based modes where you have to capture an enemy base. Once you’ve leveled up sufficiently, you gain access to the other modes.
There are Raids, which is a PvE co-operative mode, as well as the free-for-all Brawls and competitive Ranked matches. You can also take part in Clan Battles if you are in a clan.
Each game mode has its own strengths and weaknesses. Ranked is a great way to put your skills to the test, yet the opponents are much tougher. Clan Battles offer a more focused gameplay style, but are not as thrilling as the larger scale matches.
In terms of presentation, Crossout is something of a mixed bag. The vehicles themselves look great. When you are in the heat of battle, you really get a sense of the power of the weapons as your creation begins to disintegrate.
The animations are smooth and look great, even when the game has to cope with a huge amount of damage. The sound effects for the various blasts and explosions are equally as good. With a decent sound system or quality headphones, it is easy to immerse yourself in the world. It genuinely feels as if you are in your own “Mad Max”-style universe.
Where the developers have made missteps are in other areas. The environments are plain and generally do not look good. They have a strange design with a lot of greenery. This is something you wouldn’t expect in such a post-apocalyptic world. It isn’t a huge deal, yet it can drag you out of the moment.
A lack of variety is another problem. Each map is too similar to the last. You don’t come away with any of the areas being memorable.
When it comes to the music, there really isn’t anything to say. Other than an annoying track that plays while you are in the garage, there isn’t any music in Crossout.
Crossout is an outstanding vehicle builder that allows for lots of imaginative and crazy designs. Ultimately, though, the game is let down by the slow grind to get access to better items and a lack of variety. The game types and maps available don’t offer much to mix up the gameplay.
But, there’s a lot to like, and playing a few matches is often enjoyable. In that sense, Crossout is a good way to get your fix of mindless fun. The game just doesn’t seem to go anywhere and when progression is this slow, there is little to entice players back.