Author: Gabriel Vega
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Monday, November 2nd, 2009
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Games/Reviews/shattered_horizon/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.
40 years into the future a battle for survival hits when a mining accident on the Moon sends billions of tons of debris toward Earth. The International Space Agency sets out to find out the group behind it and the Moon Mining Cooperative only has the choice to set up independence for their survival after narrowly surviving the incident. In Shattered Horizon, players dive right into this conflict and the struggle to control the Arc surrounding Earth, with the chance for return so limited. We step into the depths of space, armed with only a basic rifle and our wits and fight for survival in battles across Space Stations and space debris. The spoils of the battle come limited and every victory is essential; this is zero gravity and there’s no cavalry coming to save the day.
Darkness is an easy way to describe Shattered Horizon; the game deprives the player of gravity, of a common weapon variety and of control. In the depths of space no one can hear you scream; in Shattered Horizon that has a tendency to induce paranoia during combat. Battles start off with players flying into the combat zone, floating in and then having the choice of using gravity lock to pace across the level or rocketing to the waypoint. Light is a luxury that players get as they navigate around asteroids and space station pieces; any slip can bring death from camping opponents waiting to pounce in those shadows. There’s a whole field to master when dealing with the Sun in the game, having to take alternate routes around other rubble to sneak up on enemies or waypoints.
Shattered Horizon plays on a new experience for gamers; it takes away freedom of control even though players get directional control. Having to decide how forward the player wants to move or if they can steady themselves, the idea is that even if they opt for the latter, another player could run up and melee them for a quick kill and still move on. The team does a great job of addressing movement; players need to watch all 360 degrees around themselves as death comes from any angle. The first few matches we found ourselves struggling to account for above and below our vision, getting melee killed by players exploring every facet of the asteroid and space station in the level.
We found the game acts as a pilot for what gaming can become if developers wish, using new methods to approach what people thought had peaked. The FPS genre now has a breath of new life and players have a new challenge to tackle in Shattered Horizon. It’s a dose of survival with a side of space madness; having a rifle with an assortment of grenade attachments doesn’t make abandonment in space any easier to handle. We’re glad Futuremark went with a compromise, giving players weapons and sound instead of pipes and silence. However the "Silent Running" option -- which shuts off the audio for an authentic experience -- was pleasing, and will appeal to players who want to come at the game from a purist standpoint. On the whole, Shattered Horizon will be daunting to new players, but the ability to adapt and grow with it exists, and this is one of its strongest points.
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