E3 2015 Day 3 Recap Pt 1 – SW Battlefront, BattleCry, Bierzerkers, and Torchlight Mobile!
Shield Break Studios
While their demo wasn’t currently functioning at the show, I spent a solid half hour talking to Shield Break Studios on their premier project, Bierzerkers, while also snagging Early Access so Ragachak can follow up in the near future with hands-on impressions.
Bierzerkers is the definition of keep it simple, stupid gameplay, backed by a powerful combination of Southern California game developers from local AAA studios like Red 5, Riot, and Blizzard. The focus is melee slap stick comedy, creating a more in your face, more repulsive Team Fortress 2, while incorporating some totally off the wall power-ups, platforming elements, and unusual objectives to feel fresh and fun.
While the latest and worst marketing buzzword of all time, pre-alpha, is running rampant right now, I can assure you that Bierzerkers is still in a legitimate alpha state. The devs are just having fun with all the possibilities right now, since they’ve just barely gotten the framework in place for testing purposes. Currently they have 4 classes with a fifth in the final stages, consisting of:
Raider – Sword and Shield bully character.
Huntress – A chill archer that provides plenty of CC support, which is sure to make for some punishing kiting considering the platforming nature of levels.
The Scoundrel – Described as a douchey rogue class that capitalizes on your lack of perceptiveness. His character is what stealth class haters imagine all rogue players to be in real life, with a splash of Viking bluntness on top.
Drunkard – A one man kegstand, this support class keeps his allies topped off, while putting anyone foolish enough to crowd his personal space with a mighty hammer.
(New) Valkyrie – A hefty opera singer stereotype whose annoying voice is only outclasses by her disruptive support skills. She’s a wall of a woman you won’t get by easily.
Shield Break has been testing various possibilities for their upcoming Steam Early Access debut on Thor’s Day (July 9th for the uncultured). They had hoped their premier map would be Payload, where one team protected a boat full of mead as it flowed down a river towards the halls of Valhalla, while the other raided. However it ended up just a giant mosh pit in the middle of the map, that rewarded spammy strategies rather than skillful gameplay.
This was sent back to the drawing board in exchange for Domination, a three flag control point map with a score building based victory condition. The high slopes of Valhalla offer a perfect high intensity scenario where one wrong step can be your undoing, while the spread out capture points make splitting your team into smaller squads for smaller skirmishes an ideal strategy, as well as a more fun way to play.
In terms of gameplay, the control set-up feels like a typical FPS, but more up close and personal. Borderlands players will likely be accustomed to such a system. Each class packs a normal attack, power attack, defensive skill (block or dodge), and their three class unique special abilities. Currently they don’t have any visual or skill customization options in the build, but certainly plan to begin tackling that once Early Access feedback starts rolling in.
Power-ups are still a work in progress, so you can expect to only see health pickups for the first bit of the Steam Early Access. Though they did tease some of their more mad scientist ideas in the lab, such as a Super Mario mushroom that lets you rampage across the battlefield like a drunken Godzilla.
I’m much looking forward to Ragachak’s report on Early Access, as both this team and this concept are so solid that I can’t imagine anything going wrong. I’m trusting my gut that this game is going to be good, while also being the first quality online battle arena that is an equally likely candidate for both esports and drinking game bets.
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