Project Nova: Hands On II

 

Hello friends, Gorski Car here, fresh off the airplane from Iceland and Fanfest. I’m here today to speak about one of the cool things I got to try out while in Iceland, CCPs “newly announced’” shooter, Project Nova.

Project Nova is essentially Dust 514 for the PC and while I have to admit I have never played Dust 514 because of the stupid “console peasant” only aspect, I did however play a ton of Project Nova at Fanfest, and had some nice chats with the developers, and even a Dust 514 CPM – Aeon Amadi.

As a CSM, I have known about this game for quite some time, but not much beyond the fact that it was in the works. I was pleasantly surprised when I first tried it out during the press event and saw just how polished the game was.

Unreal Engine is clearly a good choice for the game

First off, the graphics are really awesome, and while I might have preferred to turn down some of the bling, like motion blur and depth of field, it really does look good – Unreal Engine is clearly a good choice for the game. The map design could however be improved, and after speaking to the devs I discovered they chose to add as much as possible to the map and make it really big just to see if it would work or not. It was still a bit confusing with the multiple levels, and huge areas that are never used. Sometimes it also felt a bit empty in the 6v6 format, but that could be tweaked by adding more players. Navigating the verticality of this huge map with how the minimap worked (it only showed you the area around you on the level you were on at that point) was exceptionally confusing, and the devs confirmed there were more optimisations to be made here.

You have to keep in mind, that this was just a preview map, and who knows what the future will hold. The possibilities are endless here with everything from other indoor maps, to the insides of ships (or stations), even fighting on planets.

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The game mode was set in a simple domination style, where you had to hack a node and hold it to get points. Both teams had two spawn points on the map and there were multiple cloning stations that the teams could hack to gain spawn points. While the UI wasn’t quite there and the game didn’t really explain this, you could see how it made the difference once teams realized that sneaking behind the enemy and capturing a spawn point could hurt them.

Looking at the different weapons this preview test offered, there were a set of different pre-made classes for different roles. While they were static in this test, the devs talked about allowing custom loadouts in the future. They had some previews on weapon attachments, for example, the Vanguard class was equipped with two identical rail rifles, but one of them had a different scope.

The test offered 6 different classes

Sharpshooter – a long range sniper class with cloak and double jump
Vanguard – a normal soldier class with two primary weapons
Sentinel – A heavy soldier with a minigun
Assault – Like the Vanguard but instead of a secondary weapon you had grenades
Infiltrator – A shotgun based class with double jump and cloak
Support – Had a 4 round single fire rifle with scope and grenades

I ran through them all and the gunplay was really awesome for all of them. The time to kill was long on certain weapons compared to others, but I am sure weapon balance will be sorted out before release.

ProjectNovaConceptArt

Of all the classes, I definitely enjoyed the Infiltrator the most. Being able to cloak and double jump around flanking was extremely strong in the map we tried, being very chokepoint heavy. The shotgun was also insane, capable of one to two-shotting all classes but the Sentinel. Hit and run gameplay while focusing on capping objectives and spawn points was really good.

An additional classes that I was impressed with was the Sentinel, armed with a heavy machine gun and super high HP. Being able to mow down two to three guys who decided to just rush at you was a great feeling and the gun felt great. Additionally, the Support class was extremely strong in the sense that you had grenades and a four round rifle that killed in two to three shots depending on where you hit.

I think this test also really nailed sound design. Gun sounds were awesome and some that stood out to me was the resonating ‘boom’ sound on the sniper rifle which was capable of one-shotting people, or hearing the blast of the shotgun go off as you see a green haze and your teammates dead behind you. Positional sound needs some improvement but the game had a minimap that was useful for this as well.

All in all, the game really impressed me

All in all, the game really impressed me. There was still an element of ‘generic Unreal Engine shooter’ because of how unfinished it was at this stage, but Nova was very much playable. The guns and sounds felt right and the mechanics were good. The fights were really hectic at points, especially when you had Infiltrators constantly double jumping around and cloaking trying to get a kill. I am really looking forward to what is coming next and hope there will be extra features, such as progression and customization in this new free-to-play shooter from CCP.

Tags: cpm, csm, dust514, gorski, nova

About the author

Gorski Car

Gorski Car was a CSM 9 member whose theorycrafting and knowledge of mechanics has had a key role in helping CCP adjust how we play EVE. He is an avid small gang PvPer with a background in lowsec, but flies in all areas of space, depending on his fancy.