Welcome to “Moddus Operandi,” where I showcase the best and the worst of PC game modifications!
Today we are taking a look at:
Usually when people think about the future, their thoughts are influenced by the sci-fi show they grew up on. For Star Trek fans, it’s a fun and adventurous future where everything shoots lasers and Captain Kirk forces some green-skinned woman to get her tits out. For fans of Mad Max and Fallout, the future will be a barren wasteland with humanity all but extinguished in the cataclysm that preceded it, which resulted in a lot of men wearing nothing but leather jockstraps while fighting giant fire-breathing ants. For Firefly fans, the future doesn’t exist, since Joss Whedon shows have a shorter lifespan than a gerbil in the tumble dryer.
But I personally subscribe to the idea that, in the future, we will still be the same aimless petty idiots we are now. Oh sure, I don’t doubt that we’ll invent flying rocket cars and machine guns that shoot around walls and eject chocolate bars instead of bullet casings, but the only thing we’ll succeed in is finding newer, sexier ways to kill people. The best part of this theory is that I’ve found a game that fulfills my fantasy of the future quite nicely: Neotokyo.
Neotokyo is a Steam source game that takes place in the mysterious far future of 30 years from now, and it stars everyone’s favorite xenophobic katana-wielding racists: Japan. They’ve woken up to the fact that, although making huge samurai sword-wielding butler robots to fight Godzilla is awesome, it isn’t exactly commercially viable, so the economy has fallen into the shitter. Thus, some government types start wondering where the good days had gone, when they used to exert military power over everyone else unfortunate enough to be born with a different skin color. This sparks a bit of a split between the Japanese special forces members whom want Japan to rule the world with violence, the JINRAI, and the people whom believe that World War II was a bad idea, the NSF. Thus beings a hidden war between the two factions that has them shooting up malls, tourist traps, and the occasional subway or two in search of some cyborg torsos with breasts…for some reason, the game doesn’t really explain that part. I just pretend that the Japanese special forces are all horny womanizing buggers who want a decent pair of tits around but don’t want to deal with all of that “talking” crap most boyfriends have to put up with.
OK, OK; in all seriousness, these “ghosts” are desirable because they contain military intelligence that is vital to the security of Japan. (My explanation was better.)
The gameplay is a bit of a drastic shift from the usual affair. In most first-person shooters, you’re a hybrid between man and Sherman tank, and you can take an entire clip to the face before even so much as coughing; Neotokyo throws that idea in a bin on the surface of Venus. If you go into this game with the mindset of, say, Halo, and run full sprint into the enemy stronghold gleefully spraying bullets, your corpse will be strung up and re-purposed into a nice taxidermy model before you can say “regenerating shields.”
The emphasis is more on making use of the lean buttons and tactical movements with your team members and the various classes you have access too, each of which brings its own unique flavour to the table. There’s the Assault class, if you’re indecisive and boring; the Support class, if you feel the need to carry around big shotguns and machine guns in order to compensate for your small penis; and the Recon class, if you are into wearing leather so tight your squad mates can see their reflections on your well-toned ass. The classes all have different abilities and levels of usefulness. While each has its own place in a squad, though, the Recon class can run a marathon while the Support class has to stop running every five seconds to chow down on a sausage roll, the fat bastard. But the tactical movement combined with the different abilities come together to paint a realistic view of what urban combat could be like in the future.
That is, until you discover that you can turn invisible.
Yes, the Recon and Assault classes have the ability to magically turn invisible with the press of a button! Well, more precisely, it makes you harder to see, because I still ended up getting shot up just as much as if I didn’t have it on. You could be invisibly stalking around, doing your best Solid Snake impression, when you suddenly find yourself occupying the same space as several .50 calibre bullets because the other guys were using heat vision, which every single support class has access too. They can also see you if you’re running, firing a gun, bleeding, doing back flips, or reading Sherlock Holmes to a bunch of underprivileged inner city kids. And why the hell does each one of these soldiers have access to one of these things? Do they come in cereal boxes in the future? Last I heard, those things are bloody expensive, and how come nobody’s found a way to counter that with a better stealth unit? It shouldn’t be that hard to hide heat signatures—just rub each of your soldiers down with coolant before each mission. That’s what that stuff is for, right?* Though, I can’t say the ability’s entirely useless, because you’ve got to know someone’s there before you actually check for anything. It still works; just don’t rely on it.
The fatality rate among the Japanese special forces must be pretty astronomical, because the game is extremely unforgiving toward the young recruits whom are fresh off the pan and filled with so much patriotism they’d probably stitch themselves up with the white-and-red flag when shot. And by “unforgiving,” I mean killed a lot. And by “recruits,” I mean newbies. This game is a big change for a Team Fortress 2 player to make, because there’s no way to heal, no respawning till the round is over, the guns are deathly accurate, and you’re sort of required to read the manual so you know which button picks up things and what button gets you killed, which sometimes is every other button. This isn’t really a strike against the game, but more of a warning to you. Here’s some newbie advice: Join a squad, stay in groups of two or more, and don’t be afraid to play it safe.
Overall, though, it’s an astounding modification. The environments are beautiful, the guns are sexy, and it’s a very interesting take on the FPS model. Aside from the difficulty, it’s definitely a game I’d like to see actually get published. Maybe this game concept could be Modern Warfare 3. MAKE IT HAPPEN.
Mod Score: 9/10