Ace of Spades seems like it would be promising. It looks like Team Fortress 2 meets Minecraft, and indeed, it bills itself as such. Unlike those two runaway hits, should you be the one doing the running away? Let’s lay our cards on the table and find out.
The action in Ace of Spade is really loose feeling. There’s none of the tight, precise control of many other first person shooters, or the ease of control of say, Team Fortress 2 (which has the premier “loose” shooting feel in the industry). You whip the camera to and fro with reckless abandon and this gives the whole game a chaotic, slightly out-of-control feel. This is completely at odds with its supposedly Minecraft-lite building mechanic.
You can place blocks, and you can break blocks, but that’s where the comparisons to the indie smash hit ends. You can forget about building anything big or complicated since it’s so easy to get it destroyed in the mayhem of combat. It’s supposed to engender a sense of tactics, protecting key areas and/or building forts. However, the game has a few things that make this pointless. For one, the matches are often too short to make building a viable strategy. Secondly, as pointed out before, the buildings you make are far too susceptible to explosives and gunfire. There’s also the issue of the prefab building pieces, seemingly designed as a concession to the fact that the matches are too hectic for block-by-block building.
The game doesn’t even nail the Minecraft-y blocky look. It looks too faded, too bland, and even the maps – many of which show allot of creativity – don’t fix it. Also, again, you’re blurring through it at hyper speed, so that doesn’t help. My biggest complaint with the game engine is the clipping. It’s so easy to get caught on an object’s boundary layer for a second or two, leaving you horribly vulnerable. I’ve fallen through blocks as well. The only thing it does well is replace Minecraft’s gravity-defying buildings with ones with some semblance of physics. Mind you, they’re lousy physics, but still. If you dig out all of a building’s foundation, and I mean all of it, the part above you will come tumbling down. It does so harmlessly so using a cave in as a weapon isn’t an option.
The crime here is that there’s a good game idea lurking inside Ace of Spades. I can think of five things that could improve it: add a pre-match cease fire for base building, slow the game down to a more reasonable speed, tighten up the controls, open the game to community for maps and mods (currently the game is tightly locked down by its developer), and allow for dedicated server hosting. As it stands, the only servers are those run by the dev, and they’re often ghost towns now. As it stands I don’t see Ace of Spades continuing to exist in its current form for allot longer. I predict it will either go free to play or get shut down by the end of the year unless changes are made. That’s a sad fate for a concept with such potential.
|Interesting concept; Making buildings crumble can be fun for 5 minutes||Technical issues; The building features feel tacked on; Controls are too imprecise|