Rekoil: Liberator (XBLA) Review
- Kickass boxart (see the featured image)
Not so much?
- Occasional glitches
- Not a lot of people to play with
Rekoil: Liberator is an online first-person shooter in its purest sense. Unfortunately, that won’t cut it with modern FPS gamers.
In an age where competitive online matches in first-person shooters are ruled by the latest Call of Duty and Battlefield titles, Rekoil: Liberator, recently released for the Xbox 360 and PC, takes deathmatch back to its earlier days of Quake 3: Arena, Unreal Tournament, and Counter Strike.
It’s hard not to smile when a deep, booming voices announces kills like “HEADSHOT!” or “KILLING MACHINE!” as I exterminate my opponent. As a gamer who grew up on first-person shooter of the 90s, I couldn’t help but think of the days of scoring a kill in Quake 3: Arena, as I began playing Rekoil. And to be honest, I sometimes yearn for those days when first-person shooters were less about gaining XP, unlocking weapons, and Prestiging and more simply about getting online and having fun.
It wasn’t long before my smile started to fade.
Rekoil: Liberator is a multiplayer-only game, and if you are one who has their finger on the pulse of gaming you don’t have to go far on the Internet to see unflattering word-of-mouth from the gaming community and game reviews.
And most of what I’ve heard is true: it’s not very inspiring and it is glitchy at times. There also aren’t that many people playing it. Some people may call those types of games “sleeper hits,” but unfortunately when it’s a game that thrives (or thrives best) when there are people to play with, having little to nobody online is a real buzzkill.
I’m not going to pile onto the negativity that Rekoil: Liberator has already received. I’m sure that for the most part it deserves a lot of the criticism — perhaps not so harshly — but when the gaming community en masse isn’t happy, there’s a pretty good chance their complaints are not without merit.
What I will flatly say is that I really don’t recommend buying it. There are much better options available to play – if you have a game-capable PC there are even some free titles like Team Fortress 2. We were fortunate enough to have been given a code to review, but I would have been more disappointed if I had blindly purchased Rekoil: Liberator for $15 on the Xbox Live Marketplace.
According to the description on the Xbox Live Marketplace, Rekoil, “is the action FPS refined to its purest form ensuring the fun is maximized & the best player with the greatest skills & most points wins.” This statement I totally agree with. As a PC gamer from the 90s, I can fully appreciate a game like Rekoil, which goes for the simplified, retro approach to online FPS multiplayer. These are the styles of first-person deathmatch-style games that I grew up playing.
Going back and playing deathmatch in Duke Nukem 3D, for example, is fun for nostalgic reasons. I remember playing it and Quake in my college dormitory, hearing the booming sounds of gunfire from somebody’s over-powered stereo system from the hallway, following by screams of profanity as they were killed in action. It brings back a lot of good memories, but after a few matches (or minutes), the differences between games then and now starts to stand out and it loses its luster. “Well, those where good times,” I say, as I close out of the game. I’ve had my trip down memory lane, and maybe in another 6 months or a year, I’ll go back and play those games again for a few minutes.
Rekoil: Liberator is a lot like those games. It really boils down to the first-person shooter at is purest form — you hop online and shoot your friends. That’s about it. There are couple of different modes to choose from, 10 maps to play on, and a ton of weapons to use. That’s pretty much it.
For gamers like me who grew up on the FPS of the 90s, you’ll probably appreciate Rekoil a bit more than the community does. There is a certain charm to not worrying about the role-playing elements of leveling-up in today’s first-person shooters. You can’t blow holes into structures or topple buildings. There aren’t any cool cinematic cut-scenes between missions.
Rekoil is a first-person shooter at its purest form, but today’s gamer wants something more, and rightfully so, the bar has been set pretty high. Even blockbuster titles like Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts, with huge Hollywood-movie like budgets aren’t cutting it for everybody. Gamers demand more, they demand perfection. Unfortunately, for Rekoil, there just isn’t enough extraordinary things about the game that make it stand out, even in a simplified retro way.
I’m not sure if there is a demo available for the PC, but if you’d like to try Rekoil: Liberator out for yourself, you can download the free trial on the Xbox 360 Marketplace. Maybe over time, based on feedback, Rekoil will improve. But as of right now, I’d avoid at all costs.