SammyBage On November - 14 - 2009

Enough talk of the dark vortex that comprises and circles my brain and the thoughts within. I have Shattered Horizons to play on my PC and its promising buckets and frankly, if I have to upgrade my precious XP system to Windows 7 (something I don’t do lightly) then it better cough up some juice. Thank god for Windows 7 having Direct-X 10 support because Vista fills me with white-hot dread.

So, Shattered Horizons is a FPS made for the PC by Developer Futuremark and if you know the name but can’t place where from, Futuremark make that benchmarking program that shames you and your PC build and forces you to make another trip to Novatech and spend more money. So, you and I are expecting a lot from the people who cost me some much money a year.

Basically Shattered Horizons is set in space orbiting earth fighting over the remains of the moon which has been broken to bits by a faulty mining detonation. It’s the Moon Mining Cooperative vs. The International Space Agency for control of the rich mineral resources (you can see why i made the Moonraker connection as soon as it started up with murderous cosmonauts in space). So this means zero gravity FPS combat and that’s the crux of this game. It’s fully online, no campaign or single player with teams of people killing in various scattered rock environments.

Game play is the biggest lure to this game and the zero gravity game play takes some time to get use to. You will find yourself moving your head trying to orientate your character in the game something I haven’t done since playing Descent on the PS1. Having opponents come at you from ALL angles is a massive brain fart and will have you trying to match them. After awhile, you will realise that bullets piece armour and flesh no matter their position on the 3D axis.

Controls are your standard FPS affair and uses WASD. The biggest difference is the movement plain is orientated to your viewing plain, look down go, down, look up, and you go up. Simple. You get a helpful button that snaps you to surface moving you and your magnetic boots into position and make the environments easier to navigate and will give you many less headaches.

The playing field is predictably in space around rocks of all sizes and broken down mining operations and man-made structures. All are arranged in multiple angles and from different POV’s and game the gaming area much larger and more diverse. The only drawback is that the colour pallet suffers from realism. It’s a single light source (the sun, duh) on grey rock with the only colour being the mining equipment or the space suits themselves.

Graphics. I was expecting so much and with Direct-X 10 and my SLI graphics cards and Quad core processor I could push the settings to Ultra. As before the environments are basic due to its “nature” but they are rendered to the peak of perfection and the game wants to push your system harder and harder and the mono light source throws some amazing shadows and contrasts.

But then again, what do you expect from Futuremark? If you are benchmarking my system I expect a lot from a game made by the same people.

The zero gravity aspect adds massive depth to the game and eliminates levels in the rational sense. Remember how good the zero-g aspect of Dead Space was? It’s very much like that apart from the free floating that takes the bulk of your actions. I found the online lag free and smooth sailing all the way. Futuremark must have implemented some crazy rendering skills in keeping it from straining or some city sized servers!

All in all, Shattered Horizon is one of the better multiplayer FPS games available for download. I can see the fickle groups who move from PC FPS to FPS grabbing hold of this for a while as it really offers something never implemented well in a computer game before. I hope new content and maps are released in time to keep its audience happy and playing for sometime to come.

If this is any indication of Futuremarks future producing games I am hopeful and welcome them to the games market with open arms. I would love to see a single player mode maybe in the future and general release in shops as opposed to sole release on the Steam platform if such a mode was added. I have hope for the future of gaming with a developer such as this. Reviewed on the PC. “Oh James, take me around the world one more time…”

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