Written by Robert O’Shea
For those quarantined gamers out there, we’re looking at the many games that you can check out while we’re all cooped up at home. This time, we’re taking a closer look at the free-to-play game, Crossout.
There is a chance that you may have passed this game up after briefly seeing it in digital shops but I’m here to change your mind. So, buckle up and let’s get cracking.
Crossout is a post-apocalyptic multiplayer vehicle shooter with custom building capabilities; a mouthful, I know. It’s available on PC, PS4 and Xbox. The main draw of this game is, of course, the vehicle building, and the system is rather in-depth allowing for things like 2×4 or 4×4 chassis, afterburners, plenty of armour, melee attachments and beautiful, glorious guns.
It doesn’t end there though, some of the factions you can join allow for some spicy additions, such as hydraulic legs and upward thrusters but unfortunately, they take a while to achieve. Regardless, the sky’s the limit in this game when it comes to choosing your play style.
But how does it play?
Everything on your vehicle is destructible, and I mean everything. Lose a wheel? Too bad. Lose a gun? Too bad. You get one life in the match so make it count but if you are near enemies and are crippled you can self-destruct to take some of them out or at least damage them.
A strategy is key here. Are they too fast? Blow off a wheel. Got a big cannon blowing away your armour? Shoot the gun.
It has a very simple core gameplay loop but is truly addictive. Matches take but a handful of minutes and are usually pretty balanced. They take your vehicle’s power into account, so you are evenly placed with teammates and enemies but, of course, that doesn’t guarantee that the enemy has the same amount of hours as you.
The usual anatomy of a match is that there are two teams tasked with either taking a neutral point in the middle of the map or taking the enemy’s base at the opposite end of the map. Sound like too much hassle? Why not just shoot everything that isn’t on your team? That works too and because there are no respawns and a team wipe means victory.
Matches provide you with reputation points for factions you have unlocked and these provide you with all sorts of bonuses such as the ability to craft equipment, blueprints for faction-specific cars or simply sweet delicious loot. The better you do in a match the more reputation you get.
For those looking to play co-op against bots for some nice bonuses, there are also raids, which are segments of the game where you do a certain amount of missions against hordes of mean AIs, generally with a boss vehicle at the end.
It is very reminiscent of MMOs and their respective raids, like World of Warcraft or The Elder Scrolls Online. The catch being you need fuel to start a raid and this is where the free-to-play element comes into it. You can wait a while to replenish fuel over time or buy it with premium currency. But you have equal chances against premium players so it isn’t a pay to win scheme. This premium currency can be used to buy various items in-game, including exclusive blueprints.
Like many modern online games there are challenges both daily and weekly, alongside more long term challenges. These provide you with raw resources such as scrap which can be used to craft new guns or armour. And while the gameplay is quite fun and fast-paced I want to get onto possibly my favourite part of the game.
Building to obliterate
Custom vehicles rock! In building mode, you can place a few chassis, guns and some wheels on your vehicle but your main hub is your cabin. It’s here where it gives your whole vehicle energy for weapons, afterburners or various useful addons like a car jack to allow you to flip your car or a radar to reveal enemies from further away.
If your cabin is destroyed in combat then, you’re dead. Higher-level cabins give more resistance to damage but it increases your vehicle’s power considerably which likely means fighting more experienced players.
Every object in the game has weld points and if you run out of weld points and you can’t add much more than a lick of paint. Luckily you don’t need all the space the item needs, as long as one or more of the weld points has a grip (and the item doesn’t clip through another item) then you can place it.
I like to compare the building to a badass Minecraft. Let’s say you are hell-bent on spending more time shooting than building, what can you do? Well, there are the faction-specific cars, which you are usually given all the parts necessary for, or there is a wonderful section called ‘exhibition’, where you can use other players’ creations (assuming you have the components) as your own.
You can use any of them in a test drive but if you can’t build it, you can’t use it in matches. Some are very useful, some are overpowered but you can take your pick depending on how you play.
You can have only one vehicle active at a time but to compensate for this you can simply save your favourite creations to your personal blueprints so swapping them out is as simple as accessing a menu.
Singleplayer? In my online shooter?
Why not mention the single-player? In all honesty from what I’ve played of it, it is rather lacklustre but not surprising in my opinion given that it’s a free game with an emphasis on the multiplayer portion.
There is an overworld you can drive around and accept missions or shoot random enemies. This overworld, however, is not singleplayer, there are a small few players in the world but it is reminiscent of GTA’s online modes where you don’t have to interact with them. You can accept single-player quests in this overworld that further the story. It takes you to a singleplayer version of the overworld and sets you free to do the mission or challenges. Similar to Destiny there are public events that happen in the overworld that you can partake in with other players, all of which are timed events but will net you some nice loot.
Despite my disinterest in the story of the single-player, the missions in this mode can be useful to quickly level your character in a faction. In the end this is the weakest part of the game but it can be helpful from time to time.
Should you try it?
We will ignore the fact that it is free-to-play for a second and base this decision on its merits. In my opinion, it is not a mindless shooter by a long shot, if you want to win multiple matches, you are going to need to use your noggin and think up some strategies that mesh with your playstyle.
There are always options for you no matter what be that either shooting, bashing or self-destructing your way to victory. You can unlock various melee weapons, a lot of which don’t need power as they are just hunks of metal. So really your options are immense. Pick your play style and choose to use or even ignore the building side of things.
Finally, it’s free, you’d be silly not to try it so if this feels like it’s up your alley then feel free to give it a go. I hope this has convinced you to give the game a try, I hope to see some of you in the game in the future.