Developed with Crytek’s CryEngine, Warface launched as a free-to-play online first-person shooter five years ago on PC first and later released on Xbox 360. Publisher My.com brings new life to the squad-based PvE and PvP hybrid title, purchasing it in 2017 (they were already involved with the game in Russian territories) and releasing it on the current generation of home consoles; PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The class-based system in Warface works, adding unique and necessary roles for end-game PvE content, but at the same time, the game slaps you in the face with microtransactions every chance it gets.
Warface equally focuses on a handful of PvP game modes, as well as cooperative game modes, such as special operations that will require deliberate planning and teamwork if you want to succeed. There is an overarching narrative deep within Warface, involving two factions of special forces (Warface and Blackwood), and you do get a bit of backstory during every mission, but nothing feels interconnected. The daily rotating missions on the main co-op screen serve as a way to grind out new items, ranks, cash, and other consumables. You’ll earn a set amount of crowns based on your kill score and how long it takes to complete the mission. These are used as an “elite” currency, letting you rent some of the more uniquely designed weapons and armor in the game for a predetermined length of time.
Unless you are playing with friends, your squadmates will generally attempt to run through encounters at great neck speed. While this improves your overall score, it does detract from the squad focus the game tries to convey. For example, there are spots where you need to boost each other over a wall (useful to gain the higher ground advantage in PvP). Some shielded combatants charge towards you, and if they catch you with their shield, you are hurled to the ground unable to recover. At this point, a teammate must come to your rescue and help you up, but in my experience, you will most likely be left for dead. You can use a resurrection coin, wait for a medic to revive you (good luck with that) or simply (and most likely) wait until the rest of your team reaches the next checkpoint. At this point, resources are resupplied and the rest of your teammates are revived. I’ve lost count the amount of times medics run past and not even attempt to revive myself or my fellow squadmates. Oddly enough, they are usually the first ones to quit out of the game when the mission results in failure.
The core gameplay of Warface feels similar to Call of Duty, focusing on fast-paced run-and-gun gunplay, especially when you consider you can slide and shoot enemies. While it may have limited uses against the AI, it is still a valid tactic in PvP, to surprise the opposing team with a low moving target. There are four distinct classes in Warface, each with their own respectful set of weapons and equipment. Riflemen are the only class that can resupply ammunition to your teammates, as well as using a wide range of assault rifles. The medic is the master of close-range combat, wielding a shotgun and being able to heal and revive, the engineer uses a medium range submachine gun and can place claymores and replenish armor, and the sniper carries a deadly long-range sniper rifle. Typically, I would be drawn to the medic class, providing essential healing support, but the limiting your weapon to a shotgun is off-putting. I’ve always hated using them in any first-person shooter.Mission structures are generally the same, hop out of the helicopters with guns blazing, as you mow down dozens upon dozens of the same types of enemies soldiers again and again. While the window dressing for each mission, some set in Middle-Eastern designed villages others in semi-futuristic research facilities, amongst others. Regardless, you’ll be activating doors, switches, and computers ad nauseam on top of shooting anything outlined in red. Even so, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. There is something satisfying by going in with a group of five (yes your squad is comprised of five, not four players) and taking out everything in sight as fast as you can. The co-op missions are broken out by difficulty, and the higher the challenge, the less likely you’ll succeed if you are not functioning as a team.
There are a smattering of different competitive game modes, ranging from the standard offering of free for all and team deathmatch to those game types that require a bit more of a tactical approach (although I have yet to see anyone revived in PvP), involving capturing zones or stealing warheads. Storm is my current favorite, as opposing sides take turns attacking/defending three capture points. Whichever side captures more than the other side wins. In this mode specifically, I’ve seen more teamwork and coordination, than any of my matches of team deathmatch. Capture, on the other hand, features round based elimination, where you either steal or defend a warhead. A battle royale game type (solo only right now) is being added to Warface in the October update, pitting 32 players against each other. It will be the largest competitive mode in Warface, as 16 players are the current limit (8v8). The developers are very open to the community, providing an evolution roadmap for the game that currently stretches into January with new maps and game types.
Separate from the daily rotation is the special operations (or raids). These cooperative missions are much longer and much harder to complete. You’ll want to have a well-designed team makeup, and without a doubt, you’ll require at least one medic. If all five teammates die at the same time, the mission is a failure, and you’ll need to start from the beginning. Making matters worse, each time you start and reach the first checkpoint, you’ll spend an access token. These can be gained by playing the daily missions, ensuring that there will always be players running through them. Just like the dailies, these missions have three difficulty options with teamwork being essential for higher rewards.As a free-to-play title, Warface survives by users making purchases on its marketplace. You’ll earn in-game currency which can be used to purchase temporary weapons on a daily or seven-day rental basis. The inventory for the shop is updated continuously, so you don’t see anything enticing it won’t be long before something new appears. With each update, you may miss out on specialty weapons locked behind the premium currency or crowns. At the time of review, the Anubis weapon set is the top items in the shop, featuring Egyptian styled weapon skins for each of the classes.
Body skins are class specific and can only be purchased using the premium currency. That means the only way to play as a female soldier in Warface is to obtain “kredits” with real-life money and buy the skins for each class. There are additional experience boosters, resurrection coins, and access tokens that can be purchased as well if you have gone through your daily allotment. I must say, it was kind of disgusting to see the patriotic smoke grenades for purchase (using the premium currency) with a limited amount of uses.
Without dipping into the shop, there are a ton of different weapons and gear to unlock as you progress through your rank. Besides the default starting items, any permanent piece of equipment you obtain can be worn out. You don’t have to worry too much, as it only costs the in-game currency to repair. While waiting for your next mission to start, you can choose between three different item categories (Weapons, armor, attachments) to unlock next. At any point during a mission, you can press a button, and your focus will shift towards your equipped weapon. Here, you can customize your weapons with different types of grips, muzzles, and scopes, each with their own set of strengths and weaknesses.
Although Warface is beginning to show its age, the class-based online shooter seems to have a new lease on life on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The cooperative focused special operations were precisely what I have been looking for in a military shooter with the run-and-gun gameplay that feels quite similar to Call of Duty. As an online-only title, there will be times where you’ll rubber band back into place due to lag, but for the most part, my experience has been rock solid. At times it has been difficult filling certain game modes on the competitive front, but eventually, you’ll connect. The colorful and stylish premium weapons and armor certainly help bring color to a slightly drag looking title.Note: Warface (PS4) was reviewed on PlayStation 4. A digital copy of the game provided by the publisher.