At long last, we are getting a free to play MOBA like on consoles. The term MOBA stands for Massive Online Battle Arena and is typified by games such as League of Legends, but lately the genre format is blurring as developers experiment with the competitive online formula, evidenced by recent releases like Overwatch and Battleborn. Kill Strain differs from the current hit Overwatch by being a top down view game, and is Free to Play, where with enough time you can earn other characters or you can pay to unlock them. The game was in a recent beta and I had the chance to check it out. What follows is a preview of what this frenetic game is all about.
Developed by: SIE San Diego Studio
Published by: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Release date: July 19, 2016 (July 12 for PS+ Members)
Age rating: Teen
Kill Strain Features
- Inventive 5v5v2 Gameplay: Two teams of (5) humans and one team of (2) mutants engage in a three-way tug of war for control of the battlefield.
- Dynamic Team-Sizing: Kill Strain introduces a novel cyclical “turning” mechanic where players turn their enemies from humans to mutants in order to build their team.
- Free to Play: Kill Strain is free to download and play, but never pay to win.
- Intricate Character Progression: With the ability to play as human or mutant, players can tailor the technological enhancements of their human character and biological enhancements of their mutants to their individual play style.
- High Replayability: The “turning” mechanic delivers players a fresh experience every round. Kill Strain will also roll out new content for players to upgrade their characters, new maps, and more on a regular basis
Kill Strain Gameplay
Unlike most MOBAs where there are 2 opposing teams, Sony has decided to produce a MOBA game that splits players into 3 factions. You have your 2 teams of 4 human mercenaries that are competing with each other for the maps resources and to defeat each other or the third faction. The third faction is a mutant race that have arisen from a mysterious strain The game starts with 2 players in the role of the mutants, the twist is that the mutant faction can turn or steal players on the human faction, making players who were once enemies into allies. The game ends when one of the 3 factions bases are destroyed, all humans have turned or the strain takes over (time runs out).
When one of these end conditions are the game awards credits and experience based on individual scores, with top payouts going to the best player. Because of the way the game is set up, there is incentive to work as a teammate but also to work for your own aims. There are various ways to score points and at times helping teammates or enemies both can be to your advantage. There are other ways of earning rewards even if you’re not the top player. You can complete various in match tasks to earn medals or complete daily missions in game for those extra perks.
The gameplay features a diverse set of options for players. Mec suits and powerful abilities give the humans a variety of options to control the battlefield. The spreading strain is a counter to humanity and aids the mutants with several buffs to what they can do and creates a creeping fog that encroaches the map. This effectively makes matches a race against the clock, with the game giving players push and pull mechanics to speed up or beat back the deadly strain.
The turning mechanic is really the game’s defining feature and occurs when a mutant player drags an unconscious human into the strain to convert them to a mutant. The conversion is permanent and from that point until the end of the match, the player will not be human. Once knocked out, a mutant must use their drag ability to pull a human into the strain. If the human diesbefore reaching the strain or the mutant doesn’t have enough energy to drag them, the human respawns on their own team as normal. If successful however, once turned into a mutant, a player is always a mutant. This feature really tips the scales of the match quickly and rapidly turns friends to enemies and vice versa.
If you enjoyed games like DOTA and LoL and wished there was a console version then Kill Strain is a game you might want to check out. It has enough unique features going for it that makes trying it for free a no brainer. Kill Strain will be released for PS Plus members on July 12th and for all other members on July 19th.
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