Yes, Eliminate is free to download, but we can’t help but review it anyway. As you must already know, Eliminate is the latest iPhone FPS deathmatch game from ngmoco . However, Eliminate varies from a normal FPS in several ways. First, is the idea of credits. You kill other players online (while you have energy) to earn credits and that allows you to level up, and buy or upgrade your gear. Eliminate has a lot of upgrade options which effectively work like different classes or players, like in Team Fortress. Because of this leveling and upgrading when you go to play a game, Eliminate will evaluate your ability and try to put you in rounds with opponents of equal level. Now I’m not going to go into all of the details of the game. If you are more interested in some more in depth info check the ngmoco site and this awesome article over at Touch Arcade.
So instead of getting into the tactical details of the game, let me give you my opinion on how this game rates on the TouchGen scale of awesomeness. As you know we have talked a lot about FPS’s on the iPhone, and we keep wondering if there will be one that will really breakout and be THE FPS of the device. Eliminate is an awesome game, the graphics are great, the concept is highly polished, but there are a few shortcomings that keep it from reaching it’s full potential. Let’s look at the breakdown:
- Great Graphics
- Smart and Deep upgrading/leveling system
- Multiplayer over 3G and WiFi
While not earth-shattering the graphics in Eliminate are great. The art for the menu’s are players weapons and upgrades is very highly polished and colorful. The maps are also pretty diverse, with lots of different, colors textures, and layouts. In game everything runs very smoothly with a decent level of detail. It’s equivalent to PS1 maybe even PSP quality games.
The biggest thing that sets Eliminate apart from the pack is the unique leveling/upgrading system. As you kill and earn credits you can buy upgrades to your existing suit or weapons, or get completely new ones. These items are limited by level so you won’t find a level 4 person with a level 15 set of armor. The armor seems balanced and varied. For example you can get a suit that will increase your defense, but will take away your speed. This system creates a lot of choice in how you want to play the game, and in they type of opponents you will face. In this aspect Eliminate almost feels like a good RPG where you get to pick classes, and level up ability to optimize how you play.
One thing I have constantly been complaining about is lack of multiplayer on such a connected platform. ngmoco delivers exactly what we wanted with an online head to head game that we can play WiFi or over 3G. Admittedly 3G is not as responsive as the WiFi, but it is playable. I actually save my energy for when I’m in WiFi then feel free to practice over 3G without worrying about ping too much. Fragging real people over the internet is what this game is all about.
- Energy runs out too quickly
- Stealing credits
- Left stick controls
- Match-ups can be lopsided
The first complaint I have about Eliminate is about energy. Playing with a full bar of energy only seems to last one or two matches, which to me is way to short of a time to earn credits. I feel like the meter should run out a bit slower than it does now. Of course if your energy runs out you can keep playing, but you won’t earn any credits Also, If you haven’t played for a few days you don’t build up more energy. Once you hit your limit you stay at your limit until you use it. So you can’t store up a lot by not playing, you have to log in frequently to keep using then earn energy.
This brings me to my second problem with eliminate. Even if you can’t earn credits you can steal them from other people’s kills. This means anything relating to sniping in the game like zooming in, or sniping armor, is completely worthless because if you snipe, someone else is guaranteed to steal your credits. In fact because of the way you have to collect credits after they die, it only makes a very few options of gameplay worthwhile making most of the customization features worthless. You need to play close up and have either a lot of defense or a lot of speed to you can collect all the credits. You might say to me, well you can still play and not worry about credits, but really this is not a good argument. The whole game is focused around credits, its how you level up, upgrade and buy new equipment, everything.
Because you need credits to do anything in the game there are a lot of complaints about how much pressure there is to buy more energy through the in-app purchases. Buying credits can significantly increase the speed at which you can level up. Some have suggested they would prefer monthly subscriptions instead of individual purchases. In my opinion this model would be a lot more friendly for the user, and still net ngmoco the buckets of money they want.
The controls on Eliminate are overall, good, but there are a few caveats. For example, while you can jump in game there is no point. You have to move your hand (either one you use) far enough to totally mess up either your aiming or movement, so jumping does not add any benefit for you. I also have the same complaint about zoom. You may as well go ahead and turn that off now, not only is there no real use for sniping (see my gripe about it earlier) but it takes too much time to zoom in and zoom out to make it really effective. Now these things you can get around pretty easily, but the one persistent problem with the controls is the left movement stick. It seems very sluggish, and even downright unresponsive sometimes. With the aiming controls you can turn up the sensitivity and make them decent, but there is no such tweak to the movement stick and it makes things very difficult. Please, ngmoco, in a future update please, please, add a sensitivity bar to the movement controls, or even better, steal a page from Doom Classic and use those controls for movement.
My final complaint is about whatever method ngmoco uses for online matchups. Half the time it seems to match you up well, but the other half you’ll find yourself up against people a few levels higher than you with upgraded that will tear you to bits. When entering these games, if you have energy, just drop out immediately. There is no point in wasting your energy on a game you can’t win. Hopefully the matchups get better over time.
Despite some shortcomings (that can be fixed in updates) Eliminate offers an adrenaline pumping, finger twitching, frag making, trash talking good time for any FPS fan. Eliminate is by far the best online FPS on any mobile platform.