There are games where we step into the shoes of an adventurer across distant lands, exploring the world, fighting bad guys, saving good guys – playing through a story, carving out our own experiences. Then there are games where your only objective is to take down enemies mindlessly like a drone. Shoot them, destroy them, kill them, while ensuring your team stays alive. Most of these games are huge time sinks, requiring quite some time to be spent on them. There are times where we find the need for pulling into games where we can enjoy for a brief while, stuff to be played on the go – and do not need an appreciable amount of time invested in it. One of these games is Aftercharge, a pretty fancy hybrid between a MOBA and an FPS, with certain mechanics different from both.
Aftercharge is officially described as an “FPS unlike any other”. The game has been developed and published by Chainawesome Games for the PC. The game released on 10th January 2019.
Aftercharge is a multiplayer-only game. There is no single player content in the game. This makes sense since the game was advertised to be a “new-gen competitive multiplayer” game.
Aftercharge is primarily a 3v3 competitive game, but in case you see “competitive” and decide to call it quits, the game has a casual “quick play” option too. The only difference being that Quick Play or “casual” mode means it does not have any form of competitive ranks or rewards associated with it. The competitive mode, with all the “ranks”, is in the works for now, with casual play being the only option for playing Aftercharge at the moment.
Aftercharge is a 3v3 FPS game. However, unlike traditional games, in Aftercharge, you don’t have to kill all enemies to win. Aftercharge pits Workionics, highly intelligent robots which can think for themselves, against Enforcers, human beings who created the Workonics. It’s a sort of battle of man against the machines. The Workonics are working together to bring down the powerhouses of humankind, called extractors, which power the high-tech gear for the Enforcers, and the Enforcers are rising in self-defense to defend themselves and their precious extractors. The actual backstory for the game hasn’t been mentioned, only hinted at in the class descriptions for the Workonics and the Enforcers.
Workonics work together to disable the extractors, while Enforcers work together to prevent them from doing it. The game ends when the Workionics successfully disable all extractors, or the time runs out. There’s no way for Enforcers to win the match, except to hold on till the time runs out. There is a suggestion for an added victory condition – allow the Enforcers to win when they successfully shoot down all Workonics. This helps spice up the initiative for hunting the Workonics besides holding the extractors and makes the game more interactive and fun for the side playing Enforcers.
The game doesn’t use the same respawn mechanics as most other FPS games use. As a Workonic, if you are shot down by an Enforcer, you need to be revived by a teammate. This ‘revive’ is instantaneous, allowing the revived Workonic to work at full potential thereafter. Small additions like these improve the team playing aspect of the game, which make it much more welcoming to new players, as players can’t play the lone wolf and expect to survive. Enforcers don’t have unlimited ammo, so they cannot go around shooting anything and everything they wish. Bullets are tied to health, so judicious use of guns is necessary. Go down on health, and you cannot do anything other than running away to find cover near an extractor. Extractors recharge the suit’s energy, precisely why the Enforcers are so keen on protecting it from the Workonics. Playing as Workonics even require “charges”, which can only be deployed by an ally, which allows the use of special abilities. Without special abilities, the game’s already a goner for the Workonics.
The game boasts of class-based gameplay. Both sides have 5 classes, each having their own special abilities. Each Enforcer class not only has different abilities, but they also have different weapons. Players can’t “swap” out their classes mid-game, but otherwise, there isn’t any limitation on the selection of classes. The variety of classes allow for a myriad of different playstyles, infusing the vitals of a MOBA inside the game. Classes are labeled from easy to hard depending on the time taken to master it, and that seems to be a pretty decent effort to allow players to get used to the play style for them. For instance, the Turbo Workonic, as is evident from the name, generates a power boost for itself as a special ability, while the Builder Enforcer, true to its name, constructs recharge stations which recharge the energy for Enforcers (pretty much like extractors).
The game does deliver a lot in terms of mechanics, but sadly fails miserably when it comes to the AI. The AI is pretty dumb and often cannot find its way around obstacles. Playing in a game with bots as a Workonic and getting knocked out can be frustrating, as a friendly Workonic has to navigate its way past obstacles in a clumsy manner before it can reach you (which takes a while). Enforcers can’t target enemies properly – they often fire randomly, expecting shots to hit. The only thing properly scripted seems to be ability usage, as most AI successfully use abilities when required.
The game features a training mode that allows you to test different classes of Enforcers or Workionics in a free-play map. This allows players to experiment with different classes, use the various abilities a class has to offer. Each class plays very differently from the other, so a training map where you can test all classes without worrying about losing is a good addition to the game.
The game also features a customization system, where skins which are already unlocked by the player can be used to customize the look of every Workonic or Enforcer class. In-game progression (in the form of XP earned) happens with every game played (other than training, which doesn’t count), and skins are unlocked with level-ups. The only bad thing is that the game does have microtransactions in the form of Aftercoins, a premium currency that can be used for unlocking certain special skins, emotes or animations, which cannot be otherwise obtained by just grinding.
The game does have some rudimentary social features, where you can see a list of friends which are online and playing the game, and channels currently playing the game, but it really feels like a forced addition to the game.
Graphics and Performance
The game does not boast of phenomenal graphical fidelity, but considering the gameplay elements added to increase the fun players can have, it is a feature that can be easily overlooked.
The game was tested on the following specifications:-
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 2600
GPU : GTX 1080
RAM: 16 GB DRR4
The game does not seem to have any form of performance issues and ran without any bugs or glitches. The only problem seems to be the lack of players, which means you’ll end up playing against bots more often than not.
The game’s a pretty decent take on the FPS genre and tries to reinvent the fire without extinguishing the flames. People interested in multiplayer indie titles should check it out. Chainawesome Games are also very interested in setting up a competitive circuit for the game, so if that’s your thing, you should definitely check it out.