Jack of 2 trades, but definitely master of none
When I saw Ace of Spades for the first time, I was really intrigued by its concept. It seemed to be the perfect match between Mojang’s Minecraft, and Valve’s Team Fortress 2. Unfortunately, I can tell you upfront that while it tries to copy the best features of those 2, it fails miserably.
Ace of Spades is a first person shooter, multiplayer-only game.
There are 4 classes in total:
- The Commando – This is the basic class; the “tank”, if you want. He deals a lot of damage with the mini-gun, or the rocket launcher, but he’s slower than the others.
- The Marksman – Think of him like the usual sniper. He’s fast, can jump higher than the rest, uses a powerful sniper rifle, but his ammo is very limited, and so is his health.
- The Rocketeer – The Rocketeer is sort of a combination between the Commando, and the Marksman, his unique ability being the use of the jet-pack. He wields a sub-machine gun.
- The Miner – The Miner deals high damage with his shotgun, but more often than not, he relies on fast digging, using a pretty cool drilling “rocket”-like missile, and also his shovel, and pickaxe. The other classes own only one of the last two. The problem is that there isn’t much difference between his tools (except for the drilling machine).
In fact, there isn’t much difference between any of the classes. Sure, one has a grenade, and the other one has a mine, one uses a shotgun, while the other has a sub-machine gun, but the differences end there. The options are just too limited when it comes to the classes.
Everyone can place blocks. In the beginning of the match you have a limited set of blocks with which you can build up different kinds of walls, and to get more, you’ll need to get your pickaxe/shovel out, and start digging. While there are 4 types of blocks to choose from (like the fort wall, or the square bunker), I feel like besides the usual flare block (which is the same as every block from Minecraft), the others are just useless, and frankly, cumbersome to use. This brings me to the Minecraft part.
When it comes to building, the biggest problem of the game is that you’re not really forced to take advantage of it. The main attraction of the game was that you would play a simple FPS, while erecting bases, and so on, in order to defend yourself- Minecraft-style. I can tell you that more often than not, you can just run and gun, and could care less about constructing, or even digging into the enemy’s base. The building mechanics are useless. Also, there’s no point in working as a team. You would think that it would be clever for one player to dig into the base, while the others protect him, and then storm the place, but the maps are made in such a way, that you can easily take the jet-pack of the Rocketeer and hop onto the walls.
There are only 6 maps, but fortunately, by the time the match ends, believe me, rarely will a map look the same as it was in the beginning. The problem is that you would expect a game like this to feature different terrain every time you enter a new match. Unfortunately, the maps are not random, but preset, and so, 6 maps feel very bare-bones, especially because, and this is a huge letdown, there is no map editor. Really? For a game like this, you limit the players to 6 maps only?
On the modes front, there are 5 to speak of:
- Team Deathmatch – Of course, this is what would you expect. Earn as much points as possible by killing your opponents.
- Multi-Hill – It’s like king of the hill, except for the fact that the point which needs defending changes constantly.
- Demolition – In this one, each team must destroy the other’s base. It’s a constant race to see which team has the biggest destructive nature.
- Diamond Mine – Each team must search for diamonds scattered around the map (in the terrain, of course), with no clues at all, and then drop them to a specific location. The team with the most diamonds at the end of the round wins. This mode is pretty different from the other ones, because it encourages you to ignore the other team, or even better, hinder them, while the rest of your group searches for the diamonds.
- Zombies – One team is the zombies, trying to infect the living, while the other one is trying to survive.
While the Diamond Mine mode is different, and fun to play, the others just feel like something that was done before, and were executed way better than this.
There’s no leveling up, no unlocking new guns, or anything at all. The basic set you get for each class is the only thing you can work with, and this wouldn’t be a problem if the options were there, but unfortunately, your options are, again, pretty bare-bones.
Furthermore, there isn’t any tutorial to speak of. This is a shame since, even though it’s not really complicated, you could have been given at least one tour to familiarize yourself with all the game’s elements.
If there is one thing I liked about the game, was the fact that when there is only one minute remaining, its thematic song starts playing in the background, creating a sense of speed to rush for that last kill, which will bring your team the victory. It’s a nice feature indeed.
I also liked the fact that there is no regenerating life. You get med packs, along with ammo packs from an invisible helicopter (the sound is there, but nothing to be seen).
There are a lot of achievements for the player to “dig”, but with so few players in the servers, I doubt anyone would have the patience to get them all.
You cannot host your own games, which is, again, a poor choice on the developer’s side.
I also encountered a few bugs, like there was no sound for the weapons during a whole match, and I also fell through the terrain once, but those were minor issues. The big issues come from all the lag, and bad connections I encountered. The game isn’t stable at all, and I wasn’t even allowed to get into a Zombie mode for a whole day.
The graphics are what you’d expect from a game similar to Minecraft, but even so, it doesn’t have that charm that Mojang’s game offers us.
Maybe with a few patches the game would become more stable, more maps could be added, more options on the construction side would be available, but for now, this game is as bare-bones as any game can get. The concept of combining the highly popular construction of Minecraft with the shooting elements of Team Fortress 2 is indeed a unique one, but here, the execution is far from ideal.
Final Score: 5.5/10
Vlad Pintea wanted the game to be really addictive, but found out that it lacked in so many departments, it was frankly ridiculous. You can contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, on Skype, My IGN, Steam (all at the same name: vlad94pintea) or Facebook (Vlad Pintea). Have a good day and remember! Stay calm and keep on gaming!