Foxhole Preview – WANTED: Scrap Metal

Foxhole Preview

Massively Multiplayer and Real-Time Strategy isn’t a combo you hear all that often. It’s an interesting concept right from the start. Foxholefrom Clapfoot, drops you right into a war zone, but instead of controlling an army of many, it’s an army of one. I always like the idea of RTS games, but few seem to click with me. Perhaps just being a cog in the wheel, instead of master and commander of all is just what I need.

If you’re looking for an ongoing war this is the place. The maps in Foxhole are persistent, there is a very real possibility that the battle you took part in a few days ago may still be raging. Provided it hasn’t been destroyed already, that foxhole or tank you built a week back will still be there. That’s pretty cool. That is unless someone took the keys to your truck while you were gone.

While combat is a focus, it is a war game after all, it’s not the only thing to do. Everything requires materials, even the gun you want to shoot the other guy with. Producing anything requires heading to a scrap pile and collecting materials. That scrap has to be turned into the appropriate materials, which requires going to the appropriate building to do so as well. It can be a lot of work. How much work exactly? Let’s say we want to build a simple defensive station and the game’s namesake, a foxhole. First, you head to that scrap pile to collect materials, hammering away at it. Hopefully, there is some close to the building required to convert the scrap, because guess what, having a backpack full of scrap is going to slow you down, a lot. Obviously, a truck is going to be useful in speeding up the process.

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Building a truck requires the same process; collect, turn into something else, somewhere else, and then off to one more location to assemble. Great you have a truck! Er-hmm, you know those things use fuel, right? That’s going to require its own process to make as well. Right about now you might be thinking that sounds like a lot of work (and it is), but don’t worry there are plenty of other people on your team that think that too.

That might sound like a good thing, that is until you return with your fuel can raring to go. Except you can’t because someone else who thought it was a lot of work, brought a gas can and left in your truck just seconds before you got back because you forgot to lock the doors. This may be the first indication that trying to contribute solo might be a bad idea, provided of course someone didn’t run you over earlier for daring to walk near a road. It really can’t be like that, can it? Oh, it absolutely is.

If you like that style of play, the mechanics are honestly fairly good. Even the combat is decent enough for a game in an Alpha state. Is there room for improvement, sure, but it’s still such an early stage that there is plenty of time for refinement in that aspect. The game is the least of your worries in Foxhole. That worry comes in the form of the players around you.

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I was lead to believe, by multiple stories, that tanks and others would show up to transport me to the front, or if I was lucky they let me in to mow down enemy soldiers. So needless to say I was excited when the first “friendly” tank rolled past me. They stopped, but rather than stopping to pick me up, they took the opportunity to use me for target practice instead. I was struck down just as often by my own team than the enemy, actually probably more often. There are systems in place to deal with griefers, but currently, they don’t seem very effective.

That’s the main issue in Foxhole, but the game certainly has its charms and appeal to players, illustrated by lots and lots of full servers already. Unless you go in with a group of others though, it may result in some wildly different experiences and levels of enjoyment. Having a 60 player per team sandbox to play in can be great fun or the living embodiment of the phrase “war is hell”. Foxhole is worth checking out, but I’d bring some friends first, preferably 59 of them.

*** PC code provided by the publisher ***