These days, the gaming industry seems to be dominated by annual releases of the same few First Person Shooters, with new micro-transactions, different skins and the same gameplay. Every year it just feels like the same thing over and over. That’s part of the reason why I love retro games so much… There’s just so much more originality in the games of yesteryear (like Fatal Frame or Koudelka). These days it is all about redoing the same formula because you know it will sell, rather than trying new things.
And so, it is largely left up to indie developers like Baffled Games to try different takes on the shooter genre. That’s where Batch 17, their third person sci-fi shooter comes into the mix.
What Is Batch 17?
As written on the Steam page for the game, Batch 17 is a ” story focused, online multiplayer third person shooter with Campaign, PVP and Coop.” Now, admittedly, that doesn’t really explain much, so let’s go a bit more in depth shall we?
In Batch 17, you play an un-named clone who was created (or “born”) without the ability to speak. So the game already pushes the retro buttons a bit with the “silent protagonist” trope! From there, you’re thrust into an instance-based game (similar to Guild Wars 2) where the main scenario is fully playable but the other people around you can change depending on which instance you enter.
Therefore, Batch 17 has a very strong MMORPG feel about the game, as this type of gameplay is most commonly used for games like that (such as the aforementioned Guild Wars series).
But, the developers went one step further, by having certain instances flagged for different types of gameplay. For example, one instance may be purely PvE (player vs environment, like most games), whilst another may be solely PvP (player versus player), or entirely setup for co-op player.
By doing this, Batch 17 is able to offer you the exact type of game that you want at any one specific time, which is a great way to set up a game!
Campaign To End Game
Now, as I have already said that Batch 17 feels very much like an MMO, it should go without saying that there are two “parts” to the game; the Campaign and then End Game.
The Campaign itself is non-linear, unlike a lot of storylines in MMOs, meaning that you can follow the path your character would take based upon how you’ve decided to play that character. This itself is a huge bonus, especially for RPG fans like myself. But, whilst the Campaign is there for you to enjoy and play through, the best way to level up your character ready for End Game is to go off and try out other aspects of the game, such as PVP Invasion.
All the while, you’ll be building up your character using the skill tree and abilities to create the perfect build for your play style, rather than being lead down a specific type of character build. This adds much more depth to the game, allowing you to create the type of character that you want to play as.
Once you’ve gotten yourself geared up for End Game, that’s where the fun really turns up a notch, as is the case with most MMO games.
You can expect huge brawls of epic proportions within PVP, especially the aforementioned PVP Invasion, or go on adventures with other high-level characters in co-op instances, exploring the multiverse that Batch 17 is set in.
Closed Beta and Release
Batch 17 is currently in Closed Beta, until the 10th of January, meaning that the game will be released very, very shortly. It’s a very exciting and thrilling game that adds a lot of much-needed uniqueness to the online shooter genre.
At a time where the genre is starting to feel stale, and only revitalised when one of the big names changes their time setting, having a game like Batch 17 come along with a fresh take on the genre is a sight for sore eyes! Especially since the developers have taken inspiration from other MMO style games and managed to incorporate them into Batch 17.
This is definitely a game you want to keep an eye on!
And That’s All Folks
I’m really looking forward to the full release of Batch 17, so that I can see what the finished version of the game will be. As it in closed beta at the moment, there’s naturally going to be a few more tweaks to be made, so I expect the final version to be even better.
If you’re getting a bit tired of the same old shooters year after year, just like me, then I would definitely recommend given Batch 17 a look. It might just whet your appetite enough that you’ll be as excited as I am for something new and different in the genre!