June 18, 2018

E3 2018: Hands on with Project 1V1

When I was invited to check out the mysterious new title from Gearbox, apart of me died a little, knowing that it was not Borderlands 3, but I was still excited to see what this new game was.

Project 1V1 is an arena shooter, in the same vane as Quake, but the biggest change is that instead of 16 players battling it out, or even teams of players, it is one player versus another player, which makes sense given the name. In this micro arenas, two players enter and the winner, the one with the most kills, stays in, while the loser is kicked out and replaced by the next person in the list and that is the games biggest twist. As you join a game, you will join a queue of players, the person at the top is the next one to fight, those that lose re-join the list at the bottom.

What makes the game interesting is that matches last for 5 minutes and can only extend, if both players end up on the same number of kills, something that happened in my first match. If you are a way down the list, you could have at least 30 minutes, before your turn comes around again and that means you won’t need to sit and wait. Should you do that though, you can watch the matches play out, just like if you were in a regular deathmatch type game, you can follow a single player or free control the camera around the map. But watching other games while you wait is not all you can do, nor is it all you should do.

Each of the characters you can select from has no skills of their own, meaning one character is never going to be stronger or faster out of the gate than another, how you customise the characters are done with cards. Each card can give you an attack or a boost skill, but you are not able to activate them right away, you need to locate the card tokens that lay about the map. If you collect a single card token, you can activate one card, but you need to collect more if you want to use all the cards you equip, now it might seem a little strange to have to collect things, whilst fighting, but just as picking up health or ammo in other multiplayer shooters is normal, I have no doubt people will adapt to this also.

The character that I selected for my first match, the name I forget, but I had a railgun as the secondary weapon and while I was loving it, I found the charge time a little too long, leaving me wide open for attacks from the other guy, until one of the guys from Gearbox pointed out a feature. After shooting the railgun, pressing and holding the right mouse button would have my character, grind along the rail that was just shot from the gun, it was insane to think of it, but it worked. What surprised me and likely the other player, was I was now no longer stuck waiting for the gun to charge, because as I zipped past the other guy, I was already charging up the next shot.

Being told of this changed up the match, so much and it made what was a generic shooter, fun, of course, I still lost the match, though it did require sudden death to make that happen. The result was that I joined the back of the line and started to think about the changes I could make to my character, in the end just swapping out one shield for another attack was all I did and then I had to wait. The waiting might be the thing that makes or breaks the game in the long run, but there was no denying how much I enjoyed my time with the game and as someone who only has a few shooters that I play, that is saying something.

There is no word on how long Project 1V1 will be in development for, or that it will leave the state its in, what I played was early Alpha, so it might be as far as it goes, which would be a shame, as its quite fun.

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