Guns Of Icarus: Alliance – Soars to PS4 at PAX East 2018
Within the bustling alleys and crowded walkways of the Indie Mega Booth, there was a game that stuck out from the crowd of pixelated platformers and rogue-likes. I saw airships and cannons. I saw wood being set ablaze. I saw a team of players working to stay alive. What I saw was Guns Of Icarus: Alliance from New York City-based Muse Games.
Guns of Icarus: Alliance is a team-focused online multiplayer combat game that tasks a small squad of players to operate a combat airship during the thick of battle. The team recently announced that the game was headed to the PlayStation 4, and the game would officially arrive on May 1st, 2018. I saw an opportunity to check the game out for myself.
Before heading into battle, I was somewhat familiar with the game. Stack Up actually ran a special fundraiser for the game in 2017, which was a huge success for both the game and the charity. From that point, I was vaguely familiar with the concept of the game, in which a team of players participates in naval combat and tactics in the air via airships. To hear that the game was headed to my preferred console was quite exciting.
Guns of Icarus takes place in a world in which World War One never truly ended. Resources and technology were poured into the use of airships and zeppelins. They were quick, effective, and highly regarded as a solid aerial weapons platform.
War would continue, but it would be waged through a combination of air, steel, and fire. The airships began to resemble aerial battleships, with a variety of special weapons and capabilities. These airships are the most fearsome weapons ever devised, as they can reign fire upon aerial and ground targets.
In Guns of Icarus: Alliance, players become part of a small squad. Each player becomes a different class, with their own perks and buffs. Working together, they must pilot their vessel, defend it from oncoming threats, and use offensive weapons to crush the opposition.
Some of the challenges of bringing Guns of Icarus to the PlayStation 4 included the control mapping and setup of the user interface. Naturally, a mouse and keyboard on a PC will have more control options than the Dualshock 4 of the PlayStation 4. From that point on, adapting the user interface to a console, while giving the necessary information readout, was another challenge. The team worked diligently to make sure that the UI design was correct for the system.
One of the most successful parts in bringing Guns Of Icarus: Alliance to PlayStation 4 will be the seamless connectivity with PC, and PlayStation 4. The game will feature cross-platform online combat between PC players and PlayStation 4 gamers, meaning that there will be an extremely embedded community of seasoned pilots ready to join you in the fight.
As I sat down at the main TV screen, I discovered that I would be part of a team with two other live players. I was selected to be the captain. After a brief introduction of the perks and abilities of the captain class, the team was given the choice of PvE missions to embark on.
We voted on an attack mission that would have us face a multitude of A.I controlled enemies while attempting to destroy two primary targets. Additionally, we were aided by a second two-man ship, piloted by two more players at the same booth. The level started, and our mission began.
The two players had their classes chosen: Gunner and mechanic. As the captain, I had proficiency in piloting and maneuvering the airship. Immediately, we were under heavy fire from enemy ships. The other players ran to the nearest gun turret and began to return fire. I feverishly positioned the ship into the correct firing position for maximum effectiveness.
Seeing the other players man the guns while I positioned the ship was quite a delight as we saw the enemy burst into flames. Aiding this was the sharp sound design, with popping explosions and thunderous cannon fire coming from all directions. In terms of offensive capability, I wielded the special “ram” ability, which was exclusive to my class. I wasn’t able to hit any ships, but it was effective in allowing me to evade the enemy.
We approached our first target, which was a tall gun tower, loaded with anti-air weapons. We needed to destroy the weak point, which was encased in thick armor. Doing this, while staving off the enemy was not easy. My two crewmates focused on the weak point of the tower, while I maneuvered around the tower.
Suddenly, we started taking damage, and I started to see fire across several sections of the ship’s deck. Taking matters into my own hands, I let go of the helm, ran to the flaming engine behind me, and successfully repaired it. Then, wishing to get into the fight, I grabbed the starboard cannon, and fired several massive rounds into the attacking ship, downing her in a ball of fire.
After successfully destroying the tower, we were on our way to the final target, when the boss ship arrived. Our allied ship joined the chaos, and we unleashed everything we had on the vessel. I repeated my earlier action of removing myself from the helm to fight. However, I had to bounce myself between the helm and the fighting to put the ship in the right position. While our ship was on fire, we successfully, downed the vessel, but the duration of the battle left our vessel reeling from excessive damage. We arrived at the final primary target but were subsequently shot down.
Fortunately, this worked in our favor. The aiding ship was drawing a lot of enemy fire, and I discovered a perk that my class possessed. I could change the ship’s performance to allow for wider turns or greater speeds. I discovered the “kerosene burning” perk, which greatly increased the speed of my ship, but would also slowly damage the ship over time. I sped my way to the final battle and rushed in to keep the enemy reinforcements off my wingman. This felt like a scenario straight out of Top Gun.
We fought relentlessly on the final target, fighting to the very bitter end. We poured boxes of bullets into the weak point and took heavy fire. Fortunately, we not only destroyed the weak point, but we crushed the enemy. With that, the mission was complete. The screen looked at our ships and characters and the screen faded to black. The demo was over.
While the original Guns of Icarus has been out since 2012, Guns of Icarus: Alliance proves that if something works, strive to make it better, and success will come your way. Guns of Icarus: Alliance was fantastic on the PlayStation 4. The controls, while taking a bit to get used to with placement and weight, were exceptional. The overall combat experience and presentation was an incredible amount of fun! The distinctiveness of the multiplayer experience will keep players hooked for many months to come.
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