My overriding memory of previous Geometry Wars titles has been the need to attempt multiple levels over and over in a quest to beat any friends who dare to be a spot or two above me on the leaderboard.
It’s what occurred for many a month with both Geo Wars Retro Evolved and Retro Evolved 2. I guess the same is going to happen again now Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions is available on Xbox One?
It’s been six years since Bizarre Creations released the second Geometry Wars title on Xbox 360 and now, at the end of 2014, the buck has been passed to Lucid Games to continue where the guys from Bizarre left off. And they’ve only bloody well succeeded, so if you thought you’d beaten your Wars addiction then I’m afraid that it’s going to come back and bite you hard. Real hard.
For not only is Geometry Wars 3 a return to the good old days of early Xbox 360 competitive action, but it brings a mammoth single player campaign, a reasonably sized couch co-op playthrough and a couple of fairly decent Xbox Live game modes.
For those not in the know, Geometry Wars is a fast-paced (read, seriously fast-paced) multi-directional shooter in which the sole aim is to control your little ship, shoot some even faster paced enemies and attain the highest score you possibly can with a view to hitting those leaderboards in a higher position than any Xbox Live friend.
Yes, it’s really all about beating your friends scores. End of!
Starting with the single player adventure campaign, Lucid have given us something that will, without a shadow of a doubt, be keeping us going well into 2015 and possibly beyond. Both the basics and the more advanced bits are spot on with some brilliantly designed 3D levels, smooth ship movement, classy shooting mechanics and an audio soundtrack that just begs for you to keep playing. The majority of stages will see you needing to earn as many points as you can, but each will have differing rules; some will give you three lives, others just the one, whilst more still will let you just compete until the timer hits zero. Titan levels (destroy the big enemies in order to release the little ones and start scoring points) and Boss stages help complete the overall experience with everything bringing back the memories of the old games perfectly.
Mastering each level, and grabbing the coveted 3 stars for each, will eventually enable you to progress through the adventure, seeing you destroying hundreds of enemies, and getting a chance to defeat a few big bosses along the way. Each boss that is taken down will give you the opportunity to grab a little help in order to progress further with ‘Drones’ and ‘Supers’ bringing numerous extra abilities to your ships armoury. The Drones will give you additional firepower or defensive help whilst Supers allow you to lay mines, fire off the odd homing missile or give you the chance to get cloning in order to confuse the enemy. Each of the Drones and Supers are highly upgradeable and so the more you play, the better your ship will come, the higher your scores will be and that vicious Geo Wars circle continues to spiral out of control….once again!
Collectible Geoms will help you get those special powers upgraded quick smart and these are found with each and every kill that you take on. The more enemies you dispatch, the more Geoms you can collect and the quicker you will progress and it’s these small green diamonds that will see you rack up the multipliers and get you moving up those leaderboards.
But Adventure mode isn’t the only way you’ll be getting some Geo Wars joy as the return of old favourites like Pacifism and King in the Classics section will be instantly recognisable to older players. Extra bonus levels are also available if you so wish and both the Adventure and Classics modes will no doubt see you spending many many hours in each.
One issue that many have had with the previous games is that multiplayer has been put slightly on the backburner and whilst the single player in Geometry Wars 3 is brilliant, the Xbox Live side of things has once again been put to the wayside. If you’re after some online multiplayer fun then I’m afraid there are only two modes available for you. ‘Stock’ pits two teams of up to four players against each other in a battle to take down some big bosses. The first team to kill the boss wins no matter how many smaller enemies the other team may have taken down before it and brings about more frustration than anything else. ‘Summoner’ however benefits those who are able to keep control of their tower, killing enemies and earning points in order to come out on top. Both modes are fast and frenetic but after numerous attempts, the most people I ever managed to find a game with via matchmaking was two. Lopsided games didn’t tend to work out very well (one vs two was also a recipe for disaster) and even then my opponents never before sticking around for too long.
It’s a nice option to have four vs four teams battling it out but if the players don’t come, then there’s not much I, you or Lucid can do about it. Unless you’ve got a load of friends with the game, then expect the multiplayer side of Wars 3 to be a little lacking.
However, drag some real world buddies round for a party and both you and they will love the co-op modes. Completely separate from the single player adventure mode, co-op sees you needing to battle through various stages, earning points and battling bosses as you go. It caters for up to four players and is super intense fun with all the various game modes included in the single player adventure making their way over to the co-op scene. It’s very hectic, with explosions and ships flying everywhere but it is unquestionably the most fun I’ve had on a couch co-op game on Xbox One. The only issue is that online co-op hasn’t been included….that would have been immense.
Geometry Wars 3 will whisk you back into a world of chaos. If you can’t cope with the fast paced nature that it brings, then you really won’t like what Lucid have given us, but if you were even the slightly bit interested back on the 360, then you’ll absolutely love what is now available on Xbox One. The online multiplayer may not be the greatest but coop is brilliant fun, and Wars excels in every single solo department. It’s all about moving, shooting, dropping the odd Super and firing those Smart Bombs really.
But as previously mentioned, the real joy of Geo Wars 3 is found in getting yourself on the numerous leaderboards and beating your friends.
Bragging rights are king after all. It’s that simple!