Every Friday, AV Club Staff members kick off our weekly thread for discussion of game plans and recent game glories, but of course the real action is in the comments, where we invite you to answer our eternal question: What are you playing this weekend?
I’ve always been a fan of dodgeball, one of those rare sports – like racquetball – where a tall, slow, long-armed man with 30 years of daily hand-eye coordination conditioning can do a bit of work, without completely embarrassing himself in the process. So I looked at the new EA based Dodgeball City KO, the latest attempt to give the video game community a multiplayer shooter that does not relying on shooting bullets at other human beings for some time now. I finally took the plunge this week, and (after going through the EA Play registration and all of the EULAs and documents that are an integral part of every new online game these days), I plunged into the world. brightly colored by Velan Studios. cool kids and their horribly powerful throwing arms.
What I got out of it was a deep sense of satisfaction, the kind that I sometimes struggle to find in more typical multiplayer shooter games. The reason was as simple as the most immediate difference between a dodge ball and a gun in the real world: If someone points a dodge ball at me, I have options to avoid being murdered by it. this. (The guns, not so much.) That is, City KO is one of the most pleasantly defensive “Shooters” in recent memory, one where the player has a large number of ways to avoid damage, rather than just accepting that any enemy who sees them can start reducing their health. Player blocking ability isn’t perfect – it works on a very short cooldown and is especially easy to set up if you’re working with a partner to barricade them with bullets or a multi-angle strike – but it does. It’s good enough that taking a hit or not can often make it seem like it comes down to skill. It can also create some really thrilling duels, as you and an opponent jump, turn, and juke, trying to have your enemy fake in an early, easily exploited block. This back and forth is the solid core that makes the rest of the whole work.
Make no mistake, the other little touches are all nice: The luminous aesthetic; generous auto aim that turns fights into battles of timing, not pure pointer precision; the sweet nonsense of mega-giant EA releasing a game so critical of gentrification or big business. But the addictive core of City KO It’s the times when you and your team stare at your rivals, pass balls back and forth, and wait for the perfect opening to strike. It’s the rare shooter that gives you some control over whether you’ve been shot, and it adds a nice tension that I’ve rarely seen in this space, where the difference between life and death is often to know who is in the crosshairs.
Also, you can pick up your teammates and use them as a bullet to assassinate people. This part is fun too.