Tired & Agitated

coolbeans

Moderator
CRank: 23Score: 367520
20°

User Review : De-formers

Ups
  • Unique with a solid gameplay template
  • Light-hearted character infused into every part of it
  • Quality technical chops (visual/audio) for a $30 title
Downs
  • Server issues upon launch
  • Could've used a couple more maps and/or modes
  • Lobbies that became deserted over time

Praise the Squish

[NOTE: While updates have eliminated certain launch-day criticisms (as will be described below), I’m still going to graph my impressions focused more on time played around release. These later changes don’t really affect my personal thoughts & score to any meaningful degree.]

How does a developer follow up one of the most discussed, critically divided, and obnoxiously dreary shooters of this generation? If your answer was anywhere within the vicinity of ‘multiplayer-oriented squishy-ball battle with little marketing’ I’d be inclined to call you Nostradamus. Beyond just their previous game, Deformers is outside Ready at Dawn’s (RaD) wheelhouse if looking through their entire gameography. Surprisingly, this came with a fair share of grumbling from the community. From my perspective: when looking at the disparity between the dour, overly-dramatic pretentiousness of The Order: 1886 to this unwound, bouncy attitude seemed like a great way of hopping out of a creative rut—if only temporary; and not JUST for its intate differentiations over RaD’s previous, Deformers works so well by putting a team of great technical artists to work on a satisfying gameplay foundation.

Replacing the trite Mountain Dew-swilling online bouts of bragging rights and braggadocio from a Nuke killstreak reward, Deformers is interested in competition but in the context of bouncy balls of ballyhoo within intimate arena fights. For Deathmatch/TDM variants, a max of eight players are dropped onto a map set to duke it out against their enemies via ramming, shooting, throwing them off the map, utilizing offensive power-ups, or squishing them when thrown back in to respawn. And in these two-minute rounds there's this strange-yet-cutesy dalliance of bouncy characters steering around a map vying for more points and collecting the scattered remains of felled enemies for health. Within seconds of viewing the initial trailer ( https://www.youtube.com/wat... anyone can follow what this game's about and its oddball freneticism.

With such considerations though, there's also an underlying strategy. Said planning comes in the (de)form of classes:

-Marksman: Lightweight at taking damage and delivering physical damage offset by firing projectiles like an automatic
-Striker: Medium build, sub-par speed, etc. but hardest rammer
-Ranger: All-around class. No inherent weaknesses but average at everything.
-Speedster: Smallest and quickest of the classes. Low health as the drawback.
-Guardian: Typical Heavyweight traits. Built like a brick s***house but is the slowest shooter and at getting around the map.

Before each round you have to commit to said class. And since you're ignorant of whom they are until character selection is locked out, experimentation is a virtue for those lagging behind. If being a Guardian nets you several kills but trailing in total points, maybe dedicate your tactics to Marksman to secure the lead. Remember: landing projectile hits on numerous enemies is just as valuable as bashing enemies for kills.

One later-remedied complaint—among critics and friends alike—was the lack of any sort of tutorial. Plopping players in ranked or custom lobbies and saying "have fun!" appeared to be RaD’s idea of a fair time. Speaking as one who picked this up at launch, I seem to be one of those individuals left appreciating that ideal. Of course, I don't want to discount why adding Tutorial and Training for newbies was beneficial; and yet, I do feel like I gained something by its primeval 1.0 stage: the heuristic nature of testing the limits to my own accord. It's funny to think of how it took me a few matches before realizing I could CHARGE the ramming attack too! This may be dawdling too long into my 'subjective' interpretation to forgive missing features, but I don't think it's without merit. My combat acumen increased solely through the unremitting action of play; in turn, rendering me with a greater versatility.

It's flabbergasting to think of just how high of a skill ceiling there is for such a limited move set. Majority of action is dedicated to the trigger buttons: ram (RT), fire pellets (RB), block (LT), and grab (LB). And what class you select will inform the plethora of internalized decisions: focus on breaking up scattered objects to maintain ammo for ranged attacks, a bulldozer stratagem to disrupt and kill enemy players head-on, a combo of both whilst waiting for power-ups to materialize. Even simple moves can disrupt an opponent's strategy. Block renders you temporarily immobile & indestructible from charged attacks or pellets; however, Grab cancels Block and leaves them vulnerable to being hurtled off a map's edge--especially when a charged throw that renders them dizzy.

After considering all of these checks & balances it's not hard to see why expatiating on the game's design seems so interesting. And that's not just all the tidbits to glean from the gameplay either. Other ones that come to mind:

-How there's no cooldown after exiting Block. Meaning one can habitually pound and release the left trigger whilst attacking.
-The compressed time when dizzy is just enough for a skilled player to claw back into the ring if thrown off the edge.
-The approximate amount of button-mashing required for a grabbed player to break free (for both parties).
-The near-nonexistent cooldown for dash makes eluding a viable option.

Tie all of these ancillary templates with tautened controls and you have a great cornerstone of cute mayhem. A full game can make each ephemeral round feel hectic.

"Sheesh...with all these dynamics to consider for Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch what more can you ask for?" I'm glad you'd ask because there's one mode I haven't touched on: Form Ball.

When looking at the timeline of Deformers' release it's not hard to connect dots and say this was an 11th-hour addition after Rocket League’s popularity. Even still, it's a distraction that may—intentionally or no—be more enticing to most players. The concept is simple: scoring the ball into the enemy net. Same control setup and class system; however, there’s quite a disparate value for certain classes within this mode. The biggest blemish to such a great mode is it being limited to one locale with no design variants. There's such promise in utilizing the stadium as a skeleton for creative users to incorporate unique rule sets & modes a la Halo's Forge Mode.

In a nutshell, that's the core design of this game. But while Deformers wouldn't be so successful without that core, it's the game’s goofy nature that breathes life into the concept.

I know I’ll eventually sound like I’m harping too much on the contrasting design sensibilities of The Order compared to this but hear me out. You know how restrictive The Order felt in respect to railroading you at every turn? Rather than dealing with unskippable cutscenes here even the loading screens and victory celebrations give players transient moments of self-expression. A small detail? Sure, but I don’t think it’s inconsequential. Tie this in with these rambunctious rondures ranging from farm animals to breakfast food and it’s easy to see just how light-hearted their approach was; further, that attitude seeps into play itself, along with funny quips and puns splattered before fights. These sundry elements brewed together are what has given me some of my most genial experiences in competitive play.

The feedback loop hangs on retrieving in-game credits to purchase new characters, accessories, and emotes. Want that adorable pug-ball to be dressed like a police officer and don a big donut for a backpack? Done. How about a big Rolly-Polly burger with whipped cream for a hat? That's there too. The panoply of customizable items (across all options) has to crack over a hundred in total.

The initial announcement of such a different product from RaD's previous caused a stir with many; yet I don't think they considered what kind of benefits there are in seeing graphics specialists work their technical knowhow on such a colorful project within a confined budget.

In an age where AA titles often show obvious signs of regimenting their budget, RaD deserves credit for a $30 title having a solid physics engine that supplements game feel. There's so many little things that look like respectable visual artists worked on it: the squishy ripple effect when bashing into other Deformers or shooting pellets never got old, the noticeable debility of an injured Deformer that becomes more and more mottled with bandages nearing death, the spongy quality of accessories on their backs. I can't ignore just how loopy it sounds to venerate a polished game about squishy spheroids smacking each other, but I can't help it. The art style works and is supported by the polish, UI, and more on the technical side.

As with RaD's forte with graphics, sound is another quality that's tough not to heap praise on. Austin Wintory composes with such brio that you're not quite sure how it fits. The amiable cabaret impression is heightened by these energetic tunes combining loud orchestral scores with...chants from what I expect to be a female opera singer in Viking garb? How does this work so well again? Aside from that, sound design hits more at the 'adequate' mark. There's no voice acting, character-specific noises during selection notwithstanding. Sound design hits that mark of being basic-yet-distinct. Whether it’s dashes or pellets whizzing by, the aural combat communication can be readily understood in the same way footsteps, environmental queues, etc. are heard in a competent shooter.

So with all of these positives, I have to dredge up the negatives. For one, I admonish anyone from attempting to get their hands on this game NOW since online servers have been disconnected. If you're asking why...well that's a funny story. Recall how I sounded over-the-moon on the dynamics when one was playing a "full game," right? Well…even at launch there were times such ambitions seemed like a Herculean task. It's a shame when looking at games like Evolve, LawBreakers, and Deformers thinking of what might've been if LFG tabs, Groups, and other tools were better-utilized to maintain an active community. Part of the reason any multiplayer action will have to be local (4 players max).

Discounting Form Ball's one static map, there's a paucity of maps for the Deathmatch variants too. I know I've raised the "quality > quantity" mantra before, but that's part of why I think the map rotation is lacking. A map like Chaotic Caverns presents so many opportunities that seem missing from something overly simplistic like Battle Butte. One or two more maps, and new modes, would've sweetened the deal—even if delivered over time.

Missing something? Oh right! There were micro transactions too. Like R6: Siege, there were two credit tiers with which players could purchase cosmetics. There are special considerations to make: this not being a full-priced game, the prices weren't outrageous, and they were only cosmetic. Nevertheless, it’s still sleazy. Cosmetics in a game like this are amplified in importance. This has been removed since RaD announced the servers would be shuttered; however, it’s still worth consideration since this review’s morphed more into a retrospective.

In conclusion, I couldn't help but dig this game from the start. Seeing RaD expand their creative horizons to such a degree after making a banal shooter clicked at the right time for me; more than that, it's an concept which upends the typical staples of class-based combat today despite maintaining so many of the same rewards structures and dynamism. Unfortunate for such a budget title with technical wizardry and fun design inviting for just a bit more variety and content.

coolbeans’s *FresH* badge

Score
8.5
Graphics
While not sporting any wild artstyle, the carnival-esque spirit is complemented well with a surfeit of plushy balls of mayhem only further completed by a quality physics engine.
7.5
Sound
In respect to combat? It gets the job done adequately. All of which is elevated into something grander by the Wintory-scored soundtrack.
7.5
Gameplay
The framework is basic but oh so extremely fun. Sometimes there’s an overreliance on the dice roll of randomized power-ups to attain a lead, but such qualms don’t ruin the otherwise-solid foundation.
8.5
Fun Factor
As a cheaper, AA-level online game? I simply adore the novel idea, the rollicking character squeezed into every crack, and the unexpected level of technical polish.
5.0
Online
A mixed bag in respect to its server issues at launch with only a moderate level of post-launch support. There is that wish for more maps and modes too—which won’t come to pass now.
Overall
7.5
coolbeans2152d ago

He's back! Hope everyone enjoyed the review. Please feel free to leave any comments and/or questions below.

Is it weird to submit a review of a game past its online expiration? Yes indeed! Truthfully, I was really tempted to jot my thoughts down as far back as summer of LAST YEAR. I just had a couple paragraphs and lines saved on a Word doc forever and just decided to give it a whirl. In a way, it's almost like a 'time-capsule review.' Spouting off on stuff that seems like yesterday while using past tense for things updates rectified later on. Hopefully I weaved that past/present tense well.

260°

10 Games With Achievements & Trophies You Won't Get This Lifetime

Joe Y writes: With server closures, glitches, and broken patches, many games have unobtainable achievements and trophies. Here are the top 10 you can't 100% anymore.

Read Full Story >>
twinfinite.net
darthv722056d ago

"It sounds simple enough, but due to the expiration of licenses, one of the four songs, Promised Land by Vesuvius, is no longer available to download. If you previously had it downloaded, it will *not* be taken away, so you'll still be able to grab this one."

Well damn it. I really dig that song from The Rocker and I did not know it was in RB3. I stopped playing after RB2.

franwex2056d ago

Online achievement/trophies are dumb. I’m not sure why they still include them. I recall the modern warfare games were applauded for not including them.
Unless the game is an online only game because what choice is there at that point.

Skankinruby2056d ago

Uhm trophies are fantastic, they give you real reason to keep playing a game after you beat it

Christopher2056d ago

If you need trophies to keep playing a game after you beat it, then is the game worth playing any further? It's imaginary points, not better gaming. Good games will be replayed regardless of imaginary points.

Skankinruby2056d ago

@Christopher
That logic makes zero sense. It's most definitely 'worth playing further' as you go and do things you clearly didn't do the first time....hence why do didn't get the TROPHY. It's not about better/worse gaming, it's about a replay of a game feeling fresh and not redundant.

2pacalypsenow2056d ago

"Online achievement/trophies are dumb"

Christopher2056d ago

***It's most definitely 'worth playing further' as you go and do things you clearly didn't do the first time....hence why do didn't get the TROPHY.***

If you need a trophy to do something and not the fact that you enjoy it, is the game actually worth playing? Seriously, how is that a foreign concept? How is that nonsensical? I guess it's nonsense to someone who plays for trophies, but that's about all you're playing for when you promote the reason for doing more to just get trophies and not because you enjoy it.

mkis0072056d ago

Chris

In fairness sony did have that gold trophy auction for all those commercial props.

Would have loved to have enough trophies for that.

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 2056d ago
agnosticgamer2056d ago (Edited 2056d ago )

Pretty ignorant statement to have... there are lots of fun achievements/trophies to be had playing online... I've never played through the single-player campaign in any COD... but had lots of fun playing online... Companies have to be sure to cater to all gamers when it comes to achievements/trophies... a good mix is never a bad thing...

franwex2056d ago

...except if you want to play a game online a couple of years later and not being able to, hence from getting all the trophies.
I’m not obsessed with getting every achievement/trophy but if I like the game I may try to. I’m simply being punished for not discovering the game earlier.

agnosticgamer2056d ago

Most games... minus complete failures last much...much longer online than I believe you are giving credit for...

OneEyedSteve2056d ago (Edited 2056d ago )

Half of these are false .. The Evolve one can still unlocked... Ghostbusters is only unachievable on PS3 its still online on 360.. Destiny 2 one is only unobtainable for a while as said by bungie... GTAV one can still be unlocked too in a private game. And the Black Ops 3 one can still be unlocked using a few different methods. Guy who wrote this is clueless.

Majors2056d ago

When a games server goes offline then they should allow users to create their own p2p servers to keep these games active. They should also unlock or delete the trophies from any list to those who havent got them.

darthv722056d ago

I can think of a few honorable mentions. there is one for smartglass seeing as smartglass is now defunct. there is also ones for 1v100 and dorito crash course 2 since both of those games are also defunct.

Show all comments (16)
350°

Ready at Dawn’s Deformers is shutting down on August 9th

Ready At Dawn has announced that it will be shutting down the servers for its physics-based arena brawler, Deformers, in its Western and European markets on August 9th. According to the team, Deformers was no longer financially viable in the West and in Europe, which is why it decided to shut down its servers.

Read Full Story >>
dsogaming.com
yellowgerbil2257d ago

That game looked like a April fools prank after the order. Would be like naughty dog making state of decay instead of tlou

narsaku2256d ago

Outside of in-engine graphic fidelity The Order 1886 was a horrible game, one of this generation's worst. I'm not saying Deformers was a blockbuster hit, or that great, but it was at least more of a game than 1886's CGI hallway was.

Nodoze2256d ago

I rather enjoyed The Order. The setting was fantastic. The gameplay could use some tweaking for sure, but what was on offer was good. The world needs another game set in this universe.

KOIMOJO2256d ago

@nodoze Yeah, as someone who really values cool settings, tone, characters and stuff like that I absolutely loved the order and think it was a great starting point that they could add more mechanics and systems around. Really hope Sony decides to save them from having to make more Deformers-like games. I still believe this studio can thrive with a big budget.

coolbeans2256d ago (Edited 2256d ago )

I've actually had a review resting on this for a while too. My mindset was similar to your own: jumping from an overly-constrained, dreary shooter to a bounce-house brawler looked like a great direction for them (if only as a diversion).

EDIT: In fact, I think I'm going to invest time to finish it!

MarineLineman2256d ago

Did you actually play the game to develop that opinion? The Order was far from a horrible game; it was definitely short, and didn’t need those couple of chapters that were nothing more than cutscenes, but the gameplay, the gun mechanics, the overall story, the setting/ environment, and the voice acting were all top notch. The insanely good graphics go without say. Nothing about it was broken, and everything worked extremely well. Nothing that a bigger and better resourced team couldn’t fix in a potential sequel to make an actually fantastic game.

NotanotherReboot2256d ago

Yep, The Order is epitome of all things wrong with linear SP games

Godmars2902256d ago

@Nodoze:
The issue is that as a big budget AAA it failed to deliver. Didn't make enough to justify sequel, yet the people who liked it feel justified in asking for one as if it had performed well. Willfully miss the point

Gaming_1st2256d ago

@narsaku

I feel the hate in your blood, let it consume you and come to the darkside.

bouzebbal2256d ago

It's RAD's first full scale project and we should encourage them.
The game wasn't bad at all.
It was short, YES!
It had no replayability value, YES!

it is however a very good foundation for a more ambitious sequel.