metal core is a next free online open world mech game inspired by Planet Side 2 and battlefield. It offers tons of customization options, ranging from different classes to loadouts and of course, giant mechs. metal coremuch like Battle Royale games, takes place on a large open-world map, but instead of implementing elimination-type mechanics, it features live events all over the world, encouraging players to move to specific locations at any time. metal core will also use NFTs in the final version, but at this stage it is unclear if they will be fully integrated at the time of the game’s release. At PAX West 2022, Reverse got hands-on metal core, and while the NFTs still seem a little dodgy and unspecific, the gameplay itself is promising.
Ambition and promise
metal coreThe general gameplay loop of is ambitious, immersing players in a huge open world to participate in various events that change periodically. As part of the PAX West demo, players had access to a domination-style event, which tasked them with capturing different points on the map. Throughout the event, players were able to use a wide variety of mechs, from fast land ships to massive tanks and even flying ships.
You start on foot and have to manually enter one of the mechs, which spawn near your base. In the demo there were a limited number of mechs available to all players from a shared pool, but in the full version you will have access to your own set with loadouts you create. It pays to have many different loadout types at your base to deal with all the different enemy mechs that might attack you.
While the demo only gave players access to the domination objective, developer Studio 369 said Reverse that other events will appear frequently in the full version, including those similar to MMO raids. These different events come and go, encouraging players to jump in at specific times. But because everything is constantly in motion, it feels like a living, breathing world.
Room for adjustments
While engaging in battles against AI bots and other players is certainly fun, there was a lot of downtime in our experience, especially when it came to waiting for the countdown respawn timers. Even the ride from your base to the action was blatant. For much of the demo, there was a disproportionate amount of waiting compared to combat.
Sure, that’s the kind of stuff that could be cured by increased player counts and launch server stability, but still.
The weapons available in the demo did not use ammo, but rather energy that recharges over time. You can fire your weapon as long as you have energy, but once it reaches zero you have to wait for it to recharge. I encountered many situations where I ran out of energy in the middle of a firefight, which was frustrating. The basic premise of constantly reloading ammo is nice, but there needs to be some serious tweaking or some other mechanic to help balance things out.
VSconsider metal core is still in a pre-alpha state, many of these minor issues can certainly be ironed out, as the developer is still tweaking various mechanics ahead of launch.
A glaring flaw
Minor gameplay issues are those that can be adjusted, but the game’s NFTs, which are basically built into metal core‘s DNA, could become problematic in the full version.
The PAX West demo didn’t showcase NFTs, so it’s unclear how they’ll work in practice, but based on what Studio 369 explained to Reverseit looks like the developer is still figuring out how monetization will play out.
Design Director Jon Cooper says Reverse NFTs are “not just cosmetic” and will impact gameplay. NFTs include various classes of infantry, tanks, aircraft, and mechs.
But the team says it plans to keep things as fair as possible. NFTs “will be balanced so that metal core will certainly avoid being ‘pay to win’,” says Cooper.
Studio 369 also says users will be able to earn NFTs just by playing, without spending any money. These in-game items can be transferred to other players and sold in-game – or at least that’s the current plan. Since Reverse couldn’t see these NFTs or specific examples of them during the demo, it’s hard to say if they will indeed be as balanced as Studio 369 says they are.
metal core is aiming for a full PC release in 2023.