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by Rob Williams on May 31, 2006 in Gaming

One of the best things about Auto Assault, is that you can finally strap yourself into a cool looking vehicle and wreck stuff! Does AA have what it takes to become a long lasting MMO, or will it run out of gas early?

Introduction

Destruction! You know you love it. Even if you don’t admit it. When NCSoft first released the idea of an MMO game that had vehicles at the primary source of getting around and killing, there was a lot of skepticism. I was not excused from that. I thought it was a crazy idea.. but who knows, it might just work. I’ve played all of NCSoft’s titles, and each one has been unique in it’s own way. City of Heroes had similar skepticism when it was announced, but it has a very active online community.

Generally, most MMORPG’s are not -that- different from one another. They all have multiple classes, a questing system, experience points and levels, clans and monster killing. Take everything from your typical Medieval online game, such as Lineage II, and replace everything with cars. Throw it in a blender and you have what’s known as Auto Assault.

I wrote a first impressions article on the game a few weeks ago. That article was to give a general idea of what I thought about the game after the first week. Since that review, I have leveled up a bit more, explored deeper and trolled forums to see just what else this game has to offer.

Deeper with Auto Assault

As mentioned in the intro, Auto Assault is, and isn’t your typical MMORPG. Just as you would expect, the general aspect of leveling is going for a drive and killing everything you pass. Think of it as an online Destruction Derby, but far better looking. When I went into the game for the first time, I was quite surprised by how much the game reminded me of City of Heroes. Not the theme itself, but the UI and character creation. The heads-up display also reminded me quite a bit of the game. This is a good thing though really, because I was pretty impressed with both CoH and CoV.

The character creation was quite interesting to play with. Reminiscent of CoH, the options to customize your character are near limitless. You can not only choose the colors, but your height and build of your character. Of course, you can tailor your vehicle to your liking also. While each class has it’s own set style of vehicles, you can customize the color and other such things right off the bat. You can further customize it by looting or crafting new parts. Not only will your vehicle be a wicked killing machine, it’s going to look pimp.

There are only a few races in the game, but each one are very unique, whether it be their physical attributes or the look of their homeland. What is similar between the races though, are the classes available. There are a total of four classes, and each race has each one of those to choose from. They will just be named something different. As always, each class has a special purpose. Because I like destruction and only destruction, I chose to be a Human Bounty Hunter.

Like most MMO games, you begin out in a training area to learn the game a little bit. This was actually quite fun, primarily because you can level up as you go through it. In no time though, you are free to go out into the main world and start kicking butt and leveling up.

Right off the bat, you will be introduced to a new contact to begin a mission. Quests are called Missions in AA, but function basically the same. All missions begin with a NPC who gives you directions to go do something, whether it be killing so many of said monster, collecting some samples or defeating a boss mob. Missions sometimes roll right into each other also. Once you finish one, the same NPC may have another immediately available.

Missions are also one of the primary aspects of the game that will help level you up. Some quests, as you can expect, award you items. In this case, they could be new vehicle upgrades, or even some rations to use out in the battlefield. Even the missions that award you items will still give you XP. Needless to say, you better like questing if you want to level quickly ;)

All the way up to my level 21 status, I didn’t have to go out and ‘grind’ monsters for experience to level. Missions did a fantastic job of that. However, before I left off, I was finding missions harder and harder to find. Many missions I stumbled upon could not be soloed, and if they could be, it wouldn’t be until I was much higher level. I expect that I was missing out on an entire area or overlooking something, because I have not heard of having trouble finding missions until far later into the game.

What the game also offers, which is somewhat unexpected to some, is a crafting system. It’s not a small, simple system either. It’s a full fledged system that you must use in order to understand and further your crafting skills. I didn’t get too much into crafting, but I did throw together around 20 finished products. It’s rather simplistic at first, but it will be more tedious and time consuming later on in the game. Especially if you have to go out and grind for a specific component used in a recipe.

One thing that lacks in Auto Assault is a good story. In fact, I really don’t know what the story is. Fact is, the game was meant for jumping in and destroying things, and it’s a good thing, because it’s fun as heck. During your journey, you can destroy almost anything in the game. This could include small buildings, fences, barrels, towers, walls and so much more. Sure it sounds fun… but you have to play it to understand just how gratifying it is. Not only is it fun, but you can also earn salvage for use in crafting from destroying things.

As you play, you can also unlock medals.. appropriately named. These medals will be displayed in a panel, but cannot be shown to other players. Unless you screenshot them, of course. What these medals can signify, is just how much time you have wasted in the game! For instance, I unlocked a medal for completing 250 missions. As you progress, you will unlock new medals to earn. This is not an important part of the game, but it’s somewhat gratifying to see all of the medals you have unlocked.