There are so many ways players can train in shooting games. Some people can recommend playing games like Aim Hero, some other players can recommend you to just play shooting games and hone your skills with each match. However, I believe that some games can fulfill that intention without necessarily seeking out to do so in the first place.
One such game is Drone Strike Force, a game that manages to be a great learning experience for players to learn how to aim towards targets at different altitudes while at the same time having an ambitious set of controls that are easy to learn and hard to master. This game sets out to be a fresh idea that could definitely become much better in the near future.
The game is set in the middle of the 21st century. Soldiers and corporations are basically battling out against each other with the help of tactical drones to claim control of cities that have been ravaged by global warming. Thus, it’s no surprise that most of the battlegrounds in the game are usually deserted ruins of cities with multiple skyscrapers.
The game is more of a multiplayer experience that requires input from other players. The game makes a strong emphasis on situational awareness, player tactics, and open level design. There are also multiple types of drones that can actually perform different functions that make them unique to each other.
So far, there are three types of drones that the user can play with from the get-go: The Sky Reaper which is a standard “Jack of all trades” kind of aircraft; The Raptor 1000 which is diminutive in size, making it amazing for stealth combat; and the Megadon M9X a large craft that’s slow but can pack quite the punch when used right.
Every drone can be equipped with 2 different kinds of weapons. Some are slow, sniper-like weapons that can do massive damage. Some other weapons are automatic and offer high fire rates at the cost of damage. Some weapons (like the Repair Beam) can actually provide Support functions that allow players to remain healed and ready for combat.
Players can also equip items and perks to help them during battle. Some perks require to be manually activated with the push of a button while some others are passive. There’s a leveling system for each drone you use that allows players to develop their aircrafts to become better and to have a wider variety of weapons and perks.
Each game provides the player with some credits after the match. Credits can be used to unlock new skins, drones, and weapons. Leveling up your drones (and account) allows players to gather Research Points that will enable them to unlock more Perks for their favorite drone category.
The game is primarily made for multiplayer skirmishes in King of the Hill matches. Although more game modes and gameplay elements will be added in future patches. The draw for this game seems to be to have skirmishes against enemy drones in a multiplayer environment.
I must say that 1-v-1 confrontations have taught me a lot about how to fight and perform optimally in Death Matches (DM). When DMing, the enemy drones can take on a variety of altitudes and it’s up to the player to either confront or fly away. However, if the latter is chosen, staying away from conflict for too long will cause the player drone to automatically explode, forcing a respawn of 10 seconds.
During direct encounters, I have faced a lot of smart opponents who often tried to go for high approaches and then lowering themselves. It helps players learn how to focus on enemies from different altitudes. I’d say that this is a really good way to train your aiming skills because most of the weapons in Drone Strike Force reward players that have good awareness and know how to land their shots.
It’s not that hard to get the hang of things either. You move around with WASD, aim with your mouse, and then go higher and lower with the Spacebar and CTRL respectively. You can also perform a boost that will increase your overall speed by pressing and holding the Shift key.
Using secondary abilities with Q can aid you in some fashion by allowing the player to make mini-turrets that will attack enemies at a radius one at a time or by deploying a mini-drone that can heal the player. Players also have access to an ultimate ability that charges every 60 seconds which can be used by pressing F.
Using these Ultimate abilities can pretty much decide who wins the confrontation between two players. However, these attacks can also be dodged and, in turn, negated. I definitely respect this approach because it makes Ultimate attacks useful yet not game changers or “I Win” buttons.
Unfortunately, the praise I have towards the game is almost negated by one of the most unfortunate aspects surrounding it: The Playerbase itself. Drone Strike Force can have a very stingy time in terms of finding other players to fight against.
In fact, the major problem I have with Drone Strike Force is the fact that I simply cannot find any other players to play with most of the time. I’ve had queues go on for over 10 minutes each, only to be faced with the same player I fought half an hour ago. Very rarely did I ever find myself playing in games with more than 4 total players. It’s a shame because I definitely see how this game can work when players find themselves in fights against multiple players.
Another one of this game’s problems has to do with the overall pace. When playing in KOTH maps, players need to wait for the capture to successfully be performed before moving away. Once done, the rival team needs to clear the point, undo the capture entirely, and then wait for the point to be captured by their side. This feels like a decision made towards being different for the sake of being different.
Not helping things is the fact that Respawn times take an eternity as a result of this choice. 10 seconds is way too long of a Respawn time, ESPECIALLY for encounters with fewer players. It reduces the chances of a comeback as well. This design aspect confuses me because the rest of the game seems to be built with fast-paced mechanics in mind.
Overall, I think that Drone Strike Force still has quite a long way to go before becoming a really good multiplayer game. While the game has very powerful strengths, the lack of single-player modes, the lack of freedom to play with at least a group of bots in multiplayer, and the very small playerbase is enough to make me go against recommending purchasing this game in its current state.
However, I believe that the team can turn this right around and further develop Drone Strike Force to make it the game that every shooter fan can use to fully practice their DM skills.
This first impression is based on an Early Access build of the game provided by the developers