XField Paintball 3 brings us what it thinks is an eSports experience but instead supplies nothing more than buyer’s remorse and a quick check of the calendar to see what year you’re in.
The first thing you’re met with is grey choices galore. Want to look at equipment? Nope, greyed out! Want to play a ranked match? Nope, greyed out! Want to participate in a tournament? Nope, nope, nope! I had to double check if the game was in early access. It’s still in development, and it has been pushed out of the door with a price tag that would make you weep if you knew what lurked beneath.
It’s a shame because it does have promise, the eSports vibe brings that Search and Destroy style tension that would usually bring you back for more and more. The maps are designed around actual paintball tournament arenas, so it feels authentic. Sadly everything else just serves to anchor it down into the darkened depths of Steam obscurity.
Watch the XField Paintball 3 trailer below:
The controls suck, and you can’t reliably remap keys, I kept flicking between the menus to double check my controls because they didn’t work properly. Your character moves as if he has just been hit by a truck and his legs were both broken. Games will just end abruptly without any semblance of a ‘kill-cam’, there is a map screen that shows you where you were shot from after the fact, but it’s too late by that point. I understand that you don’t want to give the other team the advantage by having a team member eliminated and then telling the rest of his team where the opponents are over chat. I get that. But wherever you’re hit your screen splats with paint as if you were shot in the face. It just doesn’t make sense for a supposed simulator.
When you get into a game, if you’re even able to [I found it hard to even get into a match], you can give out commands to your squad with individual icons so those without headsets can get involved with the tactical side. This sounds great, but again, it doesn’t work properly. You’re supposed to drag and drop the icons, but I couldn’t get any of them to work. I was only able to place one marker to say where I was planning to run. The only really interesting part is the tactical gameplay and like most of the parts, it doesn’t work properly.
Games can quickly devolve into continuously shooting over the inflatable cover and hoping to get a lucky elimination. I fear this is because the tactics screen doesn’t work and there is no tutorial to speak of. You are chucked into an online game and expected to understand the minutia of its stiff controls while other players sprint towards you, trigger permanently fused down.
View some XField Paintball 3 screenshots in our gallery:
The graphics would have looked appropriate for the PS2, and because this is an action-simulator, it has to give extra attention to immersion. The janky character models and lacklustre environments don’t make me feel like I’m in a paintball tournament. The sound design consists of the constant peppering of paintballs and not much else. Where is the simulation? You could mod any existing shooter, and you’ll have a more accurate representation of the paintball experience.
XField Paintball isn’t ready for mass consumption, that’s a fact. It should stay in development for a couple more years to make sure that the gameplay is not only refined but functioning. When your game can’t handle simple button remapping or matchmaking, then you know that it’s not ready. With a price tag of £24.99, it’s unacceptable. In early access this game would have made more sense, the fans of paintball would have supported it, and then the caveat of early access would have given the consumer some breathing room to expect more features. Full retail? I don’t think so. Not when you can get CS: GO for £11.99. The tournament season is coming up, and its early release was almost definitely aimed to capitalise on it. There is a potentially good game here, but at the moment it stays firmly as just that. Potential.
XField Paintball 3 was reviewed using a digital code supplied by the publisher.
Publisher: XField Paintball Studio Developer: XField Paintball Studio Release Date: May 30, 2017 Reviewed On: PC/Steam