God Factory: Wingmen Review
Itâs been more than a decade since I have played some pretty excellent space combat simulation games such as Wing Commander Prophesy and Starlancer. Playing GoD Factory: Wingmen thus felt like a nostalgic return to the genre for me. GoD Factory is primarily a multiplayer 4 on 4 space shooter game where the objectiveÂ is to beÂ the first to reduceÂ the opponentâs carrier integrity to zero. While it can simply be played as a traditional space shooter where you just simply concentrate on obliterating enemy gunships as the opposing carrier ships blasts their cannons at each other repeatedly in the background until both carriers are simultaneously destroyed, victory can be achieved much more quickly by destroying key structures on the enemyâs carrier.
As you advanced through the ranks, higher tier gunship parts become available to you.
On launch, the game starts by presenting you with a choice of four possible gunships, each gunship from one of four different species (Humans, Guantris, ArblosÂ and Chorions), of which you get to choose two. Each of the speciesâ gunships have strengths and weaknesses of their own; for instance human gunships are designedÂ to excel in hit-and-run tactics, hence one of their gunshipsâ special abilities is the ability to activate a decoy ship to confuse an enemy or throw them off their tail. Human gunships unfortunately also have lower shield capacities, which are somewhat compensated for by a faster shield regeneration rate and more gunship agility and speed. GuantrisÂ gunships are somewhat more balanced between speed and damage output, and have the abilityÂ to switch between âalphaâ and âomegaâ modes in order toÂ toggle between ship stats to suit the situation. Arblos gunships are madeÂ for a more aggressive style, emphasising damage output over speed and agility; while lastly Chorios gunships are made for a somewhat more defensive approach.
Once you have chosen your two starting gunships, there is no way for you to revisit your choices, although you wonât need to: as you earn more credits (through playing more matches) you can assemble up to ten additionalÂ ships deriving from any of the four species, for a total of twelve. Regardless of the number of gunships you assemble, you can only elect to have exactly two âdefaultâ gunships at anyone time with which to use during match games.
Joining and completing matches (you can also play a âsoloâ game consisting entirely of bots) is essential to gaining experience and in-game credits. While credits are self-explanatory, experience contributes towards levelling up your in-game rank, as well as improving your mastery of gunship components, such as weapons and shield generators. As you gain sufficientÂ mastery in a componentÂ higher âmarkâ versions are unlockedÂ which you can then purchaseÂ in the shop to equip on your gunship. Achieving higher game ranks (ranging from ârookieâ at level 1 through to âstarâ at level 7) also makes higher tier equipment available for purchase.
One thing that may disappoint some gamers is GoD Factory: Wingmenâs lack of a game mode other than multiplayer: indeed the wholeÂ game focus is entirely on multiplayer team versus team; as such there is no single player campaign or story mode with which to acquaint the player in its lore and history. Who are the other 3 mysterious races: Chorios, AblosÂ and Guantris? How do they look like? What instigated this galactic war that got all 4 races involved?
Â âUse the force Luke!â. Destroying the Carrier shipâs core requires coordination with your team mates.
Nonetheless, GoD Factory: Wingmenâs Quick Match feature makes it easy to find online players with just the click of a button; you are randomly connected to a game that is awaiting sufficient players. Unfortunately GoD Factory does not yet have a straightforward way of creating a friends-only âprivateâ game; it is either the Quick Match button which hooks you up with random strangers looking to play, or you can manually select a game from a list of available games; hopefully Nine Dots Studio eventually includes the ability to create password protected âprivateâ games, or to invite your friends from your steam contacts list.
Once an online match starts, you are immediately taken toÂ the interior of your teamâs carrier dock and then choose to launch a gunship from the list of gunships available to you and your teammates. Yes, you can attempt to launch a gunship that doesnât belong to you; however this initiates a mutual gunship sharing request to the owner of the gunship to share your ships with each other that persists for the entire duration of the match. One motivationÂ for doing so is because once your two default gunships are destroyedÂ during the course of the match, only weaker drone gunship versions for the gunshipâs species become available; these are inferior to your original default gunships in every way, and where every little bit of advantage counts during the heat of combat, it might be a good idea to loan the use of one of your teammateâs still functioning spare default gunships to pilot into the tide of battle.
The game ends when one of, or both teamsâ, carrier shipâs seven âintegrityâ points are reducedÂ to zero, causing it to explode in an exciting display of fireworks. Each of the carriers are equippedÂ with a cannon that blasts away at the opposing teamâs carrier at a regular intervals, reducing each ofÂ the carrierâs integrity points by one every 3 minutes. What this means is that even without any intervention from the players, a match will eventually end after 21 minutes as both carriers are simultaneously destroyed; however the victor in such a case is determined upon which team destroyed more enemy gunships than the other.
Causing the enemyâs carrier ship to beÂ destroyed before yours does requires some tactical thought. There are several key structural components on each carrier that when destroyed, instantly causes one point of integrity damage to the carrier, and also bestows a disadvantage to the carrierâs team, however these structures have a high amount of durability and regenerate over time, hence a joint attack on a key structure is always a good idea. For instance, destroying a carrierâs radar not only causes one point of integrity damage to the carrier but it also causes all gunships belonging to that team to suffer a reduction in range at which their HUD enemy indicators will function; destroying the force field generator causes all orange force fields on the carrier (in addition to the one point of structural damage to the carrier), paving the way for you to infiltrate the enemy carrierâs inner sanctum via one of two possible side tunnels to reach its Core (another key structure).
Is that a bird or a plane?
Destroying the core causes two points of integrity damage to a carrier instead of one; hence it makes for an extremely attractive target for an opposing team. However it is the fastest regenerating carrier structure in the game and requires a coordinatedÂ effort by all your team mates to pull off the destruction ofÂ an enemy carrier shipâs core successfully. I personallyÂ find it both an exhilarating and rewarding experience to execute a âdestroy the force field, then the coreâ tactical run, somewhat like taking part in a climactic battle scene from a sci-fi space movie, like the destruction of the Death star in Star Wars.
Of course you can simply just focus on dogfights, leaving the carriers to pummel at each other with their cannons while you pummel at the opposing teamâs gunships the good old fashion way. For this, there are a number of tools and a variety of gun types at your disposal, depending on how you have your gunships set up.
The graphics work well and are beautiful to behold, from inspiring gigantic space statues to the realistic metallic sheen of gunship wings, and while the game supports the use ofÂ the Oculus VR goggles, I havenât been able to test that feature out as I do not have the privilege of owning one. Sounds are great and sound as they should, from the fiery blast from your gunshipâs thrusters as it boosts past full speed, to the screech of failing circuits as your gunship croaks its last, against an equally heart pounding sound track to go with the relentless action.
All in all, the strongest aspect that stands out about GoD Factory: Wingmen is its rewarding and enjoyable strategic game-play and the exhilarating feeling of space combat which it successfully executes. While the community at present seem to beÂ a friendly bunch, there doesnât appear to be more than 30 to 40 people online at a time at its peak, something that hopefully improves as the game gains more exposure and players; which is a shame because GoD Factory is a game that definitely entertains and delivers, and without a doubt deserves a bigger reception and crowd. With that said, GoD Factory: Wingmen is excellent, and certainly a worthy addition to any space-shooter aficionadoâs Steam game library.