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Karma: Operation Barbarossa CBT Hands-On Preview

by: William Usher ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 5/25/2012 • Leave a comment

The World War II themed, zombie first-person shooter by ijji, Karma: Operation Barbarossa, is still in closed beta but here's a preview of what you can expect from this original MMOFPS.

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    Brothers In Arms Meets Left 4 Dead

    The game has a gritty feel to it   The latest first-person shooter for massive multiplayer online gamers is Karma: Operation Barbarossa. This game fuses in the themes and elements from the likes of Gearbox’s award-winning Brothers In Arms, but with all the frantic action from Valve’s fast-paced Left 4 Dead. What you get is a simulation style shooter with a lot of arcade fun.

    Much like other games in the lobby-based MMOFPS genre, Karma features support for up to 16 players per round and focuses mainly on PvP, even in the PvE modes.

    Right now the game only has a few game modes, a handful of weapons and not a lot of other options. Nevertheless, that’s what you have to expect from a closed-beta test; the game isn’t complete yet. With that said, Karma is still more polished and paced better than a lot of other free online shooters out there and seems to share a lot of visual and play mechanics from Alliance of Valiant Arms.

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    Game Modes

    The recoil will probably get both teammate and foe   During CBT, the game featured free-for-all deathmatch on a single map, team deathmatch on a single map, team demolition on a single map, and annihilation which actually happened to be available on two maps.

    For the most part, the game plays out like any other standard-fare online shooter in most of the modes with the exception of annihilation. Instead of just doing deathmatch or trying to blow up an enemy base within a set time limit, the annihilation mode pits two teams against each other and a horde of zombies to disrupt both teams at all times. This is not only an extremely intense mode but it also happens to be one of the most fun ways to experience a first-person shooter in any game.

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    The Weapons

    Don't get caught reloading by the zombies...they'll eat you   To better explain how the game and weapons function, you might have to picture that it’s a cross between the weapon and simulation effects of Brothers in Arms, but with the frantic arcade-like zombies from Left 4 Dead. So far, the developers have done an amazing job balancing out the weapons to look and feel like age-old, metal projectile devices. Against the zombies, the weapons feel extremely effective, and players who master headshots can down the undead in droves with just a single clip.

    Another noteworthy thing is that reloading isn’t just there to be there, it’s actually a pivotal gameplay element that can make or break a win when playing annihilation or any of the deathmatch modes. Players who are keen on teamwork will find it efficient to take turns pumping lead into risen soldiers in order to prevent the fateful occurrence of everyone having to reload all at the same time.

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    Game Balance

    I feel sorry for whoever has to clean the walls afterward   One of the biggest problems in a lot of online shooter games is that they lack the appropriate balance between weapon types, maps, classes and specialty items. So far, Karma seems to have things ironed out quite nicely, with the few available weapons giving players a good measure of pros and cons. The heavy machine gun is slow to turn but is a deathtrap if you get caught in the crosshairs. The other two German machine guns give players a mix of ammo capacity versus damage. And the secondary weapons, the pistol and sub machine gun, are another good example of killing power versus clip size.

    The maps, while few, offer players a nice variety from corridor laboratories and castle halls, to outdoor factories and a large base camp featuring an upper level and a lower basement sub-section. All the stages are finely tuned for the various character classes and weapons, and each are fun in their own right.

    If the game continues to progress with balanced gameplay precision based on how it is at the moment, it’s bound to be a great addition to the MMOFPS genre.

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    The Verdict

    Teammates are essential for beating the zombies   This game shows exceptional polish to be in closed-beta. There’s minor graphical issues with the shaders but the game still looks pretty good and could potentially come out rivaling the visual likes of ijji’s own Alliance of Valiant Arms. Also, the inventory was disabled, but overall the game seems to be coming along nicely. The only other thing to note was that it appears that Karma may use a special item feature that allows players to load two items into their character slot, which can range from improving movement speed to increasing defense. Again, a lot of things still aren’t cemented yet but it’ll be nice to see how it all turns out in the end.

    Closed-beta officially ends for Karma: Operation Barbarossa on December 21st. Gamers can learn more about this free-to-play MMOFPS by paying a visit to the Official Website.

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