REVIEW: ShootOut

ShootOut (80 MSP) is an FPS trainer, glorified target practice. It’s true the market has its share already, even more true that you’re the best at what you do (no one doubts your skill… honest) but the game does come with a few substantial advantages over its competitors, chiefly, the Firing Range series from Milkstone.

Probably the biggest boon the game has going for it is the ability to move around the levels, outright eliminating one of the most consistent critiques I’ve had about the sub-genre, which often has you just standing stationary, sniping targets in a static environment. That ShootOut‘s graphics are pretty sharp doesn’t hurt either. There are some minor framerate issues, though it’s nice to see the developer’s previous game and engine, for UnBound, put to a more mainstream (and likely more successful) use. The water looks lovely, as always.

The number of available arenas, too, is impressive. No lazy ‘day and night’ settings here to cover up a lack of content. You get 10 Score Attack levels across 10 maps of varied terrain and lighting, and six weapon challenge stages, which have different setups and conditions for victory (some are based on time, score, or destroying all targets) that are designed around the ‘strength’ of the equipped gun.

Achieving a certain overall point total while playing Score Attack unlocks additional weapons and their respective challenge stage, with a Call of Duty-like assortment of assault rifles and SMGs (Thompson, PP-91, Kriss, etc.) to be had at higher tiers. These naturally have a few trade-offs between them, like a higher accuracy rating paired with a decreased magazine size, for instance. It shouldn’t take you any longer than an hour to unlock all the guns, although there are time-intensive challenges with medals to be earned (over 50) for specific feats.

A flooded target range; impractical but aesthetically neat.

It’s not a perfect incarnation, of course. A minimap that shows the relative layout of targets within each arena would be ideal (a few hard-to-spot signs persist), as would a ‘run’ button. None of the levels are what I would call ‘sprawling’, but it is a bit annoying to lumber around corners or paths, seeing the distant targets fully but unable to move any faster towards them. A few of the heavier guns, such as my personal go-to, the M4A1, even slow you down further when equipped. Mentionable offenses, but far from a crime or misstep.

Nothing here will take the place of a storyline, mowing down foot soldiers in the name of cleansing some ancient evil or taking down an empire, but for a game functioning strictly as target practice, with a little more depth and options than Milkstone’s releases, ShootOut is a good alternative.

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