REVIEW: Avatar Honor and Duty

With all the recent focus on fictional wars set in the near and distant future, fighting with frighteningly impersonal technology through even more frightening dystopias that’ll depress anybody’s outlook on life, Strange GamesAvatar Honor and Duty ($1.00) recalls that Great War where we first learned to love shooting total strangers in the face from the comfort (and complete safety) of our bedrooms— World War II.

Avatar Honor and Duty - Screen

Set in a nameless European village that borrows its color scheme and style from the developer’s previous FPS, Paintball War, and starring everyone’s ridiculously-dressed avatars, AHAD (sounds like a type of disorder, I know) once again melds a condensed indie design with Call of Duty’s highly-addictive multiplayer component. The result is a fast-paced, fun shooter that almost makes you forget it’s a tad derivative.

The usual drill applies. Matches can involve up to 16 players in a free-for-all format. Guns (and their attachments) are walled behind preset level requirements that you unlock the more points (via kills) that you earn. You can equip two perks at a time, and they are similarly doled out as you progress, giving you specific bonuses and boosts to skills or your weaponry, like faster reloads and increased running stamina. AHAD‘s armory contains guns representative of the era, with a carbine rifle, machine gun, and sniper rifle among the lot.

Killstreaks return as well, offering you the standard assortment of rewards for achieving and maintaining a hot streak, like radar, dual-wield, and so on, with you able to call in an artillery strike at the last step. Should you survive that long. The map favors close-quarters fighting, with groups clustered near the open areas or alleys leading to them. It’s chaotic in a good way, though, forcing confrontation and keeping the playing field level, with no one player able to really dominate without drawing the attention of nearby shooters. That quickened pace suits the controls, which may take some getting used to, stressing run and gun over ‘stop and pop’ precision.

Avatar Honor and Duty - Screen2

The online code is generally reliable. Joining a match can prove difficult at times (and you can be dropped unceremoniously), but I had a mostly uneventful play experience in each of the matches I found, with only a few hints of lag or dreadfully-bad hit detection, which largely came in whenever multiple people joined or left the round. There is also some problems with combatants sinking into floors or glitching into walls. I have to mention it, but you should know that it’s a small issue in the grand scheme.

All in all, Avatar Honor and Duty is an easy recommendation to make for those constantly looking for a new indie FPS to gravitate towards. Despite the throwback to a technologically-simpler time, it can and will feel like any other generic first person shooter. Don’t expect a revolution in design. If you measure a game’s worth by the amount of fun it provides, though, you’ll find ample value here.

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18 thoughts on “REVIEW: Avatar Honor and Duty”

  1. Well, I personally think the best multiplayer FPS are Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament. Halo is an ok game, its just I dont like it, but the reason I hate it is because it became the blueprint of all multiplayer FPS. I remember when I was a lad, playing Quake 3 online on my Dreamcast, those days are gone. Is like Skyrim, wayyyy overated, is a fun game to pass time, yes, but that game is not even on my top 20.
    I not even got gold, I dont know why Im whining.

    I think Astralis developer should do more work on advertising, (personal opinion, not telling anyone how to do things) I heard about the game by mistake, between you and me Tim, the Xbox indie developers not do very well at promoting their games, why not release a video showing Commissar taking decisions, a boss fight… such an ambitious game, and the ppl that will give them money know so little about it. Killroy and Gnawwman did a good job promoting their game, other indies should follow. I think the earlier you show the better, unlike AAA that is the other way around, indies are hard to spot. Ubisoft is doing a fantastic job with Watch Dogs and those videos . Now, I will inject myself with some Eve and beat the crap of a Big Daddy… from very far far away.

    -IndieManwhoreGamer
    If you suck, even your mom will know (pictures included).

    1. Hey! No dragging console FPS games into the argument. They’d almost always win over indie, since they can’t offer nearly as much content as the big companies (except maybe for Blood & Bacon).

      Advertising I agree on. There’s plenty of developers that should do more. If I’m contacting you, seeing if I can ‘pimp’ your game to the public, you’re doing it wrong. The guys behind Astralis are doing a better job than most, though. They’re regularly updating and posting screenshots over at their Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/AstralisGame) and are definitely getting the word out whenever they can. I consider myself an honorary member of the team, so I’m always willing to spread the word on their behalf. 🙂

  2. I never tried Paintball War, but I have played Avatar Laser Wars 2 and Avatar Warfare. Sometimes I think the real purpose of an indie game should be to examine new approaches to gameplay or game ideas that large publishers haven’t (or can’t), but it seems there is a place for the multiplayer FPS as well. My main complaint with those previous titles was that they felt “floaty” and a bit disconnected – movement was a bit too smooth and not very abrupt; how does this compare?

    1. I actually like the controls in the Digital DNA Games’ shooters like ALW2 and AW. I consider them the ideal form that everyone else should aspire to. Strange Games’ take on FPS controls works well, with a little practice. They seem to be better suited for the quicker setup, like what you find in Doom and Quake, and AHAD continues that. Very few players stood in place or used ADS. You can tweak the sensitivity in the options, which I did, though I still find it to be more about speed than precision.

      Another FPS is up next for review (it plays like an Avatar version of Hunger Games), and the controls there feel slower (weighty) and precise. Depends on the developer, and all of these guys have those ‘set in their ways’ controls that some appreciate and others can’t get used to.

    2. That sounds good then. Both of those Digital DNA games were pretty good, but it should be interesting to try a different maker’s FPS. The Avatar Survival Game (I think that is what it is called) actually intrigues me a bit more because the weaponry appears to be more diverse and you have to actually go grab your weapon off the pile. I like that randomized element to shake players out of their comfort zone, even if they figure out ways around it or quickly adapt.

    3. Played a few rounds yesterday, and it was pretty fun & tense. Good diversity. Some strange happenings with the ‘leveling up’ system, but it’s a nice change.

    1. My favorite type of FPS deals with WWII. This would be interesting and fun to try. However I don’t play multiplayer and if this doesn’t have a good campaign for single player than don’t send me the code. If there is a fun single player campaign then I would love to have a code.

    2. Nada on the single-player, so I’ll hold the code. You can explore the map and try out the weapons, but there’s no AI to practice against. Paintball War had bots, but I guess the focus was for online-only in this one. Apologies. 😦

    3. Awesome! No need to apologize! Glad I put it out there like that otherwise it would have been a waste.

    4. I’ve played a bit on it now, and … it has the same floaty controls as the others. I particularly loathe that the jump button seems detached from reality (you can go airborne for far too long) and that steering yourself around takes quite a bit of getting used to (it appears you cannot move diagonally, and when you bump into an object you have to almost back off of it to move). I do like that you can shift from 1st to 3rd person if you’d like, but that HUD. Geez. It is almost as if they wanted to make sure you saw it. Considering it obstructs a good third of your screen – and since vision is about the most important thing in an FPS – it is less than ideal, even if boldly done.

    5. It’s probably because I’ve played so many of Strange Games’ titles now that I don’t notice those quirks as much, though they’re certainly valid concerns. I know I turn down the sensitivity when I play, and the turns can be a little unwieldy (part of the trade-off in playing a sped-up shooter, I guess). I didn’t really have a problem with the HUD, though. It didn’t cost me any kills / lives that I can remember. It stresses the killstreaks a little too much, maybe, but that could be so players don’t forget what they’ve earned.

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