Tag Archives: Paintball War

REVIEW: Paintball Wars 2

The original Paintball War came out at (what I consider to be) a turning point for first-person shooters on XBLIG, a time of enlightenment when developers really started to hit the mark in terms of control and design. It’s no surprise that the FPS flood doors swung wide open soon after. Almost two years on, we now get a sequel to one of the first FPS1 games I covered. And… very little has changed. Paintball Wars 2 ($1.00) definitely follows the adage ‘If it ain’t broke, why fix it?’, dropping you and up to fifteen others into a colorful (and familiar) online deathmatch, featuring everyone’s favorite non-lethal2 weapon— the paintball gun.

Paintball Wars 2 - Screen

And to be honest, part of me would agree with that adage. Paintball Wars 2 retains the same setup as its predecessor, letting you paint your foes on a single, medium or large-sized (according to player vote) map. The action is fast-paced3 and fun, with constant ‘duels’ springing up, avatars jumping over hedges and / or searching for a moment of respite underneath a bridge. Ammunition is once again strategically-scarce, though refills litter the battlefield. The arena here doesn’t have as much verticality as in the previous game, as the wide open spaces favor confrontation over positioning. If anything, this limits ‘sniping’, forcing players into close quarters.

Similar to the mainstream AAA shooters, the game offers up a ridiculously large slate of unlockables, gained via kills and leveling. You can choose from a number of typical perks and additional weapons, and attachments for said guns. This includes more accurate barrels and scopes, and some superficial customization stuff like gun camo. All in all, you’ll have plenty of rewards to earn in continually playing. Killstreak cards are awarded for successive kills (or can be found in the environment), doling out temporary bonuses like invulnerability or dual wield.

Paintball Wars 2 - Screen2

Online play has the usual small hiccups here and there, but the games I found were relatively lag-free… when I found them, that is. The bright side? You aren’t exactly held captive by the whims of the XBLIG community. One of the biggest pluses of this series has been the addition of AI bots4 offline. ‘Single-player’ features its own unlockable ranks and perks, helping to supplement the online half of the game when other players can’t be found. It’s a nice idea to increase its function and longevity.

It’s just all so familiar, with developer Strange Games taking zero risks, nor applying any lessons it might’ve picked up since the original’s release. Granted, it’s not bad if you’re looking for some madcap fun; just don’t expect to be wowed or confronted with anything new. Consider Paintball Wars 2 more of an ‘add-on map’ than a legitimate step forward for the series.


  1. Well, I suppose it should be considered a hybrid FPS / third-person view, but it’s much, much easier to play entirely in first-person. Be sure to change that option immediately. 
  2. Ha, say that to my left leg, which got butchered in a ‘real’ paintball match last year. ‘Only stings for a second‘, they said. My bruises would say otherwise. 
  3. Think of the game’s ‘flow’ as somewhere between Call of Duty and Unreal Tournament
  4. Albeit laughably easy to kill. 
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‘Paintball War’ Gets a Fresh Coat

After a lengthy hiatus, Strange Games Studios‘ avatar FPS Paintball War (review) has received its promised update by adding a second map, the idyllic and heavily-green country scenes you see in the screenshots below, soon to be covered in paint and dead bodies. It’s a much more open and expansive setting than the narrow streets and view-obstructing buildings of the original urban map.

For those of you that have leveled up to a decent rank (17+), a new weapon appears! The railgun, slow and drastically overpowered (i.e., awesome if it’s in your hands), is now available for your one-shotting pleasure. It’s predictably ideal in the wide sightlines of the new map, letting you take care of business from afar instead of getting your avatar’s clothes dirty in an up-close gunfight. Enjoy anonymity and being the troll of the battlefield, you’ve earned it.

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Paintball War - New Map

Paintball War - New Map2

REVIEW: Paintball War

Despite having just done this a month ago, I can’t be mad. It’s actually a good sign to see the indie first-person shooters on Xbox getting better at mimicking the feel of the larger retail games. They still have a ways to go in content and accessibility, but the gap is closing as of late. Paintball War (80 MSP) is another competent entry to add to the list, and it’s not the only FPS to fall back on paint or nerf guns as a means to an end. I guess developers feel that paintballs provide a non-violent solution to a violent concept, or maybe they’re just fans of Sherwin Williams’ very eco-unfriendly advertising.

By now you know the drill; assuming the persona of your avatar, you (and up to 15 others) battle it out over Live in a usually bright and multi-leveled arena map. In Paintball War, that map is called Avatar Town, and features the standard open spaces, back alleys, dead-ends, and rooftop vistas you’d expect in a shooter.

Using the formula popularized by those retail games we shall not mention, you level up, eventually gaining access to better guns (you start with a single-fire, unlimited ammo gun, but improve to an assault rifle or SMG early on, both of which will need quick refills after use), weapon skins and attachments, and special taunts. Achieving a certain amount of kills in a row grants you perks (killstreaks) that include recon, dual-wield, invisibility, and a ‘paint strike’ (think ‘mortars’), either dropped on your position or guided to a location. These ‘perks’ are also found in-level, in the form of cards that respawn on a timer after being picked up.

The biggest difference and advantage that Paintball War holds over something like Avatar Laser Wars 2 (compared here because of their release proximity)is its ability for you to host an offline match against bots (ALW2 allows you to explore the stage, but there are currently no bots or plans to add them that I’m aware of). Granted the A.I. bots that are here are idiots (they run at walls or get stuck on stairs often), but it does allow you to level up at a steady clip (I reached level 15 in just over seven matches), pick up the cadence of the action, and learn the map’s layout and item drops before taking your talents online. Thankfully, offline unlock progress does not carry over, meaning you’ll have to earn your camos and attachments. No boosting, fellas.

Games like this are made for online play, naturally, and here, too, is where the existence of ALW2 tops Paintball War slightly. There’s certainly a subset of players that appreciate the chaotic, run-and-gun types like Doom and Unreal Tournament, and may be happy to see that in play in PW. The game tries to accommodate that style, and does so surprisingly well, but the controls aren’t as immediately responsive. The limited ammo before refills and short lifebars, too, don’t lend themselves to that fast-and-loose feel. That makes its mixture an acquired taste. (EDIT: A recent patch has tweaked the controls and adjusted ‘killstreak’ card spawns. The ammo in each clip has been increased, and you can now equip a shotgun.)

The online portion itself, though, runs pretty smoothly. I didn’t notice much lag at all (granted the most players I ever encountered at once were 7, and mostly at night), even with people joining in and dropping out, nor did I experience any freezing or dropped games over ten+ matches. This is a definite plus, and may mean more to you than content.

In the end, Strange Games Studios Paintball War isn’t a bad game at all, especially for a dollar, but with what’s come before it, it’s late to the party and isn’t bringing any side dishes you haven’t tasted before. It’s absolutely worth a look if you can’t get enough FPS in your life, but with the spotty available matches and random-feeling, run-and-gun nature, you’re really better off with ALW2, which does everything here (minus the bots), and just a little bit better.