DISCLAIMER – THIS GAME IS STILL IN DEVELOPMENT SO WHAT I’M SAYING HERE DOES NOT REPRESENT THE FINAL PRODUCT!
Every wondered what a future Manchester would look like with Mechs roaming around blowing stuff up? Ok, yea, I didn’t think there would be many of you. But that’s exactly what you get to do in the 3rd person shooter Beyond Flesh and Blood.
I don’t know why but the choice of Manchester as the setting seemed an odd one, but in reality it’s good that we’re not traipsing around the usually jaunts of New York, London, or LA. It’s nice to have a new setting; although you would be forgiven for not recognising Manchester, it’s undergone a few changes.
In Beyond Flesh and Blood takes place in 2281, 80 years after a global war for resources pushed humanity to the edge of Earths atmosphere. You play as Ethan – one of the last few good men in the United Global Remnant (UGR) Forces, he’s an engineer and pilots a mind controlled Mech on earth from UGR Astralis, a survivor ark out in space.
The game is a 3rd person shooter with fast paced and gory gameplay powered by the Unreal engine, where you will play through a Sci-fi story campaign centred around intense wave battles – think horde mode, against hostile scavengers in order to discover the truth about Earth in the 23rd century.
The game starts out as you’d expect. You’re introduced to Ethan and he’s just starting out life controlling his new mech. You’re shown around a base camp which essentially acts a bit like a tutorial. You then need to wander out into the wilderness to investigate why some signal towers are going down. After exploring some of the city and performing a few menial tasks you’re suddenly and what I felt was randomly dropped in to this arena/horde mode controlling the Prototype Mech – he’s a lot quicker and looks pretty badass. I don’t know if I missed something when this happened, but I’m not really sure why it suddenly changed.
You then have to fend off waves of enemies utilising your speed and agility whilst also making the most of turret emplacements and other amenities at your disposal – basically bigger and bader – yes bader, weapons!
It was all a bit confusing at first as I had no idea how I’d got here, but it was fun. Blasting through the waves of enemies was enjoyable, rewarding and at times a little challenging. The close up melee finishers were a particular highlight of mine, you would perform wrestling like finishers or something a little gorier like dismembering your foes. It brought a smile to my face – but not like a weird sadistic smile, more like an “I’m having fun” smile.
Eventually I died and I found myself back controlling the first mech and getting on with the story missions again.
You then carry on through the dilapidated Manchester following the commands given to me by Javinder – who acts almost as your mentor. This was when I started to notice the controls were a little clunky and at times cumbersome – sometimes they’d do what I wanted others they were just unresponsive. One part I came across some dogs and it was just a little frustrating trying to take them out as the controls didn’t seem to respond very well to me. The dogs themselves were also a little erratic, sometimes flying (literally flying) around sometimes staying completely still whilst I crushed them.
The game is certainly a little rough around the edges, but as I’ve said it’s still being developed, so you can expect to see some issues. But it does also have its merits – the aforementioned arena style combat was a lot of fun. The further you get in to the game the more varied the enemies become, so far I’ve fought dogs, humans, weird alien bug/scorpion things and Mechs, which keeps things interesting. Who knows what else awaits! I’m hoping that there will be some big bugs to fight like Starship Troopers at some point! There are also a good number of weapon options available with you also being able to pick up weapons from fallen foes.
As I’ve mentioned there is a wave mode available to and you simply fight off ever increasingly difficult waves. You can unlock new Mechs to use in this mode – right now I’m not sure how deep the unlocks go. I’m also not sure how long the wave mode lasts as I usually died, so for all I know it could go on forever… It does however got to at least 10 waves with mini boss like waves scattered throughout your play through.
Wave mode was my highlight as it was just good fun. I think it’s a little hard to fully judge the story side of it right now as it’s not complete so you only really get a taste of it. I’ve seen some things in the game that so far haven’t been fully explained, like areas that have some kind of infection and are covered with red pulsing organisms, so I think there is still a lot to come from it. The game is also constantly being updated and five new levels are being added to the game on Friday (1st July), so you can expect the story to show you more and go a bit deeper in to what has happened on Earth.
There is potential with Beyond Flesh and Blood and I hope that it can reach it by ironing out a few of the creases and making the controls feel a little tighter. If you head over the website you and search enough – mainly in the media section, you can find some hints of things that may be coming later down the line. Minor frustrations aside I’ve enjoyed playing Beyond Flesh and Blood and look forward to what the future of the game holds.
You can pick up the game on Steam right now here, it will also be coming to PS4 and Xbox One later on.