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Free cannon fire

Free cannon fire

An extra gear for Doctor Entertainment free to play

The result of the work of only five developers within the small Swedish software house Doctor Entertainment AB, Gear Up is a simple free to play multiplayer action game for up to sixteen players, where small combat vehicles (generally similar to toy tanks) battle it out in colorful and childlike scenarios, therefore without taking itself too seriously from a conceptual point of view but with an enviable solidity of purpose. After having whipped it in its Early Access version, of which you can read our tried by clicking on the following link, we thoroughly tested the final one, in which some of the edges that we had identified a couple of months ago have been filed. If you want to find out if it is worth investing your time – and possibly your money – in this project, you just have to read on.

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Gear Up, an honest and fun free to play action from the authors of Puzzle Dimension

The current videogame landscape is now full of free-to-play or presumed such products, and this presence seems to be destined to grow significantly in the near future, keeping in mind the announcements and proclamations (actually not really liked by the players) of various publishers. and developers. Although this distribution method has often resulted in questionable microtransactions or, even worse, in the infamous pay-to-win, it is possible to appreciate various virtuous productions, honest in the economic model and above all valid from the purely playful one, such as the appreciated World of Tanks , the nice Loadout or the huge Planetside 2, about to come out on PlayStation 4 too.

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Gear Up, from the point of view of ambitions, is far from the aforementioned projects, nevertheless it fits perfectly into the same qualitative line, since it is possible to have fun without spending even a cent. As we explained in our previous article, Doctor Entertainment AB’s developer income derives from the Basic and Premium versions of the game (at 6.99 and 13.99 euros respectively), which do not give advantages in tactical terms, but provide greater freedom and speed to make your dream tank come true. Let’s proceed in order. In the free version, in Gear Up it is necessary to purchase the various components in the virtual shop by spending the so-called G Points, which are earned at the end of each match. Even to get the most effective and exotic pieces, usually “unattainable” in the common free to play, it is not necessary to engage in wild farming, as they are all accessible without having to play millions of hours. The limit of this version is linked to the number of slots in your warehouse, or ten, which force you to sell any old components in order to try and equip new ones. With the Basic version of the game this limit is eliminated, in addition to the possibility of saving three distinct configurations and a doubling of the G points that can be conquered in battle, while with the Premium one is given immediate access to all 116 components, guaranteeing the maximum possibility of customization and experimentation right away. In addition to this not insignificant detail, with the more expensive version of the game you have access to the single player mode against bots (indeed rather limited and an end in itself) and other little extras, such as the nice – as useless and very heavy – mode “Army”, where dozens of your vehicles walk in formation, or the Replayer, where you can take some screenshots on a white background.

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As you may have guessed, the beating heart of the experience is linked to the personalization of your vehicle, which, beyond the interesting aesthetic values, radically changes the approach to battle based on the components equipped. They are divided into seven distinct categories, namely turrets, hulls, propulsion, main weapons, support weapons, flags and decorations, which with the exception of the last two significantly affect properties such as speed, resistance to enemy fire (armor), maneuverability. , acceleration and of course the damage dealt.

Thanks to the 116 unique pieces available, there are over a million distinct configurations, and from the most classic tanks equipped with tracks and cannon, which is the basic vehicle with which all novice players start, you can get to real aircraft that float in half. air, alien hovercraft and dangerous mobile spider-legged turrets that can scale vertical surfaces. It is possible to play with both mouse and keyboard and with the joypad, and the control system is generally responsive, although sometimes it can appear cumbersome and not very sensitive, especially when you have to shoot and rotate the turret with the configurations of slower vehicles. . Through practice, however, it is possible to find the right balance, both to better manage the strafe (keys Q and E on the keyboard) and the more complex propulsion systems, such as the fast ones that are not really easy to master when turning and the aforementioned legs. from spider, which sometimes have some problems with the elements of the scenario, although in a decidedly reduced way compared to the version in Early Access. The weapons range from machine guns of various calibers to the lethal sniper rifle, passing through mines, spears, cluster bombs, lasers and more original solutions, each able to offer a rather different gaming experience. As we pointed out in our previous analysis, although the possible configurations are many, there is a certain predilection for the spider legs accompanied by the sniper rifle (capable of removing 75 points of armor with a single shot, and therefore of “instant kills” ) and versatile tracked tanks equipped with miniguns, solutions that seem to have a certain advantage over the others, although the difference is almost always the skill of the players, obviously at the same level of experience.

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Fortunately, the bullets run out quickly, especially the most effective ones (the ammunition for the sniper is a maximum of six), and therefore it is necessary to leave the advantage position to collect the recovery bonuses scattered around the map. In this regard, we remind you that there are others able to increase shields, regenerate health and upgrade weapons, to the benefit of the strategy. The great variety of vehicles is offset by the rather limited number of modes, which includes the classic free-for-all deathmatch, team deathmatch (red against blue) and Conquest, the most played and appreciated by the Gear Up community., where two teams battle for control of the classic areas indicated. There are six maps in all, namely Oasis, Inferno Island, Construction Chaos, Deadly Dock, Armed Arena, Atoll Action and Violent Valley, of which a couple are also available in a night version. While not particularly large and complex, they have an accurate level design that develops both vertically and inside buildings and structures, with several interesting positions where to lurk and tend to ambush enemies, perhaps hiding behind some self-propelled architecture.

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Despite being a free-to-play title created by a handful of willing developers, from a technical point of view Gear Up is quite accurate, especially for the rendering of the vehicles, the scenarios and above all the lighting, which gives the production that atmosphere. typical of Pixar animated films. The graphics are in fact stylized, colored and “toy”, always resulting in a fascinating way, even if they are not accompanied by the latest generation of particle or volumetric effects.

The physics is generally valid, however some reversals are not always credible, due to a gravity of the means – especially during the jumps – more lunar than terrestrial. Compared to the version tested previously, the sound effects have a decidedly more incisive and clean timbre, despite being rather limited in terms of variety. Unfortunately, there are no dedicated servers, and everything is delegated to the games hosted by the players: lag and microstuttering are certainly lower than in the past, while the number of sessions in which to be able to access, even during a match in progress, is always quite large. thanks to the active community. To the solidity of the netcode is added an interesting matchmaking feature, which indicates the average level of experience present in the match, suggesting to novices which matches to face or avoid. The game, among other things, no longer suffers from crashes and above all from freezes that previously undermined the enjoyment and fluidity of the games.