Friday, 19 June 2015

Project Reality - general impressions

OK, this isn't going to be one of my rambling diatribes [I wrote this when I began, but you can see what happened in the end] - I just wanted to acknowledge that I've looked at this game, played it a bit and so give you a few of my initial thoughts and concerns about Project Reality 1.3 stand alone.

One of the very attractive aspects of Project Reality - and the beauty of a mod
based game mechanism - is that very niche player wishes can be incorporated.
It's particularly nice to see some army models that aren't just American - the
British Army models are very welcome and very well done.

To begin with - a LOT of people have jumped on this band wagon. It's had a lot of publicity from some of the celebrity YouTube gamers and their positive comments and exciting videos - along with the game being FREE - has meant that there has been a big rush to download it. This - as it turns out - is a good and bad thing...

My principal observation is that when PR was a little harder to install (being a BF2 mod) it attracted a hard-core of very dedicated enthusiasts who were very much into the philosophy of the game. Project Reality is a highly enhanced version of Battlefield 2 (though also available for ArmA) and it adds many new features to the basic BF2 game, but mainly it focuses on even greater and more enhanced teamwork and 'realistic' squad mechanics.

The original PR player community was renowned for being a somewhat serious lot who approached the game more as an infantry/squad quasi-simulation than an arcade tactical FPS (which BF2 was). An example of this is that in a previous attempt to 'get into' this game I was once told off for not using correct 'radio discipline' when communicating with my squad!

In some ways you might say that Project Reality (when conceived in conjunction with BF2) was an early attempt to create something along the lines of what ArmA would eventually be.

Graphically the quality of PR varies - there are times a very decent job has been done
of the visuals, but at other times you do think 'Battlefield 2'. This back-wards step -
while an unavoidable necessity - is a little off-putting when you have been playing BF4!

Now the problem is this...Many people have been - as I said - attracted to this game and not all, I have to say, are completely up to speed with the player philosophy which goes with the game. To them it is just a free game which 'people have said is good'. The up-shot of this is that if you are trying PR for the first time and like me were attracted to it by the videos of Bluedrake or JackFrags et al - which show off some pretty cool tactical team-play - you *may* be slightly disappointed.

My first evenings attempt to play this game had me searching for a suitable server - no great problem as the boom in popularity means there is a good number of PR servers out there at the moment. But once in things didn't go quite how I imagined they would...

Of the few servers I joined none of them displayed team-centric play I had expected and despite my many attempts to use the various communication tools that were available many people simply seemed to be treating Pr 1.3 as a replacement for the now defunct BF2. Lots of PR 'noobs' were just running around like the game was an arcade shooter looking for kill scores.

Project Reality squeezes every ounce of possibility out of the poor old BF2
engine. Maps are a example of how the developers pushed the envelope of the
original EA game into a game which has ArmA-like ambitions.

In a way this isn't surprising. BF2 had a good following and despite the fact that it was superseded by BF3 and BF4 quite a few people still stuck doggedly to Battlefield 2 and there was a modest little community of regular players. So when EA turned the tap off (withdrawing backend and server support) and - coincidentally - PR released it's stand alone version of it's game I am pretty sure a lot of these errant BF2 fans jumped ship to PR 1.3 simply to continue playing a 'BF2-like' game.

Anyway, in the end I did ramble, but the point is this. If you want to play Project Reality as it was intended that you play the game - as a semi-serious semi-sim - then do yourself a favour and hook up with one of the gaming clans who support this sort of play. Otherwise your PR experience - as mine was - may turn out to be little more than a chaotic farce.

There is something almost schizophrenic about Project Reality and a lot of this
has to do with the servers you play on and the people you play with. The right
servers and players make PR 1.3 the tactical quasi-sim you have heard it is, but
in the wrong company it quickly degenerates into the worst aspects of BF2.


Be aware that to get the most out of Project Reality you have to be ready to 'read the manual' or at the very least watch a half-dozen or so tutorial videos...

Project Reality 1.3 IS NOT Battlefield 2! (You definitely will not pick it up and become proficient at it in a half an hour.)

[I may give PR 1.3 one more try as I have found a community that does take the game seriously. But I just cannot shake off the nagging idea that Project Reality is like a rough sketch for a game that people would like to have, only PR isn't quite it! The word is that that game is probably called 'Squad' and is - predictably - by the people who developed Project Reality!]

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