Alliance of Valiant Arms (A.V.A.) takes place during a fictional war between the Neo Russian Federation (NRF) and the European Union (EU). The game is a team-based FPS built on the Unreal Engine 3 and has players taking on various roles as they play through a number of familiar, and not-so-familiar game modes.
A.V.A. is one of those rare E3 games I was able to spend considerable time playing with the developers. Matches are round-based and feel similar to Counter Strike. Before each match, players choose one of three roles: Point Man, Rifleman or Sniper. The Point Man is a short-range scout; though not the most powerful in the group, he’s able to quickly navigate the battlefield and will show up when you least expect it. The Rifleman is a well-balanced class that packs considerable power and speed. These guys will form the backbone of any army. Finally, the Sniper is a slow powerhouse and proved to be the bane of most matches I played – and not just because he was able to snag a few headshots.
One of the things that really set A.V.A. apart from other team-based games is the map design. Levels are built with both horizontal and vertical movement in mind. There are a lot of sneaky hiding places troops can hide in, including the insides of buildings. Maps feel like they are laid out for a videogame, but also manage to feel like they functioned as a real area at one point. It also helps that the developer, RedDuck, is getting a lot out of the Unreal Engine 3.
I was able to play Escort Mode, which charged one team with the task of escorting a tank to a set point on the map while the other team tried to destroy it. Part of the catch is that the players can’t drive the tank; instead it only moves when a player is nearby. Opponents can damage the tank by using RPGs picked up around the map, forcing the defending team to repair it before it can move again. The mode is interesting and shows a lot of promise, particularly if you are the type of player always looking for team-based games. Typically any online “team game” eventually deteriorates into a glorified Deathmatch. Here, if you can’t play well with others, you’ll have a hard time playing.
Between matches, you can equip a selection of weapons and attachments. Each has its own stats and will help make your Rifleman just a little different from the one standing next to you. Additional items are available which will further enhance your character’s abilities and stats.
Alliance of Valiant Arms will be free to play (with microtransactions) and will launch later this year.