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For: iPhone

Shooting up for fun

Product: Eliminate Pro | Developer: ngmoco | Publisher: ngmoco | Format: iPhone | Genre: Multiplayer, Shooter | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: US | App version: 1.0
Eliminate Pro iPhone, thumbnail 1
One of the first free-plus-pay games on the App Store, Eliminate does away with pricing, but that doesn't preclude cut rate gameplay.

Still, premium multiplayer action marks this ambitious game as being something other than your average first-person shooter.

Yet for every innovative feature loaded up in Eliminate - effortless network play, deep customisation, and a cheeky attitude - there's a flaw that locks it down, leaving it cents short of its full potential.

To get into the swing of the game, you're thrown into the action as an employee of Arsenal MegaCorp, who's tasked with participating in an experimental weapons program.

In short, the company asks you to shoot at your corporate comrades in four player free-for-all matches as a way of testing the efficacy of its cutting-edge weaponry.

While offline bot play is offered, the main attraction is network multiplayer.

Eliminate caters for 3G and wi-fi play, both of which function superbly. Credits are awarded for kills, which are used to level up, purchase new weapons, and enhance your avatar's combat attributes. They're only deposited into your virtual account, however, when you possess energy in your combat suit.

Each match saps some of your energy and when you have none left, you're unable to earn credits. You can continue playing, but with no energy, you won't receive any credits.

It takes four hours for your energy to recharge; alternately, in-app energy pack purchases of between 99c and up to $30 allow you to bypass this annoyance and recharge your suit.

Putting aside any discussion of cost, the rate at which energy recharges is a source of frustration. Requiring a waiting period isn't the problem, it's that you're only granted a partial recharge. Full replenishment at the end of every waiting period would be preferred. This shouldn't discourage energy pack purchases because you still would need to wait four hours for a recharge.

The reason the recharge wait is so annoying has everything to do with the game's fantastic customisation system. It's so compelling that you can't help but want to buy energy packs to earn credits just to be able to tweak your character and buy new stuff.

Only one complaint can be lodged against the game with regard to personalisation. Cosmetic armour skins have to be purchased with credits. It would be much better to allow simple colour changes and decals to be free of charge and exact a fee in credits for substantive upgrades.

Indeed, in many ways, customising your character is more fulfilling than combat itself.

A number of issues prevent matches from playing out ideally, including awkward controls, weapon imbalances, and questionable matchmaking. These are what ultimately cause Eliminate the most trouble, independent of the controversy surrounding its pricing structure.

Tapping the bottom of the screen at the centre supposedly triggers a jump, yet it frequently results in your weapon being fired and the camera moving to the left. Fortunately, jumping isn't a big part of the game, so it's not a massive problem.

Clumsy strafing is perhaps more of an issue, but you can mitigate some of this frustration by choosing the automatic fire option when your crosshairs are positioned over an enemy. Similar controls foibles also make the jet pack power-up a hassle and it should just be removed from the game.

In addition, problems with weapon balancing complicate combat. Take the plasma cannon, for example, which is overpowered and allows easier kills than the other weapons given the confined maps. Then there's the gravity hook that's not only cumbersome to control, but essentially obsolete in close-quarters matches.

Curious matchmaking results in more frustration than anything else.

Matches can pull in players of markedly different skill levels, instead of setting up even games. It's common to see three players at a lower level get slaughtered by a fourth at a significantly higher level. The game accounts for these situations by reducing the credits earned by the higher ranking player. You can gain credits for one kill, but it shouldn't come to that.

The concept of matchmaking presumes coordination of games with players within a couple levels of each other.

Some of these flaws like matchmaking will undoubtedly be fixed with server-side patches and as such, Eliminate is bound to improve over time. Yet, the structure of the game requires re-examination in order to address annoyances with its energy pack system, a couple lame power-ups, and weapons functionality.

Still, eliminate these issues and this ambitious shooter can take full aim at fun.
Reviewer photo
Tracy Erickson | 3 November 2009
The price might be right, but Eliminate has a few wrongs that need correction: matchmaking issues, weapon imbalances, and a couple control quirks which shoot holes in the fun
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Show: Latest | Oldest
Anonymous | 07:28 - 2 February 2010
Do you people realize that you are playing against the world and you WILL get your ass kicked? Suck it up and keep going. Some matches you will win and others you will lose. Why do people whine and blame the game just because they suck at a few games?
Dec 2008
Post count:
klouud | 14:30 - 14 January 2010
I have been playing this game rather extensively as of late and found that the matchmaking system is rather flawed.

The problem is that you have guys on level 30 with a skill level of 1600, which is about what you should have at or around lvl 12.

What happens is that the guys on level 30 will dominate the round because their armor/weapons are able to be upgraded much higher than the guys on lvl 12.

-- As you progress/level up, your armors and weapons are gradually able to be upgraded more and more. You can be at level 5 with 1million credits... but you are only able to upgrade your equipment to a certain level. So having millions of credits is useless.

ngmoco needs to do away with the skill level system in terms of matchmaking and match on level alone. I am tired of being destroyed by a guy with 15-20 more levels than me. It just is not fair.

You can get around this problem by lowering your skill level... but that is a waste of time and incredibly stupid. I think it is ridiculous that gamers have to exploit the game just to be able to play it.

Why is it that certain armors can not be upgraded as much as the standard armor?

For instance: my level is 13. My standard armor is capable of 4 upgrades across the board @ level 12. My other armor is only capable of 3 upgrades across the board @ level 13 and 4 upgrades at level 17. @ level 16 the standard armor get 5 upgrades.

Anonymous | 03:18 - 7 November 2009
What weapon should I choose out of the following: Vaporizer, Rocket Launcher or Animatter Jet?
Anonymous | 18:30 - 5 November 2009
WTF. Game is weak as rubbish. Ngmoco games a very overated (part from topple) leave the online FPS games to call of duty.
Dec 2008
Post count:
klouud | 23:45 - 4 November 2009
I think the energy purchase model should be revamped. The steps are too large. It should look more like:

....so on

Obviously you get more bang for your buck as you progress up the price tiers.

Anonymous | 05:23 - 4 November 2009
The waiting time is pathetic. I would rather pay a one-time payment of $9.99 to be able to play and earn credits anytime I want.
Jun 2009
Post count:
coola55 | 04:11 - 4 November 2009
i think a seven is a fair score. eliminate has serious potential. if ngmoco pays attention to the consumer it should only take 1 solid update to shoot this game up to a 10. i love this game even with its quirks and find it to be one of my favorites so far but that might just be because im a huge shooter fan and this one works well. finally.
Anonymous | 02:36 - 4 November 2009
I always find it funny when I hear a contradictory critique on almost any review that I read. It always starts off as "It should have got a better score even though XXX could have been fixed, or XXX could have been better", and then it ends offensive to the reviewer. It is what consumers want to hear. I want to know what the reviewer thinks it is that holds the game back from being a perfect score, and I think this was a fair review.
They(the person writing the review) have to critique the problems because that is what most consumers and readers want to hear. They cannot rate something higher just to appease to a certain fan base. Imagine half the crap you would end up blowing your money on if they all said everything was a 10, just to make that games fans happy.