It wasn't too long ago that I was able to first try Murderous Pursuits by Blazing Griffin in a closed beta and provide my first impression of the game. With the official launch not too long ago, I was excited to see how much they updated and added to the game to expand on the fun experience it provided.
Unfortunately, there weren't too many changes at all. This doesn't mean that this review is going to be negative, but there is definitely a mix of what's good and what needs further work done in order to improve the games overall quality. Let's begin.
There isn't much of a story; just enough to provide a setting. Somebody named Mr. X has been working with a handful of people on an unknown mission and they are now on a time traveling airship with a new objective. Since Mr. X can only proceed with one person from here, everybody is in a game for their lives. Kill or be killed, hunt or evade, you will be given random quarries to kill while being a target yourself. The most skillful killer will continue to work with Mr. X while the others... Well, can't - to put it mildly.
Much like it is described in the story itself, the objective of the game is to kill the players who are randomly selected as your quarry while evading those that have you listed as theirs. Much like a game of cat and mouse, only the cat is not shown which mouse to hunt and all the mice are actually cats as well.
Every time you are given a new quarry, you only get two clues to find them: a meter that has a small gray bar when they are far and becomes green while expanding as you get close, along with a small note underneath that tells you if they are on the same floor, above you, or below you. Using this you must find your target before another player, who was given the same quarry, kills them or you yourself gets killed. Selecting the wrong quarry or getting caught by the guard is a huge set back that will almost always get you killed.
There is a small defense option when your attacker of upon you. Using the same action bottom as your attack, you can stun your attacker. Successfully stunning them will remove you from being their quarry and award you a few points on the scoreboard. However, selecting a character that is not your killer will count as an attack attempt, which I mentioned before will get you killed for being wrong thanks to the animation.
There are a few skill options that range for different player styles. From being able to check the characters around you if they are your target or killer, to having a chance to counter an attacker mid-attack, or even a dance to humiliate a fallen enemy you just killed, these skills could be the difference from a win and a loss.
Two aspects of the game make up how many points you will earn per kill. How well you have maintained your exposure level and which weapon you are using. There are marked sections all over the map that you have to stand still in, causing an animation to take over your character so that you blend in with the crowd, that will keep your exposure up. The highest level is five and this depletes when you are moving about the map; running causes it to deplete much more rapidly. The weapon choice is a little different though. While each weapon is in the same location on the map at all time, the value of each weapon changes every time you get a kill. If you grab a weapon worth five points, it will stay at that level even if you die. It only changes after you get a kill, becoming only worth one point. Changing your weapon after every kill and maintaining a level five exposure is essential to reaching and maintaining your spot on top of the scoreboard.
My advice is to use the humiliate skill after every kill so that you can get thirteen (13) points per kill and make sure you stun your enemies every chance you get so that you get more points. If you are able to master the counter skill along with this, you will be a top player in no time.
Graphics and Sounds
While maintaining a Victorian era style in all the maps within the airship, the cartoon artwork fits the genre of Murderous Pursuits. It helps mask just how violent the entirety of the game truly is. As for the sounds, they are pretty accurate and even a bit toon-like, which helps the tone of the game blend well. The music on the other hand is practically non existent beside the single song for the menu and loading screen.
What Could Be Better
Starting with where the last paragraph left off, there should be a variety of music for the menu and loading screen. Having options is already better than a single song, especially when the load screen is not short when finding a game.
A game like this is obviously made for friends and players to play together, given that it is an online multiplayer focused title, so I don't understand why there is no party system. Aside from creating a private match, which I hope you have a least five friends or else you will be playing with some surprisingly challenging AI's, there is no way to find a game with a friend. There isn't even a lobby search option so that you can both join the same game. The only options given are Quick Play and Private Match. I can't help but feel that this is quite a rookie mistake and I hope they update a party system into the game soon.
There could also be a few game modes added. While the overall gameplay is fun, there is always room for more options. Perhaps one player could be given four skills and have all other players marked as their quarry while the other players are given one skill, given one life, and are only hunted. Three stuns and the team of players win while the one hunter could win by killing all other players. A variety of modes always increases a games value.
Murderous Pursuits is a very solid game that offers a fun, competitive gameplay. While it has a few technical flaws, the game itself is very well made and includes some unique mechanics that create some interesting challenges. I enjoyed playing it and see this being a game I return to for more hours of entertainment. While it is currently a bit difficult to get a game going with friends, that is really the only issue the game has that hinders it in a real way.