Normally I’m hesitant to review a sequel so quickly after the game it follows, but I’m making an exception here. “Avatar Laser Wars” was a third-person shooter, but its sequel (“Avatar Laser Wars 2″) is a first-person shooter and a very different beast.
The changes run deeper than a switch from a behind-the-character view to seeing through your character’s eyes. Taking a cue from modern FPSs, there are perks and other character upgrades here that give the game an RPG-ish feel and reward those who play regularly with upgrades that are tailored to them, and the way they like to play. This adds an important element of personality to the game, you get to feel your character represents you, and is unique from all others. Fighting people’s avatars also gives the game an element of personality above and beyond the latest Halo or Call of Duty, even if (at times) it’s a bit like fighting people at a Hallowe’en party due to the diversity you can run into. I’d argue, though, that diversity in avatars is part of the fun.
Speaking of diversity, 16 player online is back from the first game, and the developer has actually had some success at building and maintaining community in their online games before as evidenced by (the un-reviewed by WMD) Avatar Paintball, also from this developer, which still has a viable online community years after it came out.
This developer keeps getting better and more polished over time, and this game is well worth its 80 Microsoft Points for a (seemingly) balanced, well crafted, and reasonably fully-featured (weapons upgrades, perks, etc.) FPS. Given it’s not unusual for an FPS fan to get several in a year (any combination of the latest Battlefield, Halo, or Call of Duty for example), splurging a whole 80 MSP on “Avatar Laser Wars 2″ isn’t hard to justify.
Here’s what the developer (DigitalDNA Games LLC) has to say about the game:
“Play online with up to 15 of your friends in Avatar Laser Wars 2 the sequel to the hit game by DigitalDNA Games, and one of the most advanced first person shooters to hit Xbox Live Indie Games. Unlock multiple of weapons, grenades, perks and killstreak awards as you work your way through the player ranks. Compete online with a global high score list.”